I can describe Badass Bands 68 in a few words: Talented. Fun. Energetic. Chicks. That is We Are/She Is in a nutshell. But as per usual, I will expand on my love for this band and why they are worthy of gracing your ear holes.
This band was on my radar for quite some time because of some friend’s recommendations, I listened, I liked, but sometimes I get sidetracked and it takes me a while to get to contacting a band I am digging on. This is where We Are/She Is comes in. The sole of WASI is comprised of Cosmo (vocals, guitar, synth) and Jess (bass, synth and vocals), two lovely radical chicks. They contacted me after seeing some work I had done with The Active Set. As soon as I saw the email I was stoked and did not hesitate to arrange for a chance to talk to these rad chicks. That is what you can read below.
As for their tunage, it does lean more toward the electronic-poppy side, and it’s no secret that I am a hard sell in that arena. These ladies however, do it so well that my ears succumbed to their crafty, well executed tunes. When it comes to their older EP ‘Young & Pretty Clean’ my picks include ‘Barlights’ with its whimsical vocals and catchy lines like, ‘You knew this day would one day come, in the dark of night, or the midday sun..’ or ‘So we dance in the barlight’. This song is not easily forgotten. Another favorite from is ‘Puzzles’. This tune boasts some unique synth sounds, and though the vocals are pretty repetitive in the beginning, it works as almost a fun anthem. The song then moves into a relatable tune about a dissembled world.
Now, WASI just released a new EP titled, ‘Name Game’. This EP, though it keeps some of their signature sounds and catchy hooks, is quite the departure from their first EP. It boasts fun, surfer rock-esqe tunes, that are the perfect combination of guitar driven rock n roll with poppy overtones. My current picks from this EP are ‘Beach Nights’ and their ‘MIA Mashup’, which honestly I like better than the original.
So on a cold night in LA, Cosmo and Jess graced BBB with a meeting, and you can read on below to find out about booking their first show before they were even a band (or even knew each other!), why they’re called ‘We Are/ She Is’, and why if you are taking life too seriously, you should go to their shows!
When and why did you start playing music?
Jess: I’ll try not to make this too long! For me, I was really into Blink 182 in Jr. High and I told my mom I wanted a guitar for Christmas. Well, Christmas rolled around and there was a Bass under the tree. I was like ‘Hey! That’s not a guitar!’ and my mom said, ‘Yeah it is, it has strings.’ So I played with it and then it just sat around.
Cosmo: In High School when I was a Junior and she was a Senior, I was in this after school webzine sort of thing, and at the end of it they were like, ‘We need a band’. I had a guitar, but I didn’t really play it. But for some reason I said, ‘Okay, I have a band.’ I didn’t even know Jess at the time. They asked if we could play a show in three weeks and I said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it!’. I got home and thought, ‘Fuck, I don’t have a band, what do I do?!’ I thought. ‘Cool, I will learn a bunch of cover songs I guess.’ I called up some friends and asked if they wanted to play and start a band because I booked a show in three weeks. They directed me to Jess.
Jess: No one knew I could play an instrument at all. Everyone is like ‘Dude we don’t know how to play anything, like my brother has a drum set…’
Cosmo: So we had a class together so I walk up to her and say, ‘Hey are you Jess?’ and she said yeah. So I said, ‘Do you wanna be in the band?’
Jess: She said, ‘Stacey told me you play bass.’ And I was like, ‘Well I have a bass, but I don’t really play it.’
Cosmo: So I asked her if she wanted to play the show in three weeks and she said yeah. It was probably the worst show ever.
Jess: We didn’t end up learning any cover songs, it was easier for us just to make up songs out of our ass. We were an all girl band called the Midol Poppers. It was really bad, as bad as it sounds.
Cosmo: But we fell in love with it from there.
Jess: After the first show it was so scary. I was like a deer in headlights. But we just kept going.
Cosmo: And here we are, seven years later still going.
What kind of music did you listen to growing up and how does that differ from what you listen to now?
Cosmo: Growing up I listened to a lot of The Clash, The Cure, The Pixies, Smashing Pumpkins, that kind of stuff. Now, I can’t really get into the radio. There are rarely any songs you remember. Matt & Kim and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are what we are both digging on now.
Jess: Growing up I listened to Blink 182, The Offspring, I randomly had a mixtape of Ozzy Osbourne, which was kind of a guilty pleasure.
Which musicians do you admire?
Jess: Mark Hoppus obviously. We really look up to Matt & Kim a lot, not only as musicians but as people. They had a recent tour and we saw them, I guess along their tour they had a lot of crap happen like Matt got really sick and they still played. But they push through it with a good attitude and that is awesome. Once you are at a certain level people can get big heads, but its cool when people stay humble.
Cosmo: Its all in the talent and energy too, the performance. I love when bands put on a good show.
Why the name We Are/She Is?
Cosmo: We were going through several bands. We were doing this whole musical discovery. So at first it was just going to be She Is. But then we added We Are, giving it a whole community entity.
Jess: We were so focused, coming from the OC, on being a certain way, or fitting in a certain way, that we kind of lost it. So finally we were like fuck it, after everything we have done up to this point, let’s go with this.
Cosmo: We felt like they were words that meant something more than just random words to throw out there. We liked how it looked and it just fit.
Describe your show visually and musically for those who have never been.
Jess: Like I said, we are heavily influenced by Matt & Kim so if you have ever been to a Matt & Kim show, there are similarities.
