We chat to West London trio about influences, the importance of a hook + defining success
Will Butler
12:46 28th October 2015

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


  • London has a wealth of incredible new talent. One of the perks of living in a capital city is the vast quantity of culture and inspiration. From Grime to dance and punk, London has a rich history in breaking some of the most ground-breaking styles of music and artists in recent years. Here are 15 of the freshest new artists coming out of London at the moment.

  • Georgia: Gaining enough traction to headline the BBC Introducing stage at Reading + Leeds 2015 is an admirable feat. Georgia's urban cocktail of pop, electronic and hip-hop has enough flavour and kick to launch a new vibrant grime movement away from the played-out beats of the mid 2000s.

  • The Japanese House: Very little is known about 20 year old Amber Bain, we do know that her moniker is The Japanese House and her first single, 'Still', was Zane Lowe's last ever Hottest Record. With gorgeous harmonies and off-kilter patterns, think of the sound close to if Sigur Ros recorded in their bedrooms.

  • Puppy: Not only do Puppy have the press-shot of the year, their almost parody riffage is a nostalgia trip to anyone who's Dad got them into classic rock at a young age. Their most recently single, 'Forever', takes a lot of influence from the band Weezer thought they were - crunchy guitars aplenty and unapologetic fun.

  • The Big Moon: Their sweet and sour songwriting and wired instrumentals throwback to Runaways style rebellion but with a distinctly London bite. Perfect for late night listening when the stars are out or for long drives alone.

  • Declan McKenna: Although this 16 year old songwriter is held in the same bracket as the likes of Clean Cut Kid and Rat Boy, expect to see this name breaking into the wider public eye soon. Having won the Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition couple with his strained vocals, melodic songwriting and millennial aesthetic consider him already on the route leading to vast success.

  • Oh Wonder: This pop duo won't stay under the radar for long. Already being picked up by the likes of Radio 1, their Clean Bandit meets Slow Club brand of pop is sweet but has a huge scope to be absolutely massive. Their music and videos are already getting huge production budgets so it's just a matter of time until Oh Wonder are global sensations.

  • Venture Lows: Bass-led and seemingly defeatist, Venture Lows’ new single is a surpassingly memorable slice of indie pop. There’s an off-kilter gloominess about it, indicative of summer drawing to a close as well as an edge of experimentation that they’re holding back for now, we can expect to hear more it very soon hopefully.

  • Frances: Singer-songwriter Frances has been working with Communion records for a while now but is on the cusp of breaking into the big leagues. Her lofty vocals and grounded songwriting will, sooner or later, find it's way into the ears and hearts of the wider British public. Fans of Rae Morris or Regina Spektor will soak up Frances' piano led ballads like a sponge.

  • Loyle-Carner: There's very little movement in the UK hip-hop scene at the moment. Since grime is back in a big way, it's up to guys Jay Prince and Loyle-Carner to stand up for the more focused and authentic sounds of rap. With succinct bars and a streak of working with fantastic producers, Loyle-Carner is the freshest voice in the scene at the moment.

  • Vant: Born out of the ashes of political songwriting and the desire to create, Vant is the end result of a few guys who were sick of boring music and boring jobs. Lead singer Mattie Vant is a cracking interviewee so expect them to get huge for both their blistering indie-rock and his innate quotability.

  • Honne: This duo are dead set on trying to expand your mind, heart and more 'personal' body parts. Their pop infused electronica is rich in melody and depth but remains accessible for fans of the genre both casual and die-hard, expect some Honne remixes and chart-toppers coming very soon.

  • Doe: Dog Knights records is a great source for anyone looking for any punk both UK and USA. Doe are one of their latest offerings and this trio, to put it frankly, kick ass. "Doe likes feminism, horror films and brown beer" and also sound like Joanna Gruesome running from the law.

  • Kins: This quartet make the kind of electronic music that absorbs you slowly, putting you at unease and then pulling you into familiarity - it's quite the journey. Their tracks don't follow conventional patterns but are intricate and fresh enough to pique curiosity in any music fan regardless of their preference. Imagine, Hot Chip at 5x slower the speed and a metric tonne of brood.

  • Fake Laugh: Having already released material off of the hottest Indie label at the moment, Art Is Hard records, Kamrin Khan aka Fake Laugh's DeMarco style dream-pop somehow landed him a Girl Band support slot, either way, it sounds blissfully genuine. He's got an Alvvays cover up on his Soundcloud if you still need convincing.

  • Venice Trip: Describing themselves as 'psychedelic rhythm and blues', this quartet value soul as much as musical proficiency. Their invigorating wooz is likely to have seeped onto larger festival line-ups by the time summer 2016 comes around, keep an eye on them until then.

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