Class of 2022: Wet Leg

Putting fun at the fore, 2021’s breakout ‘Chaise Longue’-loving buzz band are riding the rollercoaster and loving life.

“I don’t know if any of it ever will sink in,” Rhian Teasdale ponders from a plant-filled kitchen on a rare quiet morning. As one half of Wet Leg (completed by bandmate Hester Chambers), it’s been nearly six months since a switch was flipped in her life and has yet to be turned off. In June, the pair released debut single ‘Chaise Longue’ and were thrust into the eye of the storm of viral success, its addictive absurdity immediately striking a chord with all who heard it. The attention around the single quickly translated into rapturously received festival sets and endless gigs across the UK, with yet more acclaim for cheeky follow-up ‘Wet Dream’ continuing their ascent and the eyes of seemingly every discerning music fan in the country (and further afield) firmly fixed on their next moves.

The Domino signees might have been unexpectedly catapulted onto the path to greatness, but they’re managing to take it all in their stride by simply refusing to take it that seriously - or think about the ramifications of this year’s events too much. “It’s so funny,” the singer and guitarist declares with a grin - one of many times she assesses the band’s experiences as such during our chat. “You’re always so busy, so you always think about what you need to do today and take it day-by-day. But sometimes you spend so much time avoiding looking at the bigger picture because it’s so overwhelming that you forget to take stock.”

While Rhian and Hester might still be trying to get their heads around just how they’ve become one of the most exciting breakout bands of 2021, they’re more sure about why ‘Chaise Longue’ had such a big impact upon its release. “It’s just so silly, isn’t it?” Rhian laughs, referring to brilliantly bizarre lyrics like “Is your muffin buttered? / Would you like us to assign someone to butter your muffin?”. She points to the timing of the single as having some influence on the response to it, too. “After being locked down and everything just being really doom and gloom, I think [it connected with people] because it’s just so fucking dumb. That’s probably all anyone has capacity for at the minute - like, ‘I don’t want to be challenged!’.”

In the months since that single, Wet Leg have found themselves invited onto tours with the likes of Declan McKenna, Inhaler and Willie J Healey, and have managed to squeeze a handful of headline dates between that packed itinerary. With only two songs out at the time of those tours, and both being talked up considerably online, the duo were nervous about what crowds would make of the full Wet Leg experience. “Some of our songs sound quite different to what we’ve put out already so our guess is as good as theirs as to whether they’re gonna like whatever else we’re doing,” the singer reasons. “We’ve had such a lovely reaction so far, though. It’s so funny, man…”

“I think ‘Chaise Longue’ connected with people because it’s just so fucking dumb!”

— Rhian Teasdale

Making Moves

Who: Isle of Wight duo taking 2021 by storm.

In three words: Fun, fun, fun.

Achievements so far: Becoming one of the most hyped bands of 2021 after two singles, and sending purchases of chaise longues through the roof.

Most likely to: Blow your socks off with their live show and then invite you backstage for a relaxing sit and a can.

It’s fair to say that 2021 has been a big learning curve for Wet Leg, thrusting them into situations that previously they’d only dreamed about. Life on the road makes for a notable strand of that, with Rhian recalling her confusion at the start of their tour life. “Our tour manager is very savvy and has done so many tours, she’s been doing this for years,” she begins. “But she bought us 48 Itsu pots and I was like, ‘Why have we got 48 Itsu pots? Are we not gonna have meals?!’ But they really come into their own when you’re on the road.”

Despite being friends for years, the last few months have also taught the two pals a lot about each other too. “Hester is very strong,” Rhian says of her bandmate, who’s out sick today. “Actually it’s funny because you don’t necessarily put these two things together, but I think I’ve learned that we’re both very strong, very sensitive people.”

