Wet Leg, adorably, have no idea what the Grammys are


Rhian Teasdale doesn’t take long to answer when asked to identify her last truly brutal hangover.

“Oh, it was quite recent — and it wasn’t even on tour,” says the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the English indie-rock duo Wet Leg. Teasdale, who formed Wet Leg with lead guitarist and backup vocalist Hester Chambers in 2019 after the two met as college students on the bucolic Isle of Wight, recounts an evening at a West London social club where she and a girlfriend swiped a bottle of vodka from behind the bar and began pouring each other drinks.

“The cocktails there were like 15 pounds,” Teasdale explains with a kind of “can-you-blame-me?” expression. “And so the reason we got so drunk is because we were trying to get rid of the evidence.”

Two women in dresses, the one on the left is draped over a tree branch

“I don’t think we ever expected to have so many people following us,” says Wet Leg’s Teasdale. “When we started our Instagram account, we were like, ‘Cool, we’ve got 500 followers.’”

(Caity Krone / For The Times)

The story — which includes Teasdale’s wee-hours realization that she’d made plans to drive to Bristol the next morning to meet a baby nephew for the first time — has the makings of a great Wet Leg song, a dozen of which fill the group’s witty and self-deprecating debut album. Vividly phrased and absolutely lousy with hooks, the tunes on “Wet Leg” tell of bad parties, stoned supermarket runs, late-night swims (complete with “bioluminescent plankton”) and the sorry experience of being hit on by a dude who promises you he’s got “Buffalo ’66” on DVD back at his place.

In the deadpan “Chaise Longue,” which has racked up more than 40 million streams on Spotify and youtube since going viral in the summer of 2021, Teasdale makes an unlikely mantra of the title phrase, while the stomping “Oh No” features this stupid-brilliant couplet: “You’re so woke / Diet Coke.” Teasdale, 29, and Chambers, 28, wrote the latter tune in a hurry after being booked to play a festival a couple of years ago. Says Teasdale: “We were basically just trying to fill our set.”

Despite (or perhaps because of) those scrappy origins, Wet Leg has quickly made some very famous fans, including Barack Obama, who put the duo’s song “Angelica” on his latest public playlist, and Harry Styles, who invited Wet Leg to open for him next year in Australia. Another admirer, Hayley Williams of Paramore, singles out “Oh No” as her favorite track from the band’s album.

“That last bit with the line ‘Checked my phone and now I’m inside it’ is the best ending to my favorite kind of lyric, which is sarcastic and whimsical all at once,” Williams tells The Times. “I can’t believe how perfectly they can summarize everything that’s hilarious, depressing and utterly bull— about navigating the last few years of your 20s.”

Now the women are vying for nominations in a number of Grammy Award categories, including in the new alternative performance category as well as the highly coveted best new artist. Not that Wet Leg has ever seen the Grammys, as they reveal while hanging backstage at Pasadena’s This Ain’t No Picnic festival, where they played a charming afternoon set before putting in a cameo with Phoebe Bridgers during her performance.

Two women sit side by side outside, one laying her head on the other's shoulder

Vividly phrased and lousy with hooks, the tunes on Wet Leg’s debut album tell of bad parties, stoned supermarket runs and late-night swims.

(Caity Krone / For The Times)

“The Grammys, it’s not just for music, right?” Teasdale asks. “It’s for movies and TV, as well?” Chambers — who upon sitting down clarifies that her vape pen isn’t “a jazz cigarette” — chimes in: “You’re thinking of the Oscars.” Uh, wrong again. “Well,” Teasdale finally decides, “we know it’s one of these glamorous American things.”

Both women made music separately with little success before starting Wet Leg, whose goofy name they say they selected to keep from taking themselves too seriously. Yet together they gained a foothold almost immediately, signing to the venerable UK indie label Domino after playing only four gigs. Laurence Bell, who founded Domino (also home to Arctic Monkeys and Cat Power), says, “There’s something about the tone and the attitude and the playfulness that’s quite hard to resist.” He reckons the band “was particularly welcome when they showed up during the gloom of the pandemic” and says he felt straightaway that Wet Leg would find an audience in the States.

“I was imagining how cool it would be to hear a couple of these songs on the car radio in Los Angeles,” Bell says. To that end, Wet Leg has logged countless miles on the road here since “Chaise Longue” blew up, which they admit has been something of a grind. “I think we need to put some things in place to make ourselves enjoy it,” says Teasdale, who lives in London when she’s not on tour. “Because you have so much spare time, it’s very easy to just scroll [social media] all day. I’m gonna try to read more and to carve out a bit of the day where I take more than 10 steps.”

Chambers, who still has a flat on the Isle of Wight, says she’s been trying to get up early and take walking excursions in whatever city she finds herself in. “I’m a nervous solo go-out-the-house-r, but I’ve been getting better,” she says. “I’ll intensely plan my route and take loads of screenshots of the maps in case I don’t have the internet to get myself back.”

This reminds Teasdale of a month-long trip she took by herself across Europe when she was 18. “I had no money and got into all sorts of trouble,” she says. “Put myself in so many stupid situations, a lot of the time involving predatory men. But as my mom says, it’s character-building.”

Whatever the challenges of the road — in September the duo called off two U.S. gigs, saying they’d been overlooking their mental and physical health and “couldn’t quite manage to get back on that plane” — the bandmates prefer playing live to interacting with fans online. Asked if they enjoy TikTok, where Wet Leg has half a million followers, Teasdale replies, “Hate it,” then backpedals a bit.

Two women poses on a staircase

Wet Leg.

(Caity Krone / For The Times)

“It’s not that it’s so bad,” she says. “I don’t think we ever expected to have so many people following us. When we started our Instagram account, we were like, ‘Cool, we’ve got 500 followers, and they’re all our friends or friends of friends.’ It felt manageable. Now I feel quite anxious about posting things.”

Yet she and Chambers are naturals with visual content, as demonstrated by the extremely meme-able “Chaise Longue” clip, in which they wear long white dresses and oversized sun hats for some delightfully inscrutable reason. (As with several of their other music videos, the musicians directed “Chaise Longue” themselves.) “I know this is the stuff that draws attention and that’s gonna allow us to keep playing music every day,” Teasdale says.

So where are they headed from Pasadena to play next? Both members think for a few seconds before admitting they have no idea. “I know that makes me come across as really dumb,” Teasdale says with a laugh. “But you talk to other touring bands and they don’t know either. Kind of makes you feel better that everyone’s an a—.”

Originally published at www.latimes.com

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