You Can Be A Wesley are one of the most exciting bands to come out of the Boston area in quite some time. The band started in college and haven’t looked back since. Here’s our conversation with Saara from the band.
NT: You guys all met at Boston University. Did you all agree during school that you were really serious about continuing to make music after school.
Saara: Nick, Winston and I (Saara) all met at BU. We met Dylan through mutual friends around our Junior year and he was going to Berklee College of Music at the time, but while we were in school we had a different drummer. Dylan joined our band in September 2010. I think I remember having a few conversations while we were still in school about whether we were going to “get married” or break up.
We all agreed we wanted to continue making music together, so we “got married,” as we called it, and decided to put a lot of our energy into the band and work kind of menial jobs right out of school.
NT: How does work spending so much time together, you all live in the same place (van and house).
Saara: We all lived in the same house for the first year that Dylan joined the band and now we’ve split up into two different houses. It’s actually really nice to have two different spaces that have the same collective feel. We seem to be more productive now not being around each other all the time.For awhile we were practicing in “The Wesley House” where Nick and I live, but we recently got shut down because of noise complaints from a crazy neighbour. Luckily, now that we have two spaces, we
were able to move our practice space to Dylan and Winston’s house and it’s been working out great.
NT: Most of your songs seem to be focused on strong vocals. Is this a conscious decision when writing?
Saara: That’s funny because vocals are usually the last thing that come together when we write. It usually starts with a guitar riff or bass part and we mess with those until we have something we are happy with. Then we take different parts and start to piece them together to build a structure. I’ll usually have a melody over certain parts and then when the song is structurally sound I’ll come up with words.
NT: Where did the idea for the video come from? You guys are all naked together.
Saara: I think you’re talking about the video for “Old In Florida” where we are all naked on the stairs.The video was Nick (our bassist) and our friend Addison’s creation. They have a production company called Loroto and do really amazing work. The idea came from a shot from a Jean-Luc Godard movie called Pierrot le Fou. There’s one scene with one long continuous shot where the characters walk through different rooms of a house. It’s pretty surreal and you’re not quite sure how the characters
seems to be in two different places at once. The video for “Old In Florida” starts and ends the same way; a couple walking into a house party while the protagonist jumps from the ladder. It’s one continuous shot and the story is an infinite loop.
As for being naked, that happens a lot with us when cameras are around. For one, it’s fun. Second, it’s easier than choosing what to wear, which is what happened for this video. When Nick explained that the camera would pan up and there would be a shot of the band we asked what we should wear and how we should be styled, because the whole rest of the video is really stylized. We stood on the stairs in regular clothes at first and thought it would be funny if we were in our underwear. We sipped our whiskey as we waited for to shoot to start and I think Winston was the first one to drop his underwear and we all followed suit. When Addison and our friends assisting him came up the stairs they had no idea we would be naked. I’m pretty sure if you listen to the original audio they sound pretty surprised/offended/ delighted.
NT: How did you get to record at the 1867 Recording Studio, I’ve it’s a pretty tough place to get into.
Saara: A bunch of our friends recorded at 1867 and raved about it (Mean Creek, Magic Magic, Moon) and the recordings coming out of there sounded amazing. When we met Chris McLaughlin we were
instantly on the same page. There was a mutual appreciation and understanding and everything felt good. After working 16 hour days with someone you really get a good feel for them and we enjoyed every minute of it with Chris. He’s become one of our closest friends and we actually just recorded some new demos with him. It’s strange how I don’t have to say anything to him about a song and he already knows what I’m thinking for how I think it sounds or want it to sound. Our wavelengths are so synced that he’s totally like a part of the band when we record.
NT: You guys really are DIY. On your blog there is a picture of someone from the band helping produce the art for an album sleeve. How has it been be involved in the whole process of putting out an album.
Saara: We screen print all of our T-shirts and screened 400 limited copies of our newest
release “Nightosphere” as well as a bunch of posters in our basement. We just feel like if someone is going to buy something from us, we want it to be something they want to hold on to. It’s not just a CD or poster, it’s a piece of art. I know I’m always psyched when bands make their own stuff. It shows they care about what they’re doing and what they’re putting out. It’s also fun and satisfying and extends our project from just being band. We’re part of a creative collective.
NT: Tell me about the portrait of you guys entitled ‘You’re U.S.’ whats the story behind it?
Saara: My childhood friend Emile Klein painted that portrait of us. When I was growing up on Long Island, Emile’s grandmother lived across the street from me and whenever he would visit we would play together. We lost touch for awhile but whenever he would come to NY he would stop at my house. He studied painting in Florence, Italy. When we reconnected he showed me his work and told me about his “You’re U.S.” project and I was totally psyched on it. He was going to bike around the U.S., stay with different people, get to know them and paint their portraits. In November 2010 Emile came and stayed at The Wesley House for a month. He got to know us for the first half of his stay and saw how we lived, interacted and worked together. When he started painting, we each sat for five separate two hour sessions in our cold basement. All in all I think the painting took about 65 hours or so. Maybe even a little more. It’s hanging in our living room right now. He captured us all so well that it freaked us all out to look at it for awhile. In a good way. Check out his blog with his other works.Everything he does is unbelievable and beautiful.