Tag Archives: interview

Shattering the glass ceiling – the rise and rise of Wet Leg

ALREADY one of the most exciting bands ever to emanate from Isle of Wight shores, Wet Leg have exploded into the global conscience during the past six months, with the release of deliciously irreverent singles Chaise Longue and Wet Dream  accumulating more than 2.5 million views on YouTube to date.

The enthrallingly offbeat Wet Leg – fronted by effortlessly cool duo Hester Chambers and Rhian Teasdale – have also been streamed across music platforms more than six million times, with third and fourth single releases confirmed within the past 24 hours to unbridled acclaim.

Kureen has spoken to the band, festival organisers and others within the industry as we basked in the reflected glory of the journey, starting with an interview we conducted shortly after their rousing Sunday afternoon Big Top set at the Isle of Wight Festival in September.

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The big interview

Kureen: You’ve exploded onto the music scene this year, but how  were the early days of Wet Leg?

Rhian: Our first gig was actually at the Isle of Wight Festival in 2019 on a much smaller stage. About 15 of our friends happened to be there. It’s funny to come back two years later on a bigger stage with so many people watching.

 

Kureen: Debut single, Chaise Longue, was recently released on vinyl, how did the limited edition run go?

Rhian: It was available on pre-order and sold out on the first morning of being available. I don’t know how many copies they produced though…

Hester: Maybe it was only 20 copies! They’re going to release some more, originally it was going to be limited but we were surprised by how well they sold.

Wet Leg performing on the Big Top stage at the IW Festival.

Maybe it was only 20 copies! They’re going to release some more, originally it was going to be limited but we were surprised by how well they sold.

 

Kureen: Were you both born on the Isle of Wight?

Rhian: Neither of us were born on the Island, but I moved here when I was eight and I always say I’m from the Isle of Wight as I don’t feel like I’m from Liverpool.

Hester: I was a baby when I moved here, so I feel like a fully-fledged Islander!

 

Kureen: I’ve seen you both performing in various bands in recent years, when did you form Wet Leg?

Rhian: I was doing solo stuff and at one of the first hurdles I cried two songs into my set, I wasn’t enjoying it. I asked Hester if she’d like to finish the run of shows I’d been booked for and we started playing together.

We decided to have fun making music that was a bit silly and I think we’ve achieved that.

Rhian: I went to a gig at the ‘100 Club’ in London the other day to see a band called Honeyglaze and the lady signing me in asked “are you in Wet Leg?” It was the first time that’s ever happened!

 

Kureen: Do you get anxious before you go on stage?

Rhian: It varies depending on how we’re feeling that day, when we played at the Green Man Festival we thought there would be nobody there, and (the tent)  was full.

Hester: When we saw how many people had come to see us I had a bit of a breakdown. It does feel weird having gone from doing shows with small crowds to these unexpected stages now.

Rhian: We didn’t expect any of this when we started Wet Leg, we just thought it would be small, sweaty shows and hopefully a few people would listen. It was really fun playing Big Top today.

Hester: It was surreal; I’ve only ever been on the audience side of that tent before today.

 

Kureen: Do you focus on the faces in the audience when you’re on the big stages?

Hester: I can’t look at anyone, just in case they look angry!

 

Kureen: Can you reveal how you came up with the name ‘Wet Leg’ or is it a guarded secret?

Hester: We made a really long list of names, some sounded cool.

We then got a bit busy with the emoji keyboard, which it turns out is a really good way to find band names – you can close your eyes and do it with two or more and see what comes along.

Rhian (pulls out phone to show some examples): Cry Donut, Factory Book, Angel Love, Alien Pumpkin… So there are endless possibilities and when you’re on social media you can use the emojis with your posts.

Kureen: I’m stealing Alien Pumpkin.

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Relentless rise from obscurity to stardom…

Subsequent to the interview, Wet Leg, who will be touring Europe and the US for the remainder of 2021, featured on the November 1st edition of BBC Two’s Later… With Jools Holland and have been named by Amazon Music as one of their Artists to Watch 2022, as well as featuring on VEVO DSCVR.

The band have also been announced as ambassadors for 2022’s Independent Venue Week, the annual event which celebrates music spaces around the country.

The great and good of the music industry have been fulsome in their praise of the duo, with musician, Iggy Pop, telling The Guardian:

“When I heard Chaise Longue by Wet Leg I got really excited: it’s cheeky, with a wicked groove, but it’s the vocals – they’re almost metronomic.

