Allow us to introduce you to the smallest, biggest band in the UK right now, WSTRN. At timing of writing, they have a modest 1000 likes on Facebook but what they do have behind the scenes is a record deal with Atlantic and a metric tonne of support from the likes of Radio 1Xtra and a dynamite sound that is on the precipice of blowing up.
WSTRN are a RnB trio that channel the talents of The Weeknd into a vibrant, less morose fusion of pop and hip-hop. Their melodies are reminiscent of The Fugees and their bars tap into the sentimental realism that has rocketed Drake to the peak of the music mountain. In essence, WSTRN have everything set up for them to conquer the world.
Gigwise spoke to Akelle, Louis Rei, and Haile after an amazing Office Session to see how they were coping with the new-found notoriety. They seem relaxed and sure of themselves but still, courteous and willing. After introducing themselves, Louis Rei caveats their formality with a boyband-esque, “and together we are WSTRN”, as the other two burst into fits of laughter and furious head-shaking. Their growing infamy will do little to dampen their humour, and that’s reassuring to see from a band who will eventually be fronting as the hottest act in the UK.
Can you tell us about your musical background? What are your earliest memories of wanting to be a musicians?
Akelle: I was about four or five and my Dad was in a reggae group playing around the world with Haile’s Dad. Louis: My Mum used to play Carpenters CDs and that in the back of the car.
You’ve described your formation in the studio as very organic - what comes first with songs, the lyrics or the beats or do they come together simultaneously?
Louis: It all started in the studio. We came together just to vibe, there was nothing planned, it just happened beautifully. We didn’t even have the intention to make a song, In2 was the first thing we layed down and it’s been a beautiful journey since then.
Did the lyrics come first or the production [On ‘In2’]?
Akelle: Basically, the production came first and then he heard that amazing hook.
Louis: It was the the hook and then it was history.
The particular kind of music you guys make and the nature of the industry is very collaborative at the minute, who is the dream collaborator for you?
Haile: I would love WSTRN to collaborative with, in terms of RnB, it would be The Fugees, that would be crazy. If we were doing club ‘turn-up’ music, I’d like to collaborate with Future, Young Thugs as well as the Nas’ and Jay-Z’s.
You guys are gaining some serious traction at the minute. What do you thinks it means to achieve 'success' as an artist?
Akelle: Success just carries on, you don’t know if it ever stops. I don’t think it ever stops. Louis: I think success is within each person. I don’t think there’s a set guideline to what success is, it’s about how you feel and if you’re happy with the path you’re on. You can always keep getting better but success is about how you feel inside of you. It’s a positive feeling that we try to bring, to make people feel good and successful.
Be sure to swing by WSTRN’s social channels below and keep your eyes peeled for their Gigwise Office Session released this Friday.
'IN2' is release on 6 November. Pre-order it here.