watch the premiere of wet’s ‘deadwater’ for a new kind of pop sound
Meet the dreamy Massachusetts trio that’s already being called the future of pop music, and watch their new video for ‘Deadwater’, exclusively on i-D.
Kelly Zutrau pokes her head out the window of a car zipping along the tree-lined lanes of Peekskill, New York. It's a scene not unlike Hadley, the sleepy Western Massachusetts town of less than 5,000 residents where 26-year-old Kelly and her Wet bandmates Marty Sulkow and Joe Valle moved last year to complete their debut album, Don't You. After the group's 2013 single Don't Wanna Be Your Girl clocked six million Spotify plays (boosted by a slow motion, hair-whipping Khloe Kardashian Instagram post), Wet's dreamy melodies and emotionally resonant lyrics have cemented the pop auteurs as ones to watch. Ahead of the record's release on Columbia this fall, director George Belfield scouted upstate's most scenic streets and sun-drenched picnic spots for Don't You's first music video, Deadwater. As we premiere Deadwater, we caught up with Kelly to talk rental kittens, ditching New York City, and why pop music is so exciting right now.
You all moved out to Western Massachusetts this year to focus on the album. How has getting out of New York impacted your music or your creative process?
Part of the writing for the album was done in New York, but the bulk of it was done in Western Mass. We all have a lot of space and time, it's a lot less expensive, and there's less to do. I think the biggest change is that it's much easier to focus on working. We've all worked it into our day-to-day lives so much so that working on music is the main thing we're doing during the day. I think we were able to come up with a much more focused product than we would have been able to had we lived in a city. It's easier to work here.
What's the most exciting thing about pop music today?
Something that's really exciting to me is that it's becoming a lot more accessible to indie artists and smaller artists. There's so much crossover right now: Haim being on a Calvin Harris song...
Dev Hynes producing that Carly Rae Jepson track...
Exactly, that's a great example. There's so many exciting collaborations happening right now between top 40 people on the radio and bands that we know personally. So it seems like a lot of the rules are changing and the way music is being made is changing right now.
What were some of the starting points for this video?
The song is about letting go of a relationship that's become stagnant or destructive, and reflecting on that loss. It sort of bounces back in time between the current loss of a romantic relationship and the past loss, so we set out to make a video that somehow did justice to that idea, but we didn't want to stick too closely to any narrative. It can be really hard to make a video with such specific lyrics and have it not be corny, to make something that comes across as cool and self aware when you have songs that are coming from a really earnest place. That's been sort of our task to deal with in videos because all the songs so far have had really specific lyrics. The goal has been to find a way to make them relatable and accessible to a lot of people. But we worked with such talented people, so I think we ended up with something beautiful that everyone's really happy with.
How involved are you guys when in the creative direction of your music videos?
In the past, we've usually come up with idea, sent it out, and then checked out what we've gotten back from directors. But with this video, we decided to start out a little hands off and just see what ideas came in. The director, George Belfield, came back to us with an idea we really liked and then we went in and heavily edited together and made changes. You can plan and plan for days, and that's what we did—there was so much back and forth—but we're learning that no matter how much planning you do, you really have no idea how a video is going to look or come across until you get a first edit back. It changed so much from the original treatment, but I think it got to a much more interesting place.
A really good example of that is how Elliott's, the boy on the bike, role changed. The original idea was that he was an angel sort of helping me get through this hungover day where I've hit an emotional breaking point and he was there to help me get to a better place by letting go of something. But it changed so much, and in the end, I feel it got to a more interesting place. Now that the video's done, I see it as more about two friends who are at different stages in their lives comforting each other through some sort of loss. I think that's my favorite part of the video: it feels like the song belongs to both of us.
That kitten is unreal. Is it yours?
No, it's not mine. I don't know the actual name of the place, but we got it from a kitten company where they rent out kittens and cats for videos and photoshoots!
Catch Wet live in London at The Victoria on June 17, tickets and more information here.
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Text Emily Manning