“You could ask 100 people to sing it and it wouldn’t sound the same.”

DJ and Festival curator Rob da Bank at the 2021 IW Festival.

Speaking exclusively to Kureen, Radio One DJ and Bestival founder, Rob da Bank waxed lyrical about Wet Leg’s unabated ascent.

He said: “The Isle of Wight has a special place in my musical heart for lots of reasons and every time an Island band gets recognition it’s exciting.

“This year (that has been) happening for a few acts, but Wet Leg have shone brighter than all. I know Rhian from the Plastic Mermaids choir days and as soon as I heard her sing I was struck by her incredible voice.

“Obviously the girls are also annoyingly very witty, clever with videos and their image, and know how to write a very, very catchy song. One of my top tips for 2022 for sure!”

John Giddings at IW Festival 2014

Isle of Wight Festival organiser and promoter, John Giddings, is another to rave about the band.

Giddings was the driving force behind the IW Festival being resurrected in 2002, more than 30 years after it had last been held.

“It is great to see emerging talent from the Island,” he told Kureen.

“The girls are great and well deserving of their success.

“They went down a storm this year – and we have booked them for 2023 higher up the bill.

“One of the great things about promoting the festival is that it gives us a chance to help local talent, (Wet Leg) will go far”

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Influence on/with other local musicians

Meanwhile, Isle of Wight based musicians have expressed their own delight at the success of a band from these shores, hoping it may blaze a trail for other Island acts to follow in their footsteps.

Beth Brookfield, an 18-year-old singer/songwriter from the Island, has found herself inspired by the success of Wet Leg and other female-fronted bands from the area in the past couple of years.

Beth Brookfield is one of numerous local musicians inspired by Wet Leg’s recent success.

Beth told Kureen: “The music industry has seen a rise recently in successful women fronted bands from the Isle of Wight making a statement such as Lauran Hibberd, Coach Party, and now Wet Leg.

“As an artist from the Island myself, and having gone to the same music college as Wet Leg, their success is so motivating and shows that Island bands are being noticed.

“I have found myself singing the hook ‘Baby do you want to come home with me? I’ve got Buffalo ‘66 on DVD’  from their song ‘Wet Dream’ over and over again!

“I played the Isle of Wight Festival this year, which was just incredible but I aspire to play the Big Top soon just like Wet Leg did this year.”

Tom Farren, a founding member of Plastic Mermaids, a band with whom both Rhian and Hester have been affiliated, believes the success of Wet Leg is no accident.

He said: “What seems like overnight success is actually two brilliant musicians making incredible music for a very long time in different forms.

“I was very fortunate to be involved musically with them both.

“They deserve everything that’s happening and “I’ll be watching from the sidelines with a sandwich and a beer”.

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So far, so good – but what next?

Wet Leg recently announced details of a UK headline tour, where they will perform at nine different venues in April next year, including Bristol’s Trinity Centre, the O2 Institute in Birmingham and Scala in London.

Before then, a relentless schedule sees them spending January to March touring both the UK and Europe. They recently confirmed they will be supporting rockers, Idles, during their travels.

On Monday November 29, Wet Leg’s third single ‘Too Late Now’ was selected as Radio One’s Hottest Record in the World on DJ Clare Amfo’s evening show. 

This accolade was followed by the duo’s announcement of a self-titled debut LP, which will hit the shelves on April 8.

The New York Times is among the latest titles of note to add to the growing list of admirers, stating:

“They’re one of those new bands whose sound and aesthetic seem to have arrived fully formed, promising exciting – if totally unpredictable – things to come.”

Further tour dates, this time in North America, have also been confirmed for Spring 2022.

In the meantime, both ‘Too Late Now’ and another single, ‘Oh No’, have been made available to the public, with the Wet Leg juggernaut gaining ever more momentum.

Two genuinely talented and hard working musicians, who more than paid their dues, have risen to a prominent position within the industry they love, here’s hoping this is only the start of their domination of global airwaves.

Read more: Wet Leg earmarked for mainstream success after debut single

To find out more visit: www.wetlegband.com

Additional image credit: Hollie Fernando Photography and Domino Records.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Interviews with Creative Minds. No.22: Samuel Z Jones (part deux)

The 22nd instalment of the Creative Minds series welcomes back a previous guest for the first time – Fantasy Author Samuel Z Jones spoke to me about his upcoming book launch, for not one but three new titles!

