Chairwomen Of The Board: An Interview With Hester Chambers Of Wet Leg
Updated: Oct 3
New York called it first, as it repeatedly does and with conviction, as Isle of Wight companions Wet Leg premiered debut track Chaise Longue. When the peculiar joy entered the ears over the US radio waves, mischievously intent on staying there for hours and hours and hours on end, no haste to leave, its intention ran parallel to the the lyrics:
'On the chaise longue, on the chaise longue, on the chaise longue, All day long, on the chaise longue.'
Our cheeky, irregular ditty then made its way back home to the UK before taking a long, but fruitful trip to Aus.
Buds who share affection for French disco, The Ronettes and Bjork, Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers were taken aback by just how much it blew up this summer, propped by a dream signing to 'doin it their cute way' and Arctics's vessel, label Domino. A Post-Punk, New Wave connection between Dry Cleaning and Romeo Void, they are reinstating the elation of rip-roaring new talent, bright women telling it exactly as it is, exactly as they want: Hadn’t heard Romeo Void before, looked them up and they’re so freaking cool!
Honestly, ever since signing to Domino, we’ve been totally stunned, and it hasn’t seemed to wear off. The response has been a million times bigger and lovelier than we could have ever imagined. We made Chaise Longue late one night as something fun to do, not even as a Wet Leg song.
Striking a balance that works best for them, they both play guitar and sing. Rhian began to carve her route solo initially, but this proved lonely. A piece was missing, a piece that only the shape of Hester could fill. We wrote most of our songs whilst apart during Lockdown, making demos on garage band and then transformed them with the band once we were able to get back into practice rooms.
Becoming acquainted as young students and unearthing solace in their sonic preferences, the gals proceeded to live music shindigs feeding into an ambition of their own and an absurdly amusing method of securing a certified name of merit and that qualifies as only theirs; they could not now be anything but.
We met at college and were both into bands like Little Dragon, Kings of Leon, Grizzly Bear, Laura Marling. Later on, going to our festivals like End of the Road and Bestival was so great because we love their line-ups, and slowly and it fed our inspiration to make music ourselves.
It took us a little while to pick a name, and it was on a list with about 20 others. A number of them, including Wet Leg, were made by making emoji combinations on our phones, which is actually a great way to make band names, it turns out! Wet Leg just stuck.
Their island, their lovely, beachy island's esteemed reputation of a bohemian, artisan community, is, in part, due to access. Not being the most affordable route for a teen making their way in the world or a rapid speed to manoeuvre to and from over the Solent, there wasn't the option of staying until the bitter end of your favourite band, avoiding the harsh signifier: the lift of the house lights.
Because of this, the musical landscape is supportive, encompassing and, well, buoyant on their home turf. Yet, the area is up there with the enlightened big guns and famously hosted two radical festivals indulging their youth, with the live debut of the duo taking place at Europe's equivalent of Woodstock.
The island is such a small town place. It's not somewhere loads of mainland bands come over to play, and getting the ferry as a young person to see gigs made the night pretty expensive. So, to combat that, the local scene has always been strongly fuelled by islanders making music together and putting on gigs themselves. An all-time favourite Island band for both of us is The Bees. After listening to them for years, they’re inevitably on our influences list.
We’ve been to a fair few years of both Isle of Wight Festival and Bestival, which sadly is no longer on our doorstep, but we were pretty lucky to have two major music festivals to run around. Our first ever Wet Leg gig was at Isle of Wight Festival 2019. We were terrified and played to about 15 people, it was nice.
The Prairie, in fashion and field, styled visualiser of Chaise Longue suits the pair to the ground. Suspense filled, in a Tarantino marginally uncomfortable wash, you are waiting for something to kick off at any given minute, big style, hard to tear the eyes away. But does it explode? Or is it a cleverly cultivated ruse? Watch and see... Wet Leg savoured directional control, never attempting such a deed before, decision making all theirs to match their prized song. Possibly the last time a creative team will not be present; an early dayz memory to look back upon fondly and a marker of travel.
So fun to make! We’d never made a music video ourselves but figured there was only one way to find out if we could or not. We started overly ambitious with a list of shots and scenes we wanted to take, with bunches of different outfits. But after filming the initial scenes in Ventnor, up on the downs - for some reason hillsides in the UK are called downs - with our friends out of the boot of a slowly moving car, we were like, wow, there’s nearly a whole video here already.
We then filmed another day on the porch, just using a tripod and pressing record. We had absolutely zero budget as it was just us - no label back then - but we were able to download the free trial of Final Cut Pro and edit it into the video you see today.
Article by Beverley Knight