If you’ve been hiding under a stone for the last few months, you may have missed all the brou-haha about Island band, Wet Leg, and if it’s not your sort of music, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about.
This young band from the Isle of Wight, has taken the music world by storm. But last Friday they proved it wasn’t just hype, their debut album, called simply Wet Leg, shot straight in at number one in the official UK album charts.
That’s because real people are paying to download their music on-line and other real people are buying what those of us old enough to remember them, called records, but is now referred to as vinyl. In fact, the album sold more vinyl copies in its first week than any other album for the past 30 years.
Wet Leg also shot straight to the top spot in Australia, to number 4 in the US Billboard Al-bum Sales Chart. Nobody from the Isle of Wight has ever had a number one album, let alone one with the runaway success of this one.
Whatever your musical taste, that’s pretty impressive.
The band is fronted by Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, but also includes three other young Islanders. The girls, who both sing and play guitar, are joined by Ellis Durand (bass), Henry Holmes (drums/percussion) and Joshua Mobaraki (guitar/synthesizer), the boys also provide backing vocals to the band’s unique tongue-in-cheek and irrepressible lyrics.
Rhian and Hester turned down an interview with the Sun newspaper this week, explaining they were ‘too tired’, but the IW Observer managed to grab an exclusive quick chat with drummer Henry, to find out how global, overnight success is affecting the tight-knit five.
Henry revealed that while the world has shifted around them, some things have simply adjust-ed. He said: “We’re just friends having a really good time like we always did, except now we’re travelling a lot, hanging out and playing these incredible songs to new people who seem to love them. We’re really grateful to the audience, they make the show!”
“It still feels surreal, none of us can really take it in, but so far, we’re loving every minute of it, sometimes it feels like an amazing holiday.”
His words are echoed by Rhian and Hester, who issued a statement through their (Ryde based) publicists, Black Arts PR, earlier this week. They said: “It’s been such an unexpected journey for us, a bunch of pals from the Isle of Wight, so if we are honest, to have it place as Number 1 in the first week of it being released has left us in total bewil-derment.
The girls went on to thank Islanders who have believed in them from the start, add-ing: “Basically a big old bucket of love and gratitude is due to all you lovely people on the Isle that have been holding our hands along the way.
“Thanks to everyone who has come to a show wearing lobster claws on their hands and straw hats and mops on their heads.
“Thanks to everyone for believing in us even before we did! Life is a funny old thing and we feel so much gratitude to you guys for supporting us and allowing us to play music with our friends every night. Thank you, thank you, thank you, so much for joining us on this crazy wave and getting us to Number Freakin’ One!!.”
The Island is also coming to the fore as a result of the band’s runaway success. Videos for singles released from the album have been filmed here, one with a flock of sheep appearing on the credits, although it is not known if they will share in the band’s inevitable financial success. Tourism organisation, Visit Isle of Wight are thrilled about the worldwide exposure the band is attracting and predict it will attract more visitors.
But is there any danger of success going to their heads? Probably not if you listen to Henry. He told us: “My Mum had to MOT and tax my car, I can’t re-member the last time I drove it, and it doesn’t look like I’m going to be using it much any-time soon either, although we’re all really looking forward to being back in June for the IW Festival.”
He finished by thanking everyone for their support, adding: “It’s odd being away from the is-land so much, we’ve barely been back for a day since Christmas, but at least we can keep in touch with what’s happening reading the IW Observer online. I can’t believe they’re still having trouble with the chain ferry, and don’t get us started on the ferries.”