Mysterious music duo, Weslee, made waves with their debut single, “Gassed” almost a year ago. Since then, the electronic-pop track has seen far over one million streams, a handful of dancey remixes, and a spot on BBC Radio 1s “Hottest Record in The World” this passed February. But what makes Weslee’s nearly instant recognition and incomparable synth-y pop-R&B sound all the more alluring? We know nothing but their first names.
Few artists can pinpoint their debut single as the one that launched their careers, but that’s just one way that Weslee’s unlike other musicians coming up. In an age where many (or most) artists evaluate their success based on their social media relevancy, Weslee would rather keep its identity low-profile. The pair say their anonymity is a way to intrigue people to really “listen to the music,” without getting too wrapped up in who’s behind it. And, it’s working — their second single, “Bathwater,” saw just as much praise, adding a hauntingly soulful sound to their roster of hit singles. However, as Weslee’s songs gain more and more attention all over the world, so do peoples’ desires to know more about the fascinating duo.
If you’ve already tabbed over and started searching — you’re out of luck. I was first introduced to Weslee through their single, “Bathwater,” and like anyone else absorbed by their unique tracks, I was mystified to find that Weslee’s internet presence is humble at most. With an IG feed of faceless photos hidden behind the group’s logo, taunting usernames like WeAreWeslee and WhoIsWeslee (the obscure email address I was communicating with to get this interview), and an insanely modest social media following despite their success, it seems the two have no plan to reveal who they really are just yet.
Here’s what we do know: Josh and Emma, the masterminds behind Weslee, met three years ago in NY, and have been making music ever since. With Josh being from from the States, and Emma from London, we’ll call it a blessing that the two met and began creating. They started developing their own sound through a shared love for icons like Tracy Chapman and Kwabs. With an audible emotion in both their sound and lyrics, Weslee’s music often touches on the vulnerability and intensity of love through experimental pop melodies, explaining the meaning for their second single “Bathwater,” by asking me, “have you ever loved someone enough to drink their bathwater?”
With no immediate plans of revealing their identities, we’re left to keep wondering just who Weslee is.
Luckily, we were able to catch up with Emma and Josh to chat about how Weslee got started, what inspired their unique sound, and their plans for Weslee’s future.
Without telling us too much about your identity, tell us a little about Weslee.
Well, we are Emma and Josh. Emma lives in New York, but is from London. Josh lives in London, but is from the States.
When did you start making music?
We met in New York three years ago and have been making music together since then.
When did you release your first single?
“Gassed” came out at the beginning of March 2017.
You keep your identities quiet — even your Instagram account is just a collection of faceless figures covered by a Weslee logo. Why the anonymity?
The anonymity was initially there to just make people listen to the music and not worry about who it was making the music.
Will Weslee always be this way, or are there plans for revealing your identities?
Not really sure. For now, we just want to keep releasing songs this way, but I guess when the time comes to play shows we can’t like sit behind a curtain, or could we?
While you’re both living in different countries, what’s the process like for making music?
We only write and work together when we are in the same place, which recently has been in London. We don’t really do the work remotely thing as it’s more about capturing how we are feeling and the energy that you can’t get from working separately.
How would you describe Weslee’s sound?
How would you describe our sound? Maybe… Music you listen to alone in your bedroom, music you extend your family to, music that tells a story, music that is heady, music that is pensive.
How’d you come up with the name Weslee?
It was the name of Emma’s turtle when she was a kid.
Can you tell us about the process for your “Bathwater” music video and a little behind the meaning of the song?
Emma made the video with friends in L.A. She was staying at a house in the hills and that turned into the set of this video.
In regards to the meaning of the song, Emma actually came up with the idea in the shower so the ongoing joke is that it should have been called “Showerwater,” but that just doesn’t have the same ring, you know? And, have you ever loved someone enough to drink their bathwater?
Who are some musical inspirations for you two?
Tracy Chapman, Pharell, Kwabs… when we first met and started working together we used to listen to Kwabs’ “Perfect Ruin” all the time, it was like our safe-place. There is a version where he sings it acoustically in an abandoned loft space… it’s perfect.
Who would be your dream collaboration?
Right now, if Solange, Frank Ocean, and Drake had a baby, we would want to collaborate with that baby.
Are you working on new music now, maybe an album?
Whenever we are in the same place at the same time, we are working on new music. We are also trying to figure out live shows for the next year, and sort of just plan out the next couple of releases and videos or whatever else should come along with those.
I guess we aren’t really sure if an album will happen or not. At this point it’s sort of just keep creating music we like and then trying to put that music out… if at some point that leads us to creating an album, that would be great, but it’s not like we are in the headspace or process of “making an album.”
Does anyone know who Weslee is?
Does Weslee even know who Weslee is?
Weslee’s latest single, “Boy Like You” is out now.
Next, check out artist, Joji, opening up about Youtube fame, porn, and being taken seriously.
- Main / Featured Image: @weareweslee / Instagram