Starting a band can be scary. To be a public artist means putting your thoughts, ideas, hopes, and dreams out for anyone and everyone to take in, digest, and, perhaps, even criticize wildly. As a result, thick skin and deep resolve are often needed. Such is the case for the UK-born band, Wet Leg, which, over the past handful of months, has become one of the most talked-about groups in the world. With high praise from the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, to name one example, Wet Leg is becoming a household name, and that journey is set to continue with the release of the band’s self-titled debut LP, which is out Friday (April 8 ). But to achieve all this has required, for lack of a better term, a mission statement from Wet Leg’s founders, Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers. The duo has had to stick to it closely. And, so far, they have done so admirably, and with a touch of signature irreverence.
“We’ve never made an album before,” Teasdale says. “It was quite daunting… but to hell with being scared.”
Wet Leg, which began formally in 2019, was born of a friendship. In fact, Teasdale and Chambers were friends long before they began to write songs together, having first met at Isle of Wight College. Teasdale, who first fell in love with music after “inheriting” her older sister’s iTunes, took to Radiohead, Joanna Newsom, the Doors, and many more classic groups. Chambers loved Nick Drake and David Bowie, to name a couple. The two grew up on the Isle of Wight in the UK and though not many big-name touring acts came through, the two got their fix of live music in a few local pubs and via the region’s two main summer music festivals.
“I think the thing with the Isle of Wight,” Teasdale says, “is that there’s such a slow pace of life over there.”
The region was its own community, for better and for worse. Art and music were appreciated, especially amongst the young people there, but there weren’t many places to indulge. So, that led Teasdale and Chambers to make their own sounds between earning rent money and working day jobs. As such, the band comes from rather humble beginnings. Instead of nepotism or big angel investments, the group was born of humor and thick camaraderie.
“We started from this point,” says Chambers, “where we both loved having music in our lives. [Music] felt like a way to be more free.”
With this sense of newfound freedom, the two musicians made a promise to each other. They agreed, as their songwriting increased, to keep expectations low. To not stress or put undue pressure on one another. Pressure busts pipes, as the saying goes, and Teasdale and Chambers wanted their creativity to be as free-flowing as possible. The music they made together was going to be for them—for each other—first and foremost. The duo released their debut single, “Chaise Longue,” in June of 2021.
“We were pretty scared when we first started Wet Leg,” says Teasdale. “That’s why it’s so important that we started it with this ethos of ‘no pressure, no rules.’ That it was just for fun… We’re all going to die soon, anyway.”
While some may prioritize making money, playing the biggest stages, or getting the most social media attention, Wet Leg puts having fun at the top of its list. It’s paramount to continue to enjoy things, says Teasdale. A band, after all, is a business and it’s important to stick to a business mission statement. For Wet Leg that means enjoy the joy. As a result, the two are constantly checking in with one another, asking: Is this fun still? That habit has become especially important now that the band is growing—exponentially.
“I think it does take work,” Teasdale says. “To be true to ourselves and to go for it with the original intention of the band. But I think we’re succeeding.”
In the beginning, the duo of Wet Leg wrote songs “really, really quickly,” they say. As the band began to get more and more buzz in the industry, they were also asked to participate in the festival circuit. But to do so, they had to ensure they had enough material for a full set. So the goal became dual-pronged: write enough music but do so while remaining true to themselves and their goals. And thanks to their irreverent strategy, their personalities were maintained throughout the process.
“We kind of shit these songs out, basically,” Teasdale says, with a laugh.
Now, success is manifesting. And it’s happening almost quicker than the members can handle.
“It’s kind of hard to get your brain around,” says Chambers. “For instance, Dave Grohl—I’ve been listening to him my whole life. My older brother listened to Nirvana, so I listened to Nirvana. I can’t really rationalize it or comprehend it. It doesn’t really compute in my brain. But that’s okay because I think the best thing that we can do is to take it day-by-day and just be grateful.”
It’s important for Chambers that the two members acknowledge wins when they come and be proud of themselves for their achievements—even if they seem somehow larger than life when they arrive. Both members say that if they knew in their teenage years what was in store for them just a handful of years later, they wouldn’t have believed it. But in order to not get held up by all the good news, the duo puts their respective heads down and works. For their debut LP, they took many of the demos they’d “shitted out” and cut the basic tracks quickly in the studio. Then they took a week off to get the lyrics and vocal attack just right. And the process worked. The band’s new album is terrific with cheeks songs like “Oh No” and “Ur Mum” sticking in brains like thumbtacks. And if Chambers and Teasdale can stick to their proverbial guns, those singles won’t be the last in their standout catalog.
“We’re counting our lucky stars,” Chambers says.
“We’re also quickly finding what our boundaries are and learning to voice them,” Teasdale says, “which is something we’ve never had to do before.”
As the future continues to unfold in front of them, what remains consistent throughout is their love of music, born from those early hand-me-down days from family and friends. The memories they made then are now relivable today. Just as the memories Wet Leg makes each day these days will one day be the memory lanes down which they’ll walk later. It’s a delightful pattern that those who work hard and with appreciation can enjoy over and over.
“You listen to music,” Chambers says, “and it’s like you’re having a conversation with God or something. And then you feel euphoric. Or you feel joy, or you feel heartbreak. It’s just endlessly all those things and more.”
“I really love music’s ability to transport you back to a time and place,” Teasdale says. “There are so many albums I had in my car when I was 17 and when I listen to them, I just remember that time again so well. It’s a magical thing.”
Photo by Hollie Fernando / The Oriel