We’ve got something a little bit special for you today in the form of Belarussian electro-rock / metal band Weesp.
The five-piece formed in 2008 despite not being able to play music, and consist of founding members Lex (vocals), Mike (guitars)Mi (bass) and Stak (keys) formed in 2008, with Gul (drums) joining in 2010. They describe their music as “pure, powerful and progressive,” and they’re not wrong.
Weesp fuses a whole host of sounds, from rock and metal to electro and indie, and the end result is brilliant. They’ve collaborated with Cory Brandan, the lead singer from Norma Jean, on the excellent Solar Empire and Everything Burns from 2015 album The Void, and jump between full-on metal, indie rock and synthy bursts of electro rock.
The band’s versatility is highlighted by the superb Livian, the opening track from The Void, which starts off slow and indie-like but gradually builds into a heavy rock thrash of noise that feeds into a saxophone solo, obviously. And just to extend the intrigue around this band, check out this awesome cover version of Prodigy’s Omen, which was recorded live on Belarussian TV and appears on The Void:
We caught up with the band to get their insight on what we can expect from Weesp.
GR: Hi guys, thanks for speaking to us. We think there’s a really unique sound to your music, so how would you define yourselves as a band?
Lex: “We make authentic alternative rock, using heavy guitar riffs and fat synth sounds. Although in general it’s rather dark, it’s also very energetic and sincere. The lyrics concern outstanding situations and impressions, the world and people around us, moments that shake us – common, but important things. We went a long way to form a sound that we can call ours, we like the recording process and we approach it with a lot of care. Nevertheless, we consider our main strength is our live performance and we get a lot of positive feedback after each show.
“Many people write everywhere how hard it is to be a musician, and how difficult and painful it is to force through in that business. But we love to compose music, to write songs, and to play live. It is a pleasure for us. And if I have to choose a measure of success, I would say it’s the amount of people coming to a show.”
GR: You’ve been around for a while now, but people in the UK might not have heard of you. What’s the back story and how did you get together?
Mi: “There’s no mystery or legend here. We were teenagers, dreamers, we hated school and loved music, and Lex just came up with the idea to create a band one day. Everybody really liked this idea, despite the fact that we couldn’t play any instruments or sing. But we started to though. I guess it all started in that old garage and we are now like a big family.”
GR: You say it yourselves that your music is pretty powerful. What influences you to write, and are there any key themes or topics that you write about?
Lex: “I can’t say there are any topics that unite all of our songs, but I have sort of a key theme while writing lyrics lately. There are many songs about the dark side of personality and the demons imprisoned inside every one of us. No, it’s not satanic, I mean it in a metaphorical way. Fighting temptations, making decisions, gaining an understanding of what is good and what is evil nowadays.
GR: Very interesting! Lex mentioned he’s been writing, what are you working on right now?
Stak: “We returned from a European tour last week. At the moment we’re working at the material for a new album. Most of the new songs are done and we’re thinking to start recording soon. I guess we will release a couple of singles before launching the album.”
Mi: “We play gigs quite often as well, and recording will not make us stop that.”
Lex: “We’re also preparing two full live video releases. They’re coming up really soon.
GR: Are you touring or playing gigs? And can we see you soon in the UK? If so, where and when?
Stak: “Yes we had two European tours this year – in Germany, Czech and Poland. We also played quite a lot of gigs and festivals in our country, Russia and Ukraine. Maybe we will go further west next tour, but we don’t have any specific plans about it yet. We’d love to get to the UK for some gigs. We hope we manage that soon enough.”
GR: Is there anything you’d want people to know about your creative process?
Lex: “We usually compose songs together, at the studio. Sometimes it’s fast and inspired, sometimes it’s a pain in the ass with fights and loud swearing. The good thing is that we stay friends despite our opinion often differing. I write lyrics myself, and I’m glad it is so, I can’t imagine any other way.
GR: There’s a lot of different sounds going on in your music. Which bands or musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
Stak: “We all have really different musical tastes. The musical influences of Weesp are a mix of musical heroes of all members. Starting from Muse and Radiohead and ending with Machine Head, Behemoth and Nine Inch Nails.”
GR: So what’s your favourite song and/or album of all time?
Stak: Black Sabbath – Paranoid. Every band member loves it till death.
GR: We certainly can’t argue with that. What’s the best gig you’ve been to then?
Lex: “Hard to say. I remember the very first gig I visited, and I was so impressed… yes, I can call it the best one. I was like 14, and it was a little stuffy deeply underground club in Minsk with bands playing nu-metal, so powerful and loud. I just loved the whole atmosphere. I can remember I wanted to be one of the guys on stage.”
GR: How about the best gig you’ve played:
Lex: I loved playing at the festival in the south of Ukraine this summer. There were a lot of people, there was a beach nearby… But I’m sure the best gig is still ahead.
Mi: “Here’s a story for you. Lex loves to climb on stuff that stand on the scene, it might be amplifiers, drums, loudspeakers and etc. The most wild and funny climbing was when we were playing our show in Zyrardow (the void tour 2016 in Poland).
“We played in a club with balconies, where the audience can watch the show from two floors. And I don’t know why but during one of our songs Lex decided to climb to the second floor straight from the stage using amplifiers. That was awesome. The funniest thing was that then he didn’t have an idea how to get down from there, but finally he made it accompanied by Gul’s snare roll circus style.”
GR: Sounds great, and probably a fitting story to end the interview on!
Thank you to all the guys at Weesp for talking to us, this is a great band from Belarus that you have to go and check out. Find them on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, and listen to their music in all the usual places.