Most people are a big fan of free candy (see: Halloween). I, personally, don’t have much of a sweet tooth. However, I find, Free Candy, the third LP from Edmonton’s The Wet Secrets to be quite appetizing. The album blends garage psychedelics with the most organic kind of soul for a sonic aesthetic that is yet to find a proper moniker. The album dropped this February and is their first since 2007’s Rock Fantasy. The band formed nearly a decade ago when drummer/vocalist Trevor Anderson, bassist/lead vocalist Lyle Bell, and trumpeter/vocalist Kim Rackel took on a dare to form a band just one week before the release and live performance of their first effort, 2005’s A Whale of a Cow. Their follow-up came out not long after, but then the band was put largely on the back-burner, performing very sporadically, as they concentrated on other projects. In that time Emma Frazier and Paul Arnusch also joined the fold and their resulting third album is by far their most accomplished (and, I dare say, best). I recently got a chance to chat with Trevor Anderson about this new, all-growed-up model of The Wet Secrets.
Izzy Cihak: You recently released Free Candy, your first album in a while. What do you consider to be the biggest difference between the band that put out Rock Fantasy and The Wet Secrets in 2014?
Trevor Anderson: The band that put out Rock Fantasy was flying drunk, blindfolded, with that little monster from The Twilight Zone chewing on the wings of the plane. It was fun! The songs were about hedonism, and the recording sessions (or “parties” as they’re called in the dictionary) reflected that. The band that put out Free Candy is a little older, a lot more organized, and we’ve made a calculated plan to hijack the KISS plane and fly it around the world.
Izzy: What was it that inspired you to start recording again for the first time in quite a few years?
Trevor: We were playing one or two shows a year in-between our other various artistic projects, and we played this one super fun show in Calgary for Beatroute Magazine‘s anniversary. They put us on the cover for no discernable reason, and we thought, “Hey, this is fun, remember? What if we actually, you know, tried harder?” We had some songs laying around from an aborted recording attempt in our home studio, so we took those songs, wrote some more, and went into a professional recording studio, the Audio Department here in Edmonton (where The Emeralds recorded “The Bird Dance”, known in the U.S. as “The Chicken Dance”.)
Izzy: How do you feel your latest LP compares to previous efforts? Was the writing and recording process notably different? Were the album’s influences significantly different?
Trevor: We’re really proud of the new record. We had some heavy personal stuff happen to us since the last record, and these songs have a bit more gravitas as a result… dark thoughts contained in sunny pop melodies; art doing its job helping us get through the day, you know? Influences include The Stranglers, Os Mutantes, Weird War, ABBA.
Izzy: At this very moment, what’s your favorite track off of the album? I actually think opener, “Maybe We’ll Make a Plan,” is my favorite. It rings of the perfect combination of the beautiful sleaze of garage psych rock, Americana soul, and the brilliant pomp of a Britpop ballad… Although I may be way off…
Trevor: Thanks! “Maybe We’ll Make a Plan” is my favourite track, too. Double suicide as a metaphor for finishing an album. It was the first hook we found when we sat down to start writing the new album, and it was the last song we finished. Lyle’s favourite is “I Don’t Think So,” a quick little jab at growing old disgracefully.
Izzy: Any chance of a full-scale tour later this year? If so, what can be expected of the live experience?
Trevor: We love playing live and we want to do it as much as possible. We always wear our band uniforms, blood red ‘70s-style band uniforms nabbed from the marching band I played in when I was a pubescent little gay boy marching around with an alto saxophone on the Canadian Prairies. Needless to say, the outfits look better on Kim and Emma as they dance and sing while playing their horns, or on Paul when he abandons his keyboards and goes into his conga trance.
Izzy: In general, what are The Wet Secrets most excited for in 2014?
Trevor: We just found out we’ve been invited to play The Great Escape in Brighton! We’ll be hopping the pond for that in May, and surrounding it with a little UK mini-tour. And we’re really eager to start recording the next album later this year.