Interview: Wet have eyes on the prize
Brooklyn-based trio Wet are supporting London Grammar across Australia (while performing some select sideshows) this March. Elaina Ransford catches up with them in the US as they prepare for their tour…
Wet first came on my radar as a result of some university gossip: both Marty Sulkow (guitar) and Kelly Zutrau (vocals) had been involved with people from my tiny school, and, after their first show at a magazine release party put on by some grads, news spread that people we knew were making killer music. Needless to say, the breakup ballads on their EP were dissected by the members of my small community, but the haunting, relatable, beautiful songs stayed with us for more than their gossip value.
Wet has, quite simply, become the music I play when I’m sad, content, resigned, angry, ecstatic, calm, horny, or basically any emotion you can think of. Kelly’s clear, twangy voice with electronic instrumentals backing it up is perfect no matter how broken your heart is. I got the opportunity to catch up with Marty Sulkow to talk about Wet’s upcoming Australia tour, the album they have just finished, and what they’ve gained and lost as they’ve become more and more applauded and well known…
So what’s up with your upcoming record?
The record is just about finished. We’re hoping to have it totally done by the beginning of February. Definitely done before the Australia Tour.
Tell me about Wet’s trajectory. How’d you guys get together, start making music, etc?
Basically we’ve all known each other in New York for many years- all of us doing different stuff. Then Kelly was living in Rhode Island and Joe [Valle, drums] lived in LA, and we were all emailing each other different stuff and there was this one summer where Joe and Kelly both came back to New York and they were both living in my apartment and we were just working on music all the time. We started doing some shows and then at a certain point we put a demo out of U Da Best and Neon Gold [record label] wanted us to do an EP. They’ve worked with all sorts of really awesome people so that was cool. The EP came out about a year ago and then people wanted to sign us and…. the rest is history.
Can you tell me about the sound of your upcoming album? Will we be surprised or is it really a continuation of the EP?
It’s not the same thing. I would say that it’s a logical next step. I’m trying to think of how to put this because I think that’s a question that a lot of people have. I would say that it’s a little bit more organic sounding, a little bit weirder in some ways, and a little bit more flushed out. But it’s still our personalities and our songs.
How would you classify your music?
I think that we usually tell people that we make electronic pop music. We don’t not see the elements of R&B and the folksy elements that people hear. Everyone gets such a different idea about it…
Is Wet a full-time job now?
Yes. It rules.
What did you do before Wet?
We had a lot of different Hustles. Kelly was nannying before and Joe and I were just all over the place. We were doing everything from repairing voting machines to working as personal assistants. I was working as a personal assistant to a princess for a while. She didn’t like me that much. For a while I was working for a hedge fund guy on the west coast who would have me go to meetings at J.P. Morgan and pretend I was him. I’d have to take, like, really careful notes at the meetings. There were just so many weird things that we were doing. I feel like between the two of us we probably had nine or ten part time jobs.
Where do you see Wet being in a few years?
That’s a really difficult question actually, and not one that I’ve spent a whole lot of time thinking about. I’ve really just had my eye on the prize with finishing this record. And hopefully the record does well and we tour and keep working on music.
Tell me about your hilarious site name and why you chose a band name that is so un-Google-able?
Un-Google-able yeah, story of our life. We actually didn’t think twice about it. It was maybe the week that Joe and Kelly moved back and we didn’t have a name for our project and someone was like “What about ‘Wet’” and we were like that’s great. It never occurred to us that our SEO options would be severely limited by the name we chose. I mean, we’ll never have wet.com, that’s for sure.
And how did Kanyewet come about?
When we were first picking out Twitter handles and Instagram, kanyewet was just a funny joke. We used to be a little bit more unhinged and weird and it’s only recently we started treating it as a real thing.
Yeah, as you get bigger you’ve got to worry more about what you put out there
Yeah, I think in the beginning we only followed Kim Kardashian. You lose some things when you grow, unfortunately (laughs).
Can we expect any new song debuts on the tour?
There’s some music on the album that is not released that we have started playing at live shows. We usually play between seven and nine songs, some of which are old, like ‘Who’s Your Dad’. We’re really psyched for Australia. Especially at this time of year.
Finally, if you could collaborate with anyone at all, who would you choose?
Drake. No question. Drake.
WET AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES
March 5th – Redhill Auditorium, Perth – Supporting London Grammar
March 7th – Riverstage, Brisbane – Supporting London Grammar
March 9th – Enmore Theatre, Sydney – Supporting London Grammar
March 10th – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
March 12th – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney | SOLD OUT – Supporting London Grammar
March 13th – Howler, Melbourne
March 14th – Festival Hall, Melbourne | SOLD OUT – Supporting London Grammar
Review by Elaina Ransford