“We’re just four dudes. I don’t know,” Welles said with a conclusive laugh, as if that was all the detail we needed. It was the understatement of the year for a band who had just annihilated their Governors Ball set; demanding attention with a level of shredding that had honestly stopped us dead in our tracks. It was volatile, enticing, and even called for a sudden change in plans as we walked over, hypnotized, to see what the fuck was going on. But as far as Welles’ eponymous frontman was concerned, it’s just “good ol’ rock and roll.”
“We’ve been rehearsing in our house,” the band told us after the show, each of them supplying a few details here and there. “We have a little room that we put like, foam panels on…got a little P.A…and we’ve just been running the set every day, getting ready for the festival. I think the coolest thing is that we truly have fun performing. So it’s not like someone is putting a gun to our head and going, ‘This needs to be a certain way.’ We just try to have each other’s backs musically, onstage and offstage, and try to bring the energy, even if we’re tired, you know? Just try to play our part.”
“It still is, very much, at the end of the day, just buddies making music together,” said Welles (who some may remember from his past solo work, under the name Jeh-sea Wells). “We’ve had a lot of practice time together, which is nice. But I mean, we’ve only been together for like 4 weeks,” he revealed, to our surprise. He went on to tell us how the four had come together. “We had to move to music scenes. None of us lived in music scenes, so we came to Nashville, which is music fuckin’ city. And that’s where we all met up. But making it in that scene – that’s a whole different story. Rock and roll really doesn’t do real well in Nashville. There’s not really a house for this kind of music out there — a lot of pop-country, a lot of Americana and folk. That’s why we’re out at Bonnaroo and Gov Ball, doing this sort of thing. But left to our own devices, we’d all be playing in country bands, trying to make it out.” And as you may imagine, life on the road suits them just fine. “I’ll live anywhere,” said Welles. “I’ll die somewhere, but I don’t think I want to live in any particular place.”
To our great satisfaction, the rockers often responded to our questions with some playful, biting sarcasm; perhaps even a hint of obligatory rebelliousness against us — not as individuals, but in our role as ‘the media.’ When asked whether they felt compelled to play rock in order to help keep the genre alive, Welles laid out his plan immediately. “Oh yes,” he said, in a tone of voice we recognized from 90s-era grunge interviews. “We’re pushing this great Trojan horse into the industry.” He paused for effect, then cracked a smile. “No. Not at all. We just make rock and roll music.”
Follow Welles on Facebook, Twitter + Instagram and check out their debut EP, Codeine, below.
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Article: Olivia Isenhart
Photos: Shayne Hanley