This week we sat down with lead singer Sam Stone of Wet Desert, a small indie rock band on the road to big things. The group is comprised of singer Sam Stone, guitarist Josh Emerson, basist Charlie Bird, and drummer Ryan O'Neill; four average English blokes form Worcestershire who just really dig good music and were brought together by their mutual love of making music. After releasing their first EP last year, the group opened for indie group Young Kato, and were recently signed to Shredder Live Lounge. Now they're on their way to producing their second album, a shift from their first album, as the artists and their music grow and evolve.
How did the band form and how long has Wet Desert been together for now?
Well, we formed at the end of the Queen musical at our high school, since myself, Josh (Lead Guitar) and Ryan (Drums) had been jamming together long before the show, but had never had a reason to come together. We were 15 at the time, so it must be 5/6 years ago now!
What’s the significance behind the paradoxical name?
We tried our best to come up with a name that was, as you say, paradoxical. Because we were so young, the name became our top priority for a while until eventually we stopped writing music! The name is significant to us because we always believed it was the quality of the music, and not the catchy name that matters with a band, hence Wet Desert (we prefer WD) was chosen as the simplest choice. Our name also makes us sound like an Oasis cover band...
Did you all have professional music training before forming the band?
Only two of the four current members have had professional training – Josh and our rhythm/bass guitarist Charlie. Ryan and me have been playing together since we were 11 years old, and aside from the odd music lesson in school, we are purely self-taught. Its only because we never really wanted to play other people’s music!
Did you always have the intention of forming a band, or was it something that just sort of formed out of a mutual interest in music?
A bit of both... Our mutual passion for music brought us together as performers for “We Will Rock You”, and then eventually, it was Josh who was the first to say 'we should make a band'. I guess by that time, we already had. Charlie joined us shortly after our first gig in a tiny pub called the Holly bush, and then things really took off after that.
Who influences you and your music the most?
It’s too hard to say really... We all have our own individual influences that coalesces into a very confusing style of music. We figured that listening to our audience and responding to their opinions on our own music would help to shape the writing process, and so we don't tend to label our style – our fans do it for us!
You’ve already released one EP and are currently working on another, will there be any major differences between the sound of the first and second?
Oh absolutely! Our first EP is comprised of tracks that were written early on, and our style has changed drastically since then, thankfully. We have more musical maturity now, and the sound of this new album is surprising us even as we write it! We've come a long way since five years ago, and our first EP are all the tracks we had written together in high school. This next album will be very, very different!
Is there anything else in the works that your fans have to look forward to?
Of course... We have a few videos that will be released towards summertime this year, as well as one or two singles to keep our audience on their toes! We have a number of festival events lined up for summer as well as a bunch of pub gigs in our home town – the main thing we look forward to is the album!
You recently posted a video of your new song “Just Alive.” Lyrically, this song packs a pretty hard punch. What was the inspiration behind it?
Well, you're asking the right guy! The subject of this song is a mixture of my personal life and a few existential issues that emerged from a difficult period in my childhood. I have always used music as a venting method for bad times and I wanted to encapsulate how important this music always was to me and my peace of mind, with the phrase “Just Alive” serving as a reminder that we have come this far, but it’s a long road from here.
What’s the aim, or intended message, of your music?
There is no enveloping ideal message of our music... just a combination of four separate, subjective experiences. Four guys that needed something to do with their lives, other than don a suit and tie and build someone else's dream! We want people to enjoy themselves most of all, and if they learn something from our music, then we have gone beyond what we could have ever dreamed of achieving.
Congratulations on recently getting signed! How do you think this will impact your music career?
It’s a big step for us and a huge confidence boost in our music. Now that we have a responsibility to represent our producers as well as ourselves, we finally feel as if we are standing on solid ground as artists. Hopefully this will allow us to hit our local area hard once university finishes and serve as the ideal starting point for a career in music!
As young musicians doing what you love and trying to relate or relay your experiences to others, what’s your take on the current music industry and how hard is it for new artists to get involved with the current scene?
The word that seems to inspire fear in the hearts of young artists these days is “The Market”. Makes you shudder right? Our message to you is 'Do not give up' because music is not defined by someone sat behind a desk, ticking YOUR boxes when you have already done it for yourself. The industry (Yes, like a factory) is defined by the 'profit' that your music brings, so be mindful when people start talking money and start thinking more local, because the whole idea of rock and roll is doing it for yourself – don't let the bastards grind you down.
What advice do you have for young musicians just starting out?
Don't worry about the name too much – and practice!!
How has your sound evolved since the formation of Wet Desert, and how do you see it evolving in the future?
We've definitely matured as musicians as the current content and the complexity of our songs is a far cry from our older stuff, and as always, the only way is upwards from here. As we continue to make new music and learn from our experiences, we are starting to experiment with other processes of playing as well as introducing electronic instruments to improve our versatility as musicians. The future is as elusive as it is exciting!
At this stage in your musical career, if you guys could open for anyone who would you choose?
Personally I would open for the Cat Empire, but the other members would without a doubt disagree! We would love to open for great bands like Royal Blood or some of the older greats - bands that have a similar sound and attitude to their music.
If you guys could play any festival in the world, which would it be?
The ideal festival for us would be V fest or Glastonbury, since they are the largest festivals in Britain, but the smaller festivals are where it all begins.
Lastly, could you sum up your music for us in three words.
Funky organized noise.
To hear more from WD, be sure to like their facebook page.
And follow them on Twitter @Wet_Desert.