Following the re-release of their 2009 full-length debut earlier this month, Let’s Wrestle are gearing up for another chapter in their musical legacy, having just completed work on their sophomore album alongside veteran producer Steve Albini, and embarking on another cycle of gigs and live appearances over the next couple months. However, with their recent union with record label Full Time Hobby, still relatively new, it’s safe to say that while you may recognize the London three-piece as guitar-pop lobbyists, their engaging brand of rock and/or roll has seen some transitions as their musical skills evolve. The 405 caught up with guitarist and vocalist Wesley Patrick Gonzalez, and asked him about the upcoming album, the UK hardcore scene and why musicians need to be angry. Why do you think your brand of indie is immune to being labelled as overtly trendy? I don’t know why it comes out like that. I think we just started out as three suburban losers who didn’t really know how to play, so it just came out as a natural thing. And also, some of our favourite bands at the time were Swell Maps and Television Personalities, and late 70s and early 80s indie pop from England – a lot of bands like that. But we like other stuff, too. The American hardcore scene is a big deal to us. Our record collection has evolved, but our musical capabilities are very low. So I think that’s the reason it’s come out like that. Do you find that there’s a UK hardcore scene that’s as prevalent as the North American hardcore scene? Well, not really. There’s bands I don’t know too much about – nobody really now, but there’s [certain bands] in the early 80s in England, but it’s a bit too politically involved for me. I like to read up on politics, but I’m not one to shout about it. So we had that, but it’s Dischord or SST stuff – that’s the stuff that really gets me going. Well in the UK, there seems to be that return to “indie rock”. It seems we’re getting really bored with music that’s experimental for the sake of being experimental. Yeah. As much as I enjoy indie rock and everything like that, I do wish there was a wider range of it. It seems at the moment all my favourite bands aren’t doing too much that’s too different from stuff that happened 20 years ago. I love all that music, it’s what I’ve been raised on, it’s the lifeblood of my band – but I’m also into electronic and hip-hop. But it seems to be very closed off, the indie rock scene. It seems to be a very narrow-minded thing. Everybody seems to be just into the Shangri-Las and likes to wear cardigans. And I do both of those – I’m a hypocrite – but I do get very tired of it at times. I’m just looking for a good pop song, wherever it’s coming from, a good pop song’s always good in my books. I know what you mean. Because that’s the thing – most indie records aren’t independent in any way. There’s no DIY soul to it or anything like that, which I have a problem with. I think it’s soulless and it’s horrible, and I can’t handle it. I actually prefer all the pop/R&B stuff – one of my favourite songs of all time is ‘More Than A Woman’ by Aaliyah, and there’s a lot of stuff like that. . . . I’m heavily influenced by anything that’s pop. I’m a big fan of ELO and Thin Lizzie and . . . even soft rock [of the 1970s]. As long as it has a good chorus, I’m fine with that. [In regards to your music], you’ve got the catchy pop qualities, but it doesn’t sound too polished. Is that something you’re going to continue to embrace? Yeah, I wouldn’t want it to sound too polished. Our second album that’s coming out in the spring, that’s going to be more polished – we’ve got Steve Albini to produce it, and he’s one of my favourite producers. It sounds better, but it’s still got the whole punk ethic to it. . . . And as long as it has something weird about it. You don’t want something middle-of-the-road, bullshit, perfectly-produced pop record – and that’s what I love about R&B and pop music. On your Twitter, it says you want to “rock our world”, which is such a simple concept, but it’s kind of been lost. Do you feel like bands have lost the intention of “rocking everyone’s world”? I think the problem is that people are rocking for money. There’s the two things: they’re either rocking for money, or you’re either too twee or indie to admit that you want to rock out. And I’m more of the latter, but I love records by Blue Cheer and Black Sabbath, and they really fucking rock. If I go to a show, I want to see someone that will kick you in the balls with sound, you know? And it’s a fantastic thing to see when somebody really gives it to you. But there is sort of a shameful thing to it – it’s lost its power, rocking out, because it seems to be shameful for the Pitchfork readers. Why do you think audiences have become so cavalier? I think it’s just the curse of the big city. Growing up and going to shows in London . . . there’s so much music that I find I can miss a good band because I’ve seen so many bad ones, [and] that I can just not get excited about going out. And I think the reason everyone’s so nonchalant is because they’ve listened to too many [bad] records. . . . We’re living in the wake of the Williamsburg scene from a couple years ago, which has destroyed any sort of [need to] get angry about anything. As John Lydon said, “anger is an energy” – and he’s a prick, but he had a point. If you’re in band, you need to be pissed off about something, otherwise you’re going to be in a shit band just wasting your time. Even if it’s petty things – like all the people I hang out with who’re in good bands, they seem to be annoyed quite easily. They’re not happy people. I’m certainly not a happy person, but I’m glad that I’m not a happy person because I’m getting angry about stuff. Frustration is a fantastic thing to have when you’re in a band, because you have an outlet for it and manage to put your frustrations on other people, and they’ll realize why they have frustrations, too. But the lack of that now is quite saddening.
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