Cosmo: Okay, so you see a band and you can tell they are performing, you know? Like ‘Oh I need to move my head this way or bounce that way’. Well, I feel like when we go on there, its just like natural energy that you feed off from the crowd. It goes all the way down to your feet, you just want to start dancing. Not typical, ‘I’m in a club dancing’ but like ‘I’m going to fucking let it go’ dancing. Between us, and the drummer and the crowd, even if people don’t dance, I feel like they feel it. Its just a room of fuck the world energy.
Jess: If you see a band and you hear their music, you assume they look and perform in a certain way. It’s expected. We try to go for the unpredictable. We try to come up with more wow factors in our live show.
Cosmo: We aren’t as political as some bands out there, there are some politics in our music, but that energy like ‘I have something to say’ comes out.
Jess: Yeah, you’re going to listen to me whether or not you like it.
How does your creative process typically work?
Cosmo: Sometimes you hear a song and you think ‘Fuck that’s a good vibe’ and you feed off of that vibe and write your own song.
Jess: She is definitely the sole lyric writer.
Cosmo: But we write the music together. We vibe off what we are currently listening to. For our older album we were listening to a lot of Tegan and Sara before they got all pop. It was a softer vibe, kind of like the Go Go’s or The Cure. For this new album, we are more leaning toward rock. It’s much more like late Blink 182 or the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s. A lot of time when you’re writing, after you do it for so long, you just sit down and it kind of works.
What has been your greatest opportunity so far?
Cosmo: You know, we have had a lot of great opportunities, like opening for The Naked and Famous, that was mind blowing. But I think what has helped us the most, is not doing that one big thing. It’s more about doing the constant shows, every week.
Jess: It’s more like the consistent little sparks here and there.
Cosmos: The Naked and Famous thing was the biggest thing to us and then after that we were a part of the OC music awards.
Jess: And we also got a couple of spots in ‘The Real L Word’. We would like to land a pretty significant tour at some point, and we are working on it, but its all the little things that add up.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
Cosmo: Money. Always money. I want to say attitude, but I don’t think that is as much as money. Things add up in a short amount of time, like we did the EP, want to do a music video and a tour, and that all adds up to like $8,000 in 4 months. We did a Kickstarter and that raised some money. We sell stuff on Ebay too.
Jess: Yeah, you have to see the band as a business. My job is necessary for my survival, but the band is its own business. Cosmo is the mastermind on budget planning. If we didn’t have that, we would be screwed. If it was up to me all the time, we would be a hot mess. I also have a really good eye though, if there are things that are quality for super cheap, we will buy them and sell them on Ebay for a substantial profit.
Cosmo: We used to sell our CD’s all around and go from group to group communicating with people and we were able to live that way for a while.
Jess: But then we got older and there is traffic to deal with, jobs, and now we do what is necessary for survival. What we have really just learned from the very beginning, is just to be so fucking grateful. There are so many people who have it much worse. No matter how small the opportunity, be grateful as a band and as people.
What are you working on now, and what can we expect from you this year?
Cosmo: Well, our EP. We are really pumped on that. We have had our music on The Real L word, so we are pushing for publishing and being on more TV shows.
Why should people listen to your band and if you had a slogan, what would it be?
Jess: You should listen to our band, because what we are trying to go for is upbeat, fun, catchy, simple music yet at the same time we have lyrics that have a deeper meaning. Not to sound cheesy. If you want to see a band and listen to lyrics to get something from it, but also go to a show where you won’t expect it to look like that on stage, then you need to see us.
Cosmo: We try to be catchy and simple, with phrases or melodies so people remember it.
Jess: We just want people to have a good time. One of our biggest pet peeves is going to a show where everyone is bored. We want to entertain people so they will come back. If you are taking life to seriously, come to our show and you will leave laughing. You will feel something. You will get something from the show.
Cosmo: Our slogan would probably be ‘Fuck It.’ We wing it a lot.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Cosmo: From the business side, how much people, like promoters, use artists. They don’t even pay them. They won’t even give you something for gas. S
Jess: Yeah, some bars and some venues, outside of So Cal, if you are on tour and don’t know anybody, will still give you gas money. What is really shitty, we played several venues when we were just starting out, where promoters took advantage of us or young bands who made you sell like 50 tickets and you get very little in return.
Cosmo: Yeah, it makes it that much harder.
One song you never get tired of.
Cosmo: Stuff by 2gether- remember that MTV show? I just watched that movie last week…
Jess: I’ve really been into the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s so either ‘Maps’ or ‘Zero’.
Best live show you have ever been to?
Jess: Matt & Kim and Blink 182
Cosmo: Matt & Kim, they put on a personal performance, they really know how to connect with a crowd. You walk out hyped.
Favorite things to do NOT musically related.
Cosmo: I like to play sports. I was in rugby, hockey, I just like to be active.
Jess: I hang out with my dog, I really want to get into cycling. I love to exercise. I love coffee.
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be?
Cosmo: Katniss from The Hunger Games, I have a huge crush on Peta.
Jess: Probably like the main character in Rock of Ages. Or something like from Harry Potter.
What jobs have you had, or do you currently have?
Cosmo: I work at The Grove of Anaheim.
Jess: I’ve had so many jobs, even just since living in LA. I work at Peet’s currently.
If you ran BBB, who are some bands you would feature?
Cosmo: The Gromble, The Active Set, Maria Sweet
Jess: Tic Tic Boom! YLove, Jahmeel
You can catch WESI often in LA, but if you really want a treat, THIS THURSDAY, March 28th, , 2013 at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach is their EP Release Show!!
FIND WE ARE/ SHE IS HERE: