Everything about Weslee’s formation story just feels right. One of the first things you notice about this transatlantic duo is the chemistry between them, how well suited their personalities are and how much Weslee as a collective just seems to make perfect sense. And when you learn that 24 hours after the release of their first track 'Gassed', it was made Radio 1’s Hottest Track, it makes even more sense.
They are Josh (originally from Kansas) and Emma (originally from London). Weslee’s sound is smooth, seductive and fiery. Their first EP '9F' ranges from electronic-pop bops to sad 'n' sultry melodies which all come together in a neat and well-illustrated (their friend Alice Skinner created 9F’s album artwork) package. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, given both of their backgrounds in the industry.
“We met four / five years ago when we were put together to write songs for other artists,” explains Josh, “that turned into us writing our first track ('Gassed') which wouldn't have really worked for anybody else, and that sort of accidentally spawned Weslee. It all started from that song.”
The transition from behind the scenes to fully-fledged musicians seemed to happen so quickly that no wonder they got shy… if Weslee don’t already sound hip enough already, they have closely been associated with a pair of juicy red lips since the dawn of their existence, usually appearing over their heads and as artwork, creating an air of mystery. But why?
“We just don’t like our faces!” laughs Josh - “nah, we wanted to put out music and not focus too much on who we were. Then it sort of stuck. Music before people!” Emma continues: “Don’t put your best foot forward! Put the music out first!”
Weslee began to feel the legitimacy of themselves the night they supported Jessie Ware at the Jazz Café in Camden. “Up until that point, we were just writing and putting out songs for us really,” says Josh. “Then with the show it was like, OK this is real now. It was an Annie Mac presents night so as far as first shows go it wasn’t a bad place to start.” Emma adds: “Literally up until that point neither of us had ever performed before, let alone together. It went well. No one left!”
So where does Weslee draw their inspiration from? “Josh is going to say Frank Ocean…”
Josh laughs, then says: “Uhhhh, yeah! Artist-wise, also Childish Gambino, Kendrick, Coltrane. Music-wise, our sound is inspired by the things we listen to the most I guess. Our music sounds like our personalities which I know is cliché or whatever but it’s true.”
“Also its what we're going through at the time,” continues Emma. As seen in a large portion of their other tracks, Weslee typically explore heartbreak and more personal experiences within their lyrics, which are Emma’s domain. “Lyrically it’s all very authentic. I write about situations that are happening at the time. It's stuff I'm going through, stuff that friends are going through... it's all real shit. Sorry, real stuff. Can I say shit?!”
Which tracks do Weslee suggest you give a listen to?
Josh grapples with this challenge: “My favourite track to listen to is 'Somebody', but it changes everyday, and the best live for me is 'Jig It Up'”.
“Ah really?!” Emma retorts, “Interesting. I didn’t even know that. Uh, mine is.... I don’t even know. Maybe 'Boys Cry'. My favourite live is 'Sweat Dreams' (yes you read that correctly) as I like to boogie a little bit, it's real up tempo.”
Their new EP ‘9F’ is available now. Check it out.
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Words: Laura Copley
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