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Happy Mondays with Wetbrain

The Jersey Shore natives in the band Wetbrain are bringing their garage and experimental-tinged alternative rock music to the Wonder Bar tonight for the weekly Happy Mondays shows!

Comprised of Rudy Meier on vocals and guitar, Nick Kaelblein on guitar, Ryan Grebel on bass and vocals and Nick Aufiero on drums, this four-piece creates music that has the power to pull you out of whatever ravine or dark spell you might be stuck in. You’ll bounce back and be able to find the joy and light in life again.

The Pop Break had the chance to interview Wetbrain to discover more about their style of music, the themes explored in their songs, what the energy is like on stage during performances, and news of their second LP, which is already in the mixing stage!

I see that you guys are from Asbury Park—what do you like most about the music scene here: There are a lot of opportunities to play and something’s always going on so you don’t really ever have a chance to be bored.

How did you decide on the name Wetbrain? What’s it mean to you and how does it reflect who you are as a band: We needed a name, and I was struggling to think of one so I started toying around making compound words…then I overheard a guy I know use it as a synonym for “idiot”. I thought it was kinda funny and it also made me think of brains in jars, which made me think of science fiction, which made me think of psychedelic sorts of sounds…and here we are.

From alternative to indie rock or even garage/experimental rock, what sound elements shine through the most to listeners in your music? What makes your music stand out: Amongst ourselves we’ve always joked that we are the “wrong notes at the right time” band because we have a fondness for accidentals and chords that aren’t naturally occurring in a given key…so I guess that plus our love of effects and our willingness to experiment with different styles.

How would you describe the energy or atmosphere that’s created in your songs: It really varies from song to song. We’ve got some happy stuff, some sad stuff, some angry stuff, some pensive stuff.

How has your sound evolved from your debut album A Certain Light to your most recent release, the ¡Quebrado! EP? Also, how did you decide what songs to include on A Certain Light and what ones to release as the EP a couple months later: Both records were written and recorded at the same time. They were so different stylistically that deciding what goes where wasn’t much of a hassle. The songs on A Certain Light were rooted more in an experimental rock style and ¡Quebrado! came more from a space folk sorta place.

Are there any recurring themes explored in your music? More specifically, what ideas are examined on A Certain Light? What song do you think encompasses what the album is about: Absolutely. We’re an album-oriented kind of band, so the lyrics play a very important part of the music we make. Ironically, A Certain Light came from a very dark place. It was written as a loose narrative about hitting a personal low and the struggle of bouncing back from it. I suppose the song that best encompasses this theme is “Sewage.”

From everyday life occurrences to personal experiences, what inspires you to create music: I could go on for days about this. First and foremost, it’s just fun to hang out and work on stuff. Most of us in the band grew up together so we really are like a family. I think we all use music to escape the mundane. I know the biggest reason I write music is because it keeps me bearable in my personal life—It’s a total catharsis. I’m pretty prone to feeling lost, so the songs typically start out as a distraction or a pep talk I give to myself and then they snowball into other things. It could be strange or funny thoughts I have, things I don’t have the guts to say in person but would love to, current events, my distaste for the Internet, general human behavior, etc. I also try to make it a point to leave things just vague enough that they’re applicable to anyone, really.

Are you working on new music? If so, what can you tell listeners regarding upcoming music or any other exciting news: As a matter of fact, we are! Our second LP is currently being mixed, and that is all I’m allowed to say right now.

What is the energy like while you’re up on stage performing? What’s the best part about playing shows: I think we get a bit intense, very focused, yet somehow we stay very relaxed and keep things low pressure. However, at the same time, we’re all perfectionists. Whether that’s a character flaw or not, I can’t really say. I know we’re always having a good time, but our biggest concern is always being on our A game and putting on the best show possible. I’m probably the worst person to answer this because I mostly just blackout on autopilot. Playing with everyone live and having an audience really makes me feel everything I’m singing so much more. As tired of a cliche as it may be, it’s the ultimate high. And that is definitely the best part about playing shows.

What song should someone listen to in order to get a sense of what Wetbrain is all about? How does this song convey your collective sound: I don’t think a single song would fully convey what we’re all about. As I mentioned before, we’re a very album-oriented band, so I’d recommend listening to both records all the way through. With that being said, it’s probably best just to come see us live, honestly.

What is Wetbrain looking forward to the most this summer–and for the rest of 2018: Keeping busy performing, the release of our new album and booking a tour to coincide with that. Whatever the world throws our way.


Laura Curry
Laura Curry
Laura Curry is a Rutgers University graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. Interviewing bands and writing about music is her passion. She is a frequent concert-goer, whether they’re happening in New Brunswick basements, Asbury Park venues, concert halls in NYC and anywhere in between. Alternative rock is her go-to genre (i.e. Kings of Leon, Cage the Elephant, Foals, The Maine and lots more). When she isn’t writing for The Pop Break, she works at the North Brunswick Public Library, which offers plenty of Fantasy/Adventure novels to quench her love of reading. Additionally, she takes on creative projects from dream catchers and scrapbooks to paintings and jewelry making. She’s always happy to talk about her furry Maine Coon cat Austen and his knack for playing fetch and hide and seek. Just try not to ask about her next career move, because trust me, she’s working on it.

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