Wet Leg on Their Debut Single “Chaise Longue” | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, February 28th, 2024  

Wet Leg on Their Debut Single “Chaise Longue”

Taking a Different Tack

Aug 30, 2021 Photography by Hollie Fernando
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The Isle of Wight, located in the English Channel just a few miles off the south coast of the UK, has certainly been punching above its weight, musically speaking of late. Post-punk duo Wet Leg is the latest buzz band to emerge from the Isle, comprising of friends Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers. They’ve also recently signed to Domino Records and released their debut single “Chaise Longue” to universal acclaim.

Teasdale and Chambers met at music college and initially played in other bands before coming together to form Wet Leg. “It wasn’t until a few years after we met that we started playing together. I played the guitar on some of Rhian’s solo work and she’d play the piano on some of my stuff,” explains Chambers. “It was great fun but ultimately we decided we wanted to take a different tack, do something that was a little bit more fun and we also wanted to ‘rock out’ a bit more.”

The band name encapsulates their playfulness and irreverent sense of fun. “Wet Leg” has no coded meaning, nor was it borne out of an existential crisis. “It doesn’t really mean anything,” laughs Chambers. “It was just a couple of words that we kept coming back to. It’s quite funny when people ask us what it means and we can’t explain it. Ultimately it can mean whatever you want it to mean.”

Wet Leg’s tongue in cheek humor abounds on their hypnotic debut single, “Chaise Longue.” Fittingly the track was inspired by Chambers’ grandfather’s chaise longue. “I kind of inherited it,” she explains, “and it now lives in my flat. When Rhian stays over it’s also where she sleeps. She actually wrote all the lyrics to ‘Chaise Longue’ whilst sitting on the chaise longue (all day long).”

It only took a few demos to convince Domino Records to sign Wet Leg. “Given we’d formed pretty much at the start of the pandemic and Domino hadn’t really seen us live,” reveals Chambers. “It’s so great that they have put their faith in us.”

Chambers is also delighted, albeit somewhat taken aback, about how “Chaise Longue” has resonated with people. At the time of this writing its video has over 800,000 views on YouTube, with comments such as “This has got to be the greatest debut single in years,” “Finally something fucking different, that does something new,” and “This is going to skyrocket, and if it doesn’t, it’ll be one of the coolest gems in music history.”

“It’s been a lovely surprise,” she says, “we wrote it in one an evening, just writing for fun and being silly and we had no clue at the time that it would connect with so many people.”

Although the Isle of Wight only has a population of around 141,600 people, its music festival is a highlight for many on the island. The original Isle of Wight festival ran for three years from 1968 to 1970 and featured such legends as Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, The Who, The Doors, Leonard Cohen, The Band, Bob Dylan, and many others. 600,000 people attended the 1970 festival, which was six times the island’s population at the time. The festival returned in 2002 and has continued every year since, apart from 2020 when it was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Chambers says the festival has had a big impact on the local music scene. “Being such a small place there’s not a lot to do here and we don’t often have lots of big events. With the Isle of Wight festival being one of the big festivals and attracting such big names it certainly has inspired musicians here,” she explains. “It was always so exciting and when I was younger it would often coincide with the last day of school so we’d be all pumped to finish school and then head straight down the festival. Now it’s great to see artists from the Isle such as Coach Party and Lauran Hibberd doing so well and appealing to a much wider audience. We’ve also got some cool emerging artists, such as Preost who supported us for our first full capacity gig since lockdown. He makes a kind of medieval electronic music. There’s a duo called The Pill who are really exciting too.”

Due to the lockdown on the island, Teasdale and Chambers, who prior to the pandemic were very busy people, found themselves in the position of being able to spend much more time on Wet Leg. They spent a large chunk of the lockdown directing and editing their video for “Chaise Longue.” It’s a video full of tongue in cheek energy befitting its amusing lyrics (“Is your mother worried?/Would you like us to assign someone to worry your mother?”), yet there’s an almost a southern gothic undercurrent with Chambers and Teasdale dressed like escapees from M. Night Shyamalan’s much underrated movie The Village. Teasdale deadpans the track’s playful lyrics straight to camera whilst Chambers, with her face completely obscured by a straw hat, manically dances in the background.

“I do love dancing but I’m not very good at it,” she laughs, “but Rhian thought it would be a good idea so I just went with it.”

You’d be forgiven for thinking such a cinematic looking video had been meticulously planned but according to Chambers it was very much a DIY affair, with the duo utilizing what was at hand.

“The house in the video is my mum’s house and stuff like the rocking horse were still there from my childhood. We didn’t really over-think it and made use of what we had. Rhian’s sister Kayleigh helped out—she drove a car whilst my boyfriend Joshua sat in the boot filming us. We’d never shot a video before so it was a real learning curve.”

With live music tentatively making a comeback, Wet Leg recently played the Latitude festival as part of the UK government’s series of test events. “It felt as safe as it could be under the circumstances,” reflects Chambers. “Initially it felt quite strange as it was very different to how we’ve all been living for the last 18 months. But it was so good to get to play to an audience. At the start we wondered if anybody would turn up. Would it just be one man and his Wellies? Thankfully we had quite a few more than that watching us, which was amazing and also slightly scary. It was such a great line-up, although it was a little bit heartbreaking not to catch Fontaines D.C. (who had to pull up out due to positive COVID tests).”

Looking to the future, a debut album is not on the horizon just yet but there will be new music. “We have a new track we’re hoping to release very soon,” says Chambers. As to whether they will continue in the same stylistic vein of “Chaise Longue,” Chambers suggests Wet Leg’s sound will be rather more multi-faceted.

“Of course Rhian is great at crafting tongue in cheek lyrics and that does come across in much of her writing, but we’ve got plenty of songs that sound very different to ‘Chaise Longue’ and we’re really looking forward to sharing them.”


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