Welles is the Nashville-by-way-of-Arkansas-based project of 23-yr-old singer, and multi-talented musician, Jesse Wells.
Following the critically acclaimed debut ‘Codeine EP’, which received support from Nylon, Consequence of Sound and Paste in the US, to name a few, today Welles announce debut album “Red Trees and White Trashes”, out June 15th on 300.
The first taste of which is lead single ‘Seventeen’.
Produced by Grammy award winning producer Dave Cobb, the single is equal parts classic pop writing, sweaty rock riffs, psychedelia and world weary, storytelling singer-songwriter and encapsulates the energy and vast range of influences found throughout this truly impressive debut album.
The first thing you notice as a listener is Jesse’s voice. At once totally unique and jarringly emotive, it demonstrates that Jesse understands that the best singers wield their instrument with stealth.
Being able to unleash as much emotion from a quiet murmur as a wild howl is intrinsic to Welles’ output.
The bulk of “Red Trees and White Trashes”, was written whilst Jesse was living in a communal art compound in the college town of Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Friends of varying artistic disciplines all shared an apartment building they dubbed “Space Mountain.” “Some of us worked on bicycles, some of us were doing painting and art,” he explains. “It was our own little Andy Warhol experiment. It was crazy.”
With the album complete, Welles now wants to play as many shows as possible. Having already supported Royal Blood across the US, they now bring their incredible live show to the UK, supporting Highly Suspect.
Your album “Red Trees and White Trashes” will be released this year in June, can you share with us the most difficult moment of its preparation? And the craziest one?
It was difficult just living through the times it took to write the thing.
I was broke and wasn’t even sure i was writing a record.
I was just recording tunes on spacemountain as they came to me. Me and my friends had a lotta fun out there but we were broke as shit.
Jus tryin to ignore and distract ourselves from from the banal and mundane. Jus running with an egg in a spoon and trying not to drop it.
Crazy – mad, especially as manifested in wild or aggressive behaviour.
….the process in actually piecing the album together was tedious, going through tunes and sorting out which lines ‘worked’ best and rewriting choruses and verses to be sure it was jus what i meant to convey.
How do you usually write the lyrics of your songs?
I keep a notebook on me and fill it with stanzas.
When I find a melody I like I’ll dig back into the notebook and pick a poem that fits. The content is my life.
What is the best verse you ever wrote?
The most wonderful verse
Ever i wrote
Hasn’t been written
And probably won’t.
What was the soundtrack to your childhood?
We had an oldies station that played british invasion and motown.
So hermans hermits and gladus knight…and everything in between. But not much outside of that.
Grandpa would make cassette tapes out of his beatles and zeppelin records for me.
What has your journey in the music industry been like up to now?
It’s been real. I’ve met lots of people, forgotten most of their names, and tried to keep them all happy.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to surround myself with like minded folks.
Self made folks that don’t give a damn what anyone thinks.
They jus work and make shit happen.
What inspired “Seventeen” the first song released from the album?
Couple stories there.
One of a friend of mine whom unbeknownst to me was indeed transgender. The notion of gender fluidity blew my mind and intrigued me. T
he other was realizing i wasn’t gonna be a kid forever. I think i’m jus tryin to say that i see what’s going on here; let’s do somethin wholesome.
Going back to your debut EP “Codeine” do you remember the day you wrote “life like mine”?
Yea i didn’t write that until i got to nashville. I was quite depressed as I’d left all my pals back home.
I was cataloging memories, because i realized i might forget them or at least they may lose their luster as time passed.
I sat out on the porch with a journal in september at night and blew through the verses.
The next day i began to make the tune with a guitar.
It needed a chorus and i reckoned that statement fit the verses well.
Are you ever scared of revealing, aspects of your personal experience, to strangers through your music?
Yep. but i do it anyway. Maybe some of us can share in that vulnerability, and that would be worth blushing now and then.
Strangers aren’t so strange if they’ve felt the feelings you’ve felt.
What inspired “into ashes”?
Pain and guilt. I don’t remember the specific instance, but it seems to be a theme for me.
What is the best show you ever played?
I was walking home from school at the university of arkansas once and came upon a sort of variety show going on outside kempal hall in the old amphitheater.
Whoever was in charge let me play a few tunes for the folks sitting there, and they were all strangers save for maybe an acquaintance here or there.
After that I went to waffle house all lonely.
That’s what it’s like to perform sometimes; that melancholy after doing ‘well’ and having nothin much to show for it is spectacular.
Tell us more about the upcoming tour….
We’re heading to glasgow tomorrow and then we’ll drive/ferrie to paris. That’ll begin the european leg with highly suspect.
We’re taking it day by day, playing a lot of dice, and laughing a lot. I’ve never been to any of these places, so it’s pretty damn wild.
Churches and castle ruins and a look at the old country really peaks my interest.
I’m lookin forward to seeing berlin.