wet are the ungoogleable r&b-tinged electronic trio

Ace new Brooklyn based band Wet do a brilliant line in the art of heartbroken. Kelly Zutrau, Martin Sulkow and Joe Valle are enrapturing fans at rapid rates with their gorgeous blend of R&B-tinged electronica. With yesterday's WET EP release, the trio...

by Hattie Collins
28 May 2014, 1:05pm

Stephanie Sian Smith

So you guys met at college, right?
Marty: I was at a music school, but they weren't; Kelly was at art school and Joe was studying computer science.
Kelly: I ended up in Providence, Joe was in LA, and Marty was in New York, we were just passing demos around, then Joe and I moved back to New York around the same time.
Marty: They moved into my place so we were all just living together.
Kelly: I think we were all at a turning point in our lives where we didn't know what we were doing and all our energy went into this project. And at first it was for mental stability, something to put our energy into, but it sort of gained momentum/ 

I lived in New York for a while and it's somehow doable to not have a proper job there.
Kelly: It's one of the most expensive places to live, but we've all been there for eight years, so we know enough people somehow to get by doing odd jobs.
Marty: I did lots of weird stuff. There was this one job where these very wealthy people had bought a new apartment but hadn't moved in yet and they wanted all the services to be there when they move - cable, internet, etc., so they pay you to go in and wait in their apartment...
Joe: I got called to go to this apartment, I think the guy was Russian. He had one room full of empty Ikea boxes, and him and this other guy were in their underwear, shirts off, drinking. They were like "it's in there, you can clean it up," and I cleaned the boxes up and then they were like "do you want a shot?" so we hung out. 

You're known as a 'Brooklyn band', but that's presumably a tag you shy away from?
Joe: Kind of. I really don't like it.
Kelly: When you're in New York it's embarrassing, because there are just hundreds of bands that are pushing that.
Joe: When I was a student in New York I thought it was so embarrassing to be a student in New York. And now to be like the New York band guy is equally as embarrassing. I think for a while it meant something, it suggested a particular sound, but I don't think it does as much anymore. 

How do you differentiate yourselves from The xx, James Blake or Sampha?
Kelly: We love Sampha! All three of those are huge influences.
Joe: There's a particular tone about those three people, that kind of murky electronic music, that comes out of the UK in particular, that resonates with me, and is what I'm interested in.
Kelly: I think another thing is putting aside genre type words, those three examples are really emotional, lonely and kind of dark, but also with a little bit of hope in there. That's what really resonates with me.

How do you get into that state when you write emotional stuff like that?
Kelly: It comes and goes. I've been trying to write everyday, but it can be really frustrating. I'd say the songs that are written quickly are the better ones, like You're The Best, that was written in ten minutes in a room. It's impossible to access those feelings unless you're in them. 

Photography Stephanie Sian Smith

Has the person who the song is about heard it?
Kelly: Yeah, he's heard it. He's a friend of all of ours, he's one of our bigger fans.
Joe: He goes to a lot of the shows with his new girlfriend. 

So now about this Ungooglable name?
Joe: There's another band called W.E.T.
Kelly: But we have a peaceful coexistence with them.
Joe: We almost had to change our name because we hadn't gotten in touch with them. Our manager contacted their manager and they were like "oh that's fine, we can both be Wet and just live our own life." 

Any idea how Kanye feels about your Kanyewet.com URL?
Kelly: Yeah, we're waiting for that, for the cease and desist. It seems like it could go either way. If he doesn't like it, we'll change it. 

Why is it important for you guys to make music? Why do you bother?
Kelly: I think we all have struggles in our life to stay focused. We've all done a lot of things, and changed our paths a lot. But we can all focus on music, which has kept us doing it. 

Who are you working with on your debut album?
Kelly: A bunch of people.
Marty: It's really cool working with different people and seeing the different way in which they work. Obviously Noah Xaphoon Jones who did the EP with us. We've been working with Patrick from Chairlift, and meeting with a bunch of different people. We're really excited. 

Who's on the wish list?
Kelly: I want to work with Sampha. Or James Blake, that would be amazing, and DJ Dahi, do you know him? He did Worst Behaviour, you know that Drake song and Kendrick's Money Trees? We're gonna meet with him soon, so hopefully. I really like SZA. Have you heard her album? She's from Jersey, but she's like connected to TDE. 

If you were stuck on a plane tarmac for a year, and could only follow one person from each social media, who would you follow and why?
Kelly: I would do Rihanna for Instagram.
Joe: We've been trying to find that magazine. It's like a piece of history, I want a hardcopy.
Kelly: She posts a lot and you can tell it's really her. It's really real.
Marty: I had to stop following. She was blowing up my feed with like 30 pictures a day.
Kelly: Yeah but what else would you wanna look at?  



Text Hattie Collins
Photography Stephanie Sian Smith
Wet release the Wet EP on Monday 26th May.

Stephanie Sian Smith
Rick Moranis
hattie collins
music interview