Wet Leg’s journey into the spotlight might have been swift, but the musicians’ friendship has been growing for nearly a decade, since they met at college. Before they formed the band, they were “quite good friends,” but it was a year of going to festivals together, “bumbling around, having no responsibilities and watching music together” that really solidified things. “That’s how we were able to actually start a fun band with loud, thrashy guitars,” Rhian says.

Although Wet Leg’s main mission is fun, when the duo first started playing together, another emotion had a strong presence - fear. “It’s quite an intimate thing, playing music with another person,” the singer and guitarist reasons. Prior to teaming up with Hester, she had been doing her own solo project - something she had the freedom to “get something wrong” in. “Messing up in front of someone, for some reason, feels like the most awful thing in the world that could ever happen,” she groans. “Once you play together and you do mess up, though, you realise it’s actually fine. But our first rehearsal together, we were both so tentative and like [puts on a meek, high-pitched voice] ‘Oh! Argh!’.”

Finding their feet in their Isle Of Wight home, the duo had to rely on a DIY scene for gigs and community, and Rhian says the make-up of that circle is something that gave her the courage to try the band thing out in the first place. “We’ve got Lauren Hibbard [see p64 for more on her…] and Coach Party - it’s mainly women. It makes it easier if you can see someone that looks like you, that you identify with. It’s easier to be like, ‘Oh cool, I’ll do that too because these girls are already doing it’.”

The isolated nature of the island is something else she sees as beneficial to the Wet Leg story so far. With only one proper music venue to play in, there are limited opportunities to get out there and perform - something which might sound like a disadvantage to most people, but that the singer sees a silver lining to. “Living in London, you do have more opportunity to perform your work, whereas on the Isle Of Wight you can work on something and work on something without the idea being intercepted by outside opinions,” she shrugs.

That’s a notion that relates to the band’s just-announced debut album. Although the pair were now receiving outside opinions from producers Dan Carey and Jon McMullen, the songs that will appear on the self-titled record were mostly written before the wider world knew of Wet Leg’s existence.

Class of 2022: Wet Leg

“I’ve learned that we’re both very strong, very sensitive people.”

— Rhian Teasdale

Set for release in April 2022, the sessions for the record have been “fun and fresh” according to Rhian, and she and Hester are feeling confident - albeit with some lingering trepidations - about what the finished product will be. “It’s the same feeling of doing a set where people know two songs,” she rationalises. “I wonder if people are gonna like it or if it’s gonna be what people expect. It doesn’t really matter though cos it is what it is!”

Two more songs have recently arrived, though, to help ease those concerns and flesh out what we know of the band. “I don’t think there’s any sexual innuendo in these ones,” Rhian laughs, explaining their key differences, but both the chiming ‘Too Late Now’ and the jerky ‘Oh No’ are just as addictive as their predecessors - even without smirk-inducing lines. The former features thunder-cracking sounds chasing away the pair’s anxieties and worries, before the singer declares: “I don’t need no radio, no MTV, no BBC / I just need a bubble bath to set me on a higher path.” The latter, meanwhile, lurches between phone-induced concern and excitement, and sounds like another guaranteed crowd-pleaser when Wet Leg return to the road next year.

As well as offering something new, these fresh tracks also reinforce the DNA at the heart of the outrageously exciting new band: pure, unadulterated fun. “When we started Wet Leg, we were looking at some of our friends that were in bands and not enjoying it. They obviously love music a lot and really want to be doing it, but it’s not a cool vibe if you’re not enjoying it. What’s the point?” questions the singer.

Despite them seemingly having the world in the palm of their hands, even the duo’s humble ambitions don’t stretch much beyond having a good time. “We had our Jools Holland session the other day, and beyond that I just don’t really know what other ambitions there are to have,” Rhian says slowly, as if she’s still trying to conjure some up in her head. “It’s just so mad, everything that’s been dealt to us. It is what it is and hopefully it will continue to be as good as it’s been, but we’re just doing our thing and focusing on fun. As long as we’re having fun, that really is the most important thing.”

‘Wet Leg‘ is out 8th April via Domino.

More like this