words and interview by Shabnam Ferdowsi
WASI (an acronym for "we are / she is") is a band currently based in LA who makes punk-inspired pop music and just released a new EP, "Bleed Pop". Last Friday they had their EP release show at the Smell (that I reviewed here), so we met up beforehand at a diner in Echo Park to chat. What followed was one of my favorite interviews I've ever had with a band, and the four members of WASI are now some of the most humble yet passionate people I know.
Embracing the DIY music culture WASI is a band with a brand that's attempting to make real connections with its fans, and turn these connections into conversations that last beyond a show, beyond just the purchase of their music. A couple weeks ago they headed to Tijuana to make a documentary about the local music scene, and shed some light on the many stereotypes the city has. During the short trip, they played a small show yet packed to the brim with more energy than an LA audience would normally rally. No frills, no pretention, just simply cool people and music connected together in one space.
Here's a quick highlight from the interview, because our conversation was way too long, albeit inspiring, to possibly post here:
As a band you're very consistent and cohesive with your brand. How do you think you've come to this point where you know exactly what WASI looks like, sounds like and just is?
Jessie: Merilou and I have been playing together since high school, coming up on ten years now. When we first started neither of us knew how to play our instruments. She books a show and is like "Hey, wanna play in my band?" I'm like, "Sure"!" But the show was in two weeks, so we just learned to play our instruments writing songs together. [...] So over the years, being in different bands, playing all these shows, being boo'ed off stage... and for me, being bullied my whole life. All these things have fine-tuned our sound. This is the first time in my life where I feel completely comfortable in my own skin. And that's what WASI is for me.
Merilou: Because we didn't look or sound like [ other] bands, we had to go all out with what we would decide to do: that would include really understanding yourselves as people, and making that as vulnerable as we can make it. That way, the people listening and coming to your shows aren't just paying $5 to come to a show but to be a part of the community that you're creating as a band.
Jessie: To tail on to what Merilous's saying: it's not about us. It's about other people. To be able to use our experiences and to help other people is my number one goal. [...] What we're doing and saying means a lot, so if it means a lot to someone else, then mission accomplished.
Garrett: There are these certain albums that bands put out that really get you through hard times, good times, whatever. Since a lot of the production on "Bleed Pop" happened before I came in and seeing it from the outside, It's by far the most cohesive package that WASI has had at any point.
Make sure to catch WASI at the Slidebar in Fullerton on June 5th! 8pm 21+ FREE supported by our good friends in Kid Cadaver.