Modern-Day Sirens: Rhian Teasdale & Hester Chambers

 

This month’s modern-day sirens are known for finishing each other’s sentences as well as falafel. Hailing from the Isle of Wight, an island off the coast of southern England with a population of one hundred and forty-two thousand, Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers are known collectively as the indie-rock band Wet Leg. The duo attributes their unique personalities to growing up in the bubble of small island living.

 

Main lyricist Rhian is the more outspoken member of the duo, while her counterpart Hester brings whimsy and wisdom to their collaboration. In a mischievous manner, the duo shares several tall tales about the naming of their band. At the time the band was formed both, Rhian and Hester worked full-time jobs, Rhian as a fashion stylist’s assistant and Hester in the family jewelry business. Because music was extracurricular, the pair took their time in selecting a name that would fit their band’s fun and carefree vibe. Hester claims the band was named from randomly hitting emojis and stumbling on the combination wet 💦leg 🦵on the emoji keyboard.

 “We were playing a sort of game where we’d make band names out of different emoji combinations,” Rhian shares in an interview with Vogue. “Then we got to wet leg and it just kind of stuck.”

Rhian goes on to add, “I think we liked it because it was just such a dumb name for a band. It’s a good reminder to not take ourselves too seriously.”

The second tall tale revolves around Hester. Over the years, she made a name for herself by crafting custom jewelry. You can check out some of her creations here: Hester Chambers Jewellery. The story goes that both Rhian and Hester each had one necklace and one read “wet” the other “leg.” The girls decided to combine the inscriptions. Rhian playfully explains, “So from that point on the name wasn’t “set in stone so to speak, but it was definitely set in gold at least.”

The third explanation is perhaps the most inspired. The duo has claimed on several occasions that the band name comes from an old Isle of Wight phrase for people who come to the island from the mainland (Ovarners) because they will most likely get a “wet leg” crossing the sea for their visit.

Regardless, when Domino Records questioned the name and asked the pair if they might want to change it, the duo remained resolved. “We stuck by our guns,” Rian shares in a radio interview, adding sarcastically, “I think it’s important to have trust in your own bad taste, otherwise stuff just gets a bit boring.”

Oozing with tongue-in-cheek humor, the band’s debut single “Chaise Longue” went viral in 2021 and was released the same day as a self-directed video featuring the pair in their element on the Isle of Wight. The titled furniture piece featured in the video was owned by Hester’s grandfather. One Christmas, Hester and her boyfriend made up the chaise so that Rhian could sleep over and they ended up writing a song about the piece of furniture.

Written in one day, the catchy chorus borrows lyrics from the 2004 teen comedy Mean Girls asking, “Is your muffin buttered?/Would you like us to assign someone to butter your muffin?”

 

Like the legends surrounding the band’s name, the duo has a similar yarn to spin about how they ended up signing with Domino Recording Company. Vegans, the duo claim they were won over by the amazing falafel that the record label rep offered them on their first meeting, and that it so surpassed the other recording labels offered that they had no choice but to sign. Their self-titled debut album was released in April of 2021 and seemed to be just the sort of silly, sarcastic change of pace everyone was needing.

“I think generally we write songs expecting them not to be listened to. Maybe that will change,” Hester comments when asked about why they write songs. “I’m quite a lazy songwriter,” she adds before Rhian assures fans that it is Hester’s ability to synthesize that make their duo work.

“Every day there’s always something – big things, small things – where we definitely need each other,” Rian shares with NME, before adding, “In a really healthy way, not a creepy way.” In a rare moment of semi-seriousness, Rian reflects, “I guess being in a band can make or break a friendship but apart from that one time I dropped you and almost broke you, we’re staying solid.”

These sirens growing fan base enjoys not only the playful nature of their lyrics, but the fashion and whimsy of their music videos. “I used to work as a wardrobe assistant, you can base a whole video around what you are wearing,” Rhian shares in a recent interview, which is definitely true of “Wet Dream” a breakup song (Salvador Dali inspired, perhaps?) that features lobster claws.

Since moving to London, the duo reports that they’ve spent more time talking about music and less time making it. Their carefree attitudes mean that it’s not about the work it’s about the happiness of experiencing every minute of life. Their music spreads laughter and imagination.

“It’s always good when people get joy from what you make,” Hester softly says. “A little bit of happiness. You don’t want to leave people crying.”   Be sure to visit JamBase to check out this band’s upcoming concerts. Oh, and if you’ve enjoyed these modern-day sirens, be sure to tune in to Songshinesounds where more musical happiness abounds.

 

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