 

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To get in touch with the man behind the words, simply follow one of these links…

Sam on Facebook

Sam on Smashwords

Sam on Amazon

Interview blast from the past

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Interviews with Creative Minds. No.21: Chris Brennan

Chris Brennan is the guest on the 21st edition of Interviews with Creative Minds.

21 today! This 21st edition of the Creative Minds podcast series features an interview with Chris Brennan, plus music from Unravellings and Pretty Censored, along with a rap intro straight outta Compton (Bay).

The Links

–> Custom website <–

–> Unravellings on SoundCloud <–

–> Pretty Censored YouTube interview <–

–> Gary Yourofsky talk <–

–> Cowspiracy trailer <–

–> Forks Over Knives trailer <–

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Interviews with Creative Minds. No.15: John Armstrong

Deep thinking renaissance man or perpetually perturbed poetry practitioner? John Armstrong, founder of Isle of Wight based spoken word collective Chorderize, is the 15th member of the exclusive Creative Minds club.


The links

John’s (neglected) blog
Arduity website
John on Twitter
John of Flange-face

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Interviews with Creative Minds. No.14: Samuel Z Jones

Samuel Z Jones is an irrepressible dynamo in late 2015. With a book launch for new fantasy novel, Baron Maruna, set for December 16th (click here for details). The relentless author found a spare half hour to sit with DxK and share his wit and wisdom over a cup of Vegan friendly Chai. 

The Links

Sam on Facebook
Sam on Smashwords 
Sam-azon

Blind Guardian (closing track)

Nina Plapp (Accompaniment for reading)

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Zoe Sadler Interview

Each month here at Kureen we shed the spotlight on a talented artist. In March our featured gallery comes from illustrator, author and beanie hat aficionado Zoe Sadler, who kindly agreed to take time out of her busy schedule to answer some of our questions.

Zoe with an image from her children's book, 'The Lighthouse Keeper'
Zoe with an image from her children’s book, ‘The Lighthouse Keeper’

Kureen: Hi Zoe, your gallery looks mighty fine – how would you describe your art work to someone who hasn’t seen it?

Zoe: A whimsical take on the everyday and ordinary. I like to take things from reality and make them a little bit extraordinary. It often means things in my world are a little bit quirky and very often a bit wonky too!

Smeaton TowerK:  You add a sprinkle of wanderlust by the sounds of it! You’re also a published children’s author, what’s the story behind the… story?

Z: A children’s book is something I wanted to do for a while.

I took inspiration for the story from where I live, Freshwater Bay, and a Lighthouse which features often in my work (inspired by Smeaton’s Tower in Plymouth, pictured right, where Zoe went to University.)

I also wanted to do something really amazing for my portfolio so utilised a Kickstarter project to fund the publication of the book. Also, the lighthouse keeper character in the book accidentally kind of resembles my Dad – Just don’t tell him that!

 

K: The book’s title is The Lighthouse Keeper: A cautionary Tale for anyone interested in taking a peek. With regards to the success of the book, it was released less than a year ago and of 250 published copies only three remain unsold – has that exceeded your expectations?

Z: Definitely – the response to the book has been amazing! I had so much support, particularly on the island. I really appreciated the chance to get my teeth into a great project. Particularly one which gave me the opportunity to publish my first children’s book, which is a dream come true for me! I hope to start a new story in the next few months as well.

 

K: It’s inspiring for any aspiring authors based on the Island to see your success. You haven’t always been on these shores, you were born in Scotland, how did you end up as an adopted ‘Caulkhead’?

Z: Thank you, it’s nice to contribute creatively to the island!

I struggled to find my feet in Scotland after finishing my illustration degree in Dundee. I found a post-grad course in Publishing at Plymouth as I wanted to learn more about the industry which led me to my first job working as a children’s illustrator for a small publisher in London.

I also met my partner while in Plymouth, so one day we just thought where would we like to live? We are lucky enough with our jobs we can live anywhere. We visited the island a few times and decided it was the place for us, particularly Freshwater. It reminds me more of my Scottish home but it’s slightly warmer!

Pile Em High[1]

K: What’s the arts scene like over here compared to north of the border?

