It’s an uphill battle climbing to the top. Being afraid of heights saves lives and success can be found on a downhill journey.
The original line-up of Wetbrain, a Philly bred band, experienced this first hand in June of 2014 when the band went through its first wave; guitarist Andrew Haff, vocalist Matthew DelRio, former bass player Tim W, and former drummer Judah K were a solid year into coming down. They all sent a decent amount of time recovering from drugs and prioritizing what was most important to them: music.
Their initial incentive was to create trip-hop music, but later determined that trip-hop wouldn’t have been best for them; they never performed with each other and they all created music simply because they were passionate about it; they did not squeeze themselves into specific categories. They came together like a collage and because of this, they were able not only create their own sound, nut their own space. There is no box that they fit into. Their tracks are evidence that their artistry is too thick to fit into molds or genres.
In Philly, rap culture is prominent and becomes a signature part of just about each native’s life. Because of this, lead vocalist, Matt Del Rio struggled with establishing his voice in the band. He was initially reluctant to incorporating melodic elements to his music, but knew that rapping on every song would become both flat and monotonous to rap on every track. Once he decided to work outside of his comfort zone and added more synthetic sounds to his vocals, Wetbrain became more than just a rapper with a band. It was an integration of multiple styles. It was multiple styles becoming one style. It was an experience, a new experience.
The original “Wetbrain” only performed two open-mics and recorded three songs together, “Pipe Dreams,” Gunnysack,” and “Jazzy Brue.” Shortly after, Judah K decided that playing guitar was what he was most passionate about and was not very skilled at drumming. He left “Wetbrain,” but he did not leave them out in the cold. Though he has put out a solo EP and performs, he manages to find time to support them.
The band experienced a dry spell in regard to performances. Without a drummer, they weren’t able to play at shows until Haff’s childhood friend, Alex Muller sought them out to profess his interest in their music and in an opportunity to become their next drummer. He learned all of their songs right away and together, they performed around 15 shows that year.
Summer 2015 was both hot and hellish; Wetbrain went through a “revolving door” period.
Fortunately it was more of a hotel door than that of a home; none of the members who left, parted in a fashion that suggested that they were “running away” or sick of being there; for one reason or another their time with Wetbrain had expired and it was time for them to “check out.” Bassist, Coco Simone replaced Tim who could not stay with them for musical reasons, and Alex Muller left due to scheduling and personal conflicts.
Regardless of how much the remaining members fought to maintain the band, 2016 swung in like a punching bag, and briefly it seemed that they were throwing exhausting energy. They had reached a plateau, a new high, a new low. Luckily, they’ve already learned to appreciate the gravity of coming down; their band mates leaving weighed down heavy on them, but at least it kept them grounded.
In need of a rhythm section, Andrew contacted Brandon King, a longtime friend of his and locally acclaimed drummer. They linked up over the “Blizzard of 2016” and connected through jamming and song writing. In February, Andrew got in touch with French bassist, Matt Antoina who moved ten minutes away from their rehearsal location and was enticed by the group’s music. As of Spring 2016, the group (Haff, del rio, King, Antoina) developed a unique bond and has been performing shows. They are currently preparing to play at Ortlieb’s, Isle of Wild in Wildwood, NJ and Caravan Music Festival in Belgrade, ME. They have also released a new single “She Bad.”
Wetbrain’s lyrical content continues to change and mature along with the group members. For example, pushed himself out of the confinements of his past experiences. Recovering from an active addiction, drugs and alcohol was an important part of his life and all he wrote about. In attempt to move-on, he dedicated his time to writing about other topics that constituted as part of his living experience. This along with the development of the new line-up only proves that Wetbrain is more than a group and is more than music.
They are triumph. They’re experiences with rehabilitation in regard to both drugs and band members shows that it is possible to come down and find stability on the ground, to use rock bottom as the platform needed to stand for something.
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