Hailing from Minsk, Belarus, Weesp is an electronic/alternative rock band which has certainly grown in sound and presence since emerging in 2008. Musically they cast a web of flavours and textures in a sound which demands attention and as the band’s debut album released last year, The Void, lures acclaim. With thanks to the band who shared their time with us, we sought to get to the heart of the band; talking sound, album, and a small Netherlands town…
Hi guys; many thanks for talking with us.
Lex: It’s our pleasure. Thanks for inviting us.
Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?
Stak: There are five of us. Lex on vocals, Mike on guitars, Mi on bass and Gul is a drummer. Me, Stak, (keys) joined later.
Lex: We started as a school band and then Weesp was created just like that.
Have there been previous bands/projects for band members before Weesp?
Stak: Not really, I played guitar in a band before. Then my brother, Mi, invited me to join Weesp with keys.
Mi: Gul played in another band before he took the drummer place in Weesp. But the rest of the guys and me are playing from school time. Anyway since we are in Weesp, none of us ever cheated the band with other projects.
What inspired the band name?
Lex (vocals): The name came out just like that long time ago. We just wanted the name to be short and unobtrusive to avoid putting us in any musical style limits. We like it means nothing, but just a name. Good or not, but it is so.
Mi (bass): Then we found that there is a small town called Weesp near Amsterdam. It was funny when local news reporter contacted me for an interview and asked about our name and I had no idea such a town even exists 🙂 Later we went there and even gave an interview to local radio.
Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it to offer sound wise?
Lex: The main idea always was to bring a little bit of something new to the world of music…And of course to stay sincere, to make music that we love.
Mi: Yes, the style changed quite a lot while Weesp exists. But I‘m sure it’s only for the best.
Those same things primarily still drive the band or have they evolved over time?
Mi: Of course we grew from album to album, developing our own style. You can see the whole evolution if you’ll listen through all of our discography from ep2008vol1 and Taste of Steel to The Void. One thing has never changed – the sincerity and energy that we always try to give to fans.
You talk of that evolution in sound, how would you specifically describe it?
Lex: I think it became more dark, serious and rough. And we like it, considering there are still a lot of melody and contrasts we like so much.
Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or rather been driven by the band deliberately wanting to try new things?
Lex: Both. We always seek for our own sound, and there is always that feeling that we are so close. May be the sound we looking for changes together with us.
Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating music?
Stak: There are so many of them. You know, all the guys in Weesp prefer different styles of music mostly. But we all try to listen to everything we can learn from. It affects Weesp music from different sides and helping to avoid copying any particular bands style.
Is there a regular process to the songwriting which generally guides the writing of songs?
Lex: We usually compose songs together, at the studio. Sometimes it’s fast and inspired. Sometimes it’s pain in the ass with fights and loud swearing. Good thing is that we stay friends despite our opinion often differing. I write lyrics myself, and I’m glad it is so, can’t imagine other way.
Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to that lyrical side?
Mi: We get an inspiration from the life around us. Mostly from the negative sides of it, but it does happen through some positive stories out there. Our last album – The Void is inspired by personal experiences and great upheavals of each of us…Although there are positive notes in it as well. I am confident that these feelings can be sensed and understood by our listeners. Therefore, we build an invisible bond with them.
Can you give us some background to your latest release?
Stak: The latest released album is called The Void. You should definitely check it out if you like alternative rock, metal, or any unusual sound mixes.
Lex: It’s our first long play album. We had released a couple of EP albums and singles before. You know, searching for own sound, experimenting. In fact we’ve been putting off the recording of a full LP for years, realizing how serious that work is, and feeling we’re not ready yet.
I remember very clearly when Mike brought a riff at the rehearsal. All the guys found something so special in it at once. Whole band felt it, and the song came out just like that, almost in a couple of hours – all the arrangement, vocals melody, everything! That song didn’t sound like a classic “hit song” or whatever, but it had that special mood… I never could describe it other way then “the void”. That night all of us knew that this is going to be a title song for our first LP album.
Would you give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it?
Lex: Most of the songs are about the moments, the seconds, good or bad, when you feel alive. There are also many songs about the dark side of personality and the demons imprisoned inside every one of us. Fighting temptations, making decisions, gaining an understanding of what is good and what is evil nowadays…And off course living further, no matter what.
Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?
Lex: We prefer to go to the studio with pretty much understanding what we are going to do there and what we want to get. Most of the songs are completely ready before we start recording.
Mi: But sometimes we do exclusions. For example we recorded Beware The Blind Spots without a single rehearsal. Lex wrote an arrangement right before we went to studio, and we gave it try. It’s one of our favorite songs to play live now.
Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?
Lex: You are completely right. You know, we like the recording process and we approach it with a lot of care. But what we really love, and what we consider our main strength is a live performance. We get a lot of positive feedback after each.
Stak: For us, live performance is first of all giving the audience all the energy from the stage. And I can’t describe that great feeling when the audience gives the maximum energy back to the stage.
It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it?
Lex: It never was easy. But we believe everything is possible. We love what we are doing, and I’m sure there are a lot of people who will love it too. I think there are quite a lot of opportunities for the bands who know what they want and ready to work.
How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band tries to escape the crowd and hopefully gets increasing success?
Mi: Of course it gives chances to all those who could not get one any other way. Although it also means more competition between the bands, in fact internet and social media nowadays put the performer so close to the listener like never before. We think the main goal for a band is understanding who their listener is and how to reach him. We have just started our advance in the musical market, and we feel good about it.
Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?
Lex: Thank you everybody, and keep in touch. We really appreciate it guys when you show up and let us know what you think.
Mi: Don’t forget to check our music out here:
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The RingMaster Review 18/11/2016
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