Z: It’s changed a lot over the last ten years. It was quite hard to make a mark being so far from London when I was there. If I was there now maybe I would have found my feet much quicker. I like to keep up to date with things that are going on, particularly around Dundee and Aberdeen. Dundee seems to have a really good contemporary art scene these days.

 

K: And I guess you pop up to the Edinburgh Fringe from time to time?

Z: Actually I have never been despite the fact that I have a few friends there. I’ve just never seem to have timed it right, but would love to make it there one day. I have however done some artwork for performances at the fringe- that is my only link so far.

 

K: Are there any particular Isle of Wight artists, sculptors or animators you hold in high esteem?

Z: I absolutely adore Gillian Connor’s driftwood creations! I have several in my house. I joke with her I have to put my blinkers on when I see her selling her work anywhere.

I also really like Chris Jenkins‘ sculptural work, his humanoid sculptures made from found objects and rubbish are brilliant!

Lighthouse KeeperK: You’re right, there’s a creative hub forming on the Isle, You spend a lot of time globe-trotting, does a lot of your illustration inspiration come from there?

Z: I have to admit I didn’t travel so much last year, but recently visited South Africa. and came back with some inspiration for new illustrations – perhaps some giraffes and lion characters from safari might appear in future books!

I take inspiration from everywhere I go. I am always looking at buildings and quirky shapes or trees and thinking there might be potential in that. If I don’t have a sketchbook I’ll take a quick photo to remember for later.

 

K: Changing tact slightly – beanie hats… You’re slightly obsessed eh?!

Z: Erm… Well you got me, I confess, of the knitted variety! I have an overflowing basket of knitted hats. If it’s cold you’ll probably see me in a home-made hat. My homely obsession has gone from knitting mittens to knitting hats, sad I know but I like to be warm and toastie! I even have one hat that has ears and antlers; I’m under strict instructions to wear it for Christmas only!

 

K: I think that deserves an airing for at least 11 months of the year! If not the aptly named Sarah Beeny (groan), who have been your influences in life and art?

Z: That is of course my opinion too, sadly others may not agree!

I am a huge fan of Tim Burton and you can more than likely see his influence within my work. I also love Edward Gorey‘s black and white gothic illustrations and rather macabre stories. I also love illustrators Quentin Blake, Maurice Sendak and David Roberts amongst many others. I also draw a lot of inspiration from classic fairytales.

I have also been lucky enough to have huge encouragement from my very much un-arty parents and a couple of very inspiring art teachers along the way!

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K: What’s one thing most people won’t know about you?

Z: Unless you know me well it’s probably that I have overcome crippling shyness. I can be quite chatty or very quiet! It’s only in the last few years I have come out of my shell and had the confidence to try things I never would have before. For instance I did a small book reading for the literary festival last year and chatted to a school group. Both took a lot of courage for me. I still can’t do talks or presentations in front of lots of people – it utterly terrifies me!

 

K: It’s like Jerry Seinfeld said – In a poll of people’s greatest fears ‘public speaking’ came first, ‘dying’ was 2nd… That means that if you’re at a funeral you’d rather be in the casket than reading the eulogy! With that said, you definitely come across as an assured person. How can people check out your upcoming projects or get in touch?

Z: Thanks that means a lot… Great analogy! You can find me on Facebook and Twitter for all my most current news and works in progress. I also have a website, blog and online shop.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Interviews with Creative Minds – No.6: Donna Jones MBE

Artist, entrepreneur, poet, fashionista, charitable Tour de Force and dog lover –  Donna Jones MBE is widely recognised as an integral branch of the Isle of Wight’s creative revolution.

That’s all well and good, but facing a grilling from DxK is another matter; how did one of the Isle of Wight’s premier prose practitioners fare in conversation with the gloriously coiffured stud muffin? And, more importantly, did a sweet pooch named Scoot’s snoring scupper the tranquility of the occasion? Listen and find out!

 

To get in contact with Donna either follow her Twitter, message her on Facebook or send her an email.

*Special thanks to Jodie, Sam and Brad (aka Ba.Dow) for granting permission for Kureen to use the track ‘In The Name’ in the piece.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Interviews with Creative Minds #1 : Mike Keen

The first in the series of ‘Interviews of Creative Minds’ features Michael Keen, an aspiring musician and comedian.

The piece includes two of Mike’s original tracks, both downloadable from from Kureen.co.uk.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.