Everything about this transatlantic duo is exciting, their chemistry apparent and their well-suited personalities means that they are a perfect match! WESLEE made waves with their debut single ‘Gassed’, which, rightly so, gained extensive support from some of the biggest names in the industry.
Starting out as a songwriting power-duo, the pair bonded over their shared love for American-style donuts and musical icons such as Tracy Chapman and Kwabs. Initially using their anonymity to encourage people to listen to their music without getting too caught up with who’s behind it, WESLEE generated early mystery, making their music just that bit more alluring. Creating an enchanting experimental sound, their 7-track debut EP 9F ranges from electronic-pop to sultry melodies.
Luckily, we were able to catch up with the masterminds behind WESLEE, Josh and Emma, to discuss how they first formed, the process of deciding a band name and future projects.
Firstly, how did you form WESLEE?
Josh: We met in New York, but we had already been linked by our managers to write songs for other people. From that sort of bond, we wrote ‘Gassed’ together, which we then recorded and then I guess that sort of started the whole writing relationships where we weren’t just writing for other people… it was like a happy accident.
How did you decide on a name for yourselves?
Emma: We were joking around about names, like “Oh if we were in a rap group we’d have a different name, if we had this sound then we would be this name”. And then I think WESLEE became my favourite name, I use it for a lot of different things, it was like a joke, and then it became real!
Love that! And if you were in a rap group, what would your name have been?
Emma: We would have been Trill Trolls, I actually have Josh saved as Trill Trolls in my phone!
Prior to publicly coming out you chose to keep yourself anonymous, what made you two decide to show your faces publicly?
Josh: The second we were doing gigs
Emma: Our anonymity went way out of the window at that point, it was either show your face or wear a big f****ing mask
So, Josh I know you made the decision to move to London a few years ago, but Emma you’re still in New York, it must be hard work trying to get time together?
Josh: Yeah, last year it was all about travelling
Emma: You lie!
Josh: OK it’s always Emma travelling. We have to try and be in the same place at the same time to create everything – so yeah we just try to find time to be together
Emma: But with everything you can adapt into a good situation
It must of been difficult making 9F being in different countries! Can you tell us a bit about the EP, and what was the writing and recording process?
Josh: I guess this would have been the first time we were writing songs with an end goal in mind. That being said we are better when we don’t think too far ahead or think about the end game, we really just try to get caught in the moment and see where that takes us. With this EP it was more that we were able to recognise when those moments were happening and when they weren’t, there are a lot of cool ideas and vibes that didn’t make the EP but will maybe surface down the road for something different.
All of the songs on 9F were written, recorded, produced in London…we called the EP 9F to represent a plane seat (window seat) because Emma spent the majority of the last year traveling to London. The last song we did was ‘Somebody’, and we actually had to push back the release date in order to finish it, because it was so last minute. A lot of the vocals on the song are recorded on an iPhone. Emma had loads of backing vocal ideas, but she was back in New York and we wanted to use them, so she just sent me voice memos and they made their way into the final version. ‘Better Love’ was an accident that happened when taking a break from another session…we tried to keep it as close to the original voice memo as possible.
What is up next for WESLEE?
Josh: We are currently working on new music and videos…we might do another EP or put out a few singles again. We also have some fun collabs with friends that will be a part of this next wave of music. We’re getting our live show up and running, looking at touring at the beginning of next year. With all of that being said we are really bad at planning ahead, maybe because we don’t really like to think about what’s next but enjoy taking things day by day.
And finally, if you were stuck on a desert island what album would you want to have with you?
Emma: I think right now I would say Good Kid, M.A.A.D City by Kendrick Lamar
Josh: Blonde by France Ocean.