After taking about seven months off from performing, The Wet Darlings is ready for its comeback to the Columbus music scene.
“I feel like we need to rebuild that excitement to get people excited in what we do again because as a listener, I move on,” guitarist Bill Patterson said. “We’re not in the same place we were two years ago when we were working on the other stuff. This next record we’re working on is going to sound like a more fully-realized band.”
The Wet Darlings have released a few singles in addition to EPs in 2010 and 2011.
The band formed in 2008 with lead vocalist Jenny Lute, Bill Patterson and his younger brother Joe Patterson, the bassist. Only after going through several different drummers did Aaron Bishara join the band. Having Bishara on drums allowed The Wet Darlings to go forth and realize its musical projects in its entirety.
“It actually really took off once we had Aaron in the band, even though we had shows and stuff,” Bill Patterson said. “That helped solidify who we are and how we sound.”
Working on the upcoming album has enhanced Bishara’s experience with the band, especially since this is the first time he feels like he is part of the songwriting process.
“The first two EPs (were) really me recycling what was already done before and trying to make sense (of it), and I would try to improve it a little just to make it a better experience overall musically. But more or less though, I didn’t have any input in those songs up to that point,” Bishara said. “The songs were just kind of there and I just filled the role.”
Even with the other band members, the upcoming album not only signifies a growth in The Wet Darlings’ music production, but an experimentation for the band members with various new sounds and lyrical styles.
“When we first started, we were pretty rough, and we just got better and better,” Joe Patterson said.
Bill Patterson agreed.
“The first couple of EPs, we were just a live band going in to a studio to record what we do live, making it sound as good as possible,” Bill Patterson said.
Although the band comes together as a group to work on its songs, when it comes down to the initial process of building a chord structure, coming up with a melody and composing lyrics, Bill Patterson plays a huge role in making sure the ideas are arranged together for the other members to see the clear picture.
“Sometimes, I’ll actually demo out all the parts and record them at home and bring it in. Like our recent single, I did it all at home and I brought it in, and we sat on it for eight months because it had synthesizers in it that we’ve never used in our band,” Bill Patterson said. “We normally have a pretty good idea how that song can sound like but everybody brings their own flavor, everybody plays their own instrument better than I can.”
The latest single that The Wet Darlings released, “Used To Be Better,” has been a hit with younger and older folks, Bishara said, simply because of the line, ‘I’m good, but I used to be better.” The band members unanimously agreed the nature of the line is relatable to everyone because people often feel this way, but they never think of expressing it like that.
Members of The Wet Darlings are also reluctant to describe the sound of their music as they don’t try to fit into a specific mold when they’re producing their music. To the band, being associated to a certain sound can be binding for a band that is trying to make its mark in the music scene.
“It’s so uninteresting to say, ‘Oh, we’re going to be the next whatever,’ because it’s not original to be the second coming of something that already exists,” Bill Patterson said. “There’s no preconceived target necessarily. We just want to do stuff that we like that people respond to as well.”
Joe Patterson and Bishara can both recall of times when they’ve received contradicting comments about the band’s sound, with some people saying a certain song sounds country, to friends who have said that “Used To Be Better” reminds them of Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?”
“Somehow, the stuff that we end up using and playing is in collective agreement, so if everyone likes it, then everyone likes it,” Joe Patterson said. “That kind of developed what we sound like too, almost unintentionally. Our first two albums landed anywhere between cutesy sounding stuff to very heavy stuff.”
At the end of the day, The Wet Darlings’ main concern is creating its own definition of a good song.
“A good song, you strip it down to chords and melody and it’s still a good song,” Bill Patterson said. “When you add other elements, then you’re just trying to figure out the best way to present that song, and we play around with that.”
“There’s always multiple solutions,” Joe Patterson said, “It’s just about finding what we like.”