The daring sound of psychedelic, melodic rock in the modern era is enough to catch our attention, especially when it’s a local band who has climbed the ladder to success through rolling with the changes and sticking to their vision.
The popular uprising of Wild Wild Wets has fans looking for new music and wondering what the band’s mystical noise will morph into next. DiscoverSD recently sat down with Taejon Romanik and Mike Turi of Wild Wild Wets at Poor House Brewing to talk about their new album, their ever-changing lineup and finding success in San Diego.
DSD: How did you two, the founding members of Wild Wild Wets, meet?
Mike: Well, I’m from Jersey originally, and he’s from Baltimore. We both basically moved out to San Diego on a whim randomly without ever visiting here. I never met him [Taejon] until the old drummer, Marco, was playing in a band with him. Marco became the drummer when I wanted to start Wild Wild Wets. Taejon was playing bass for us for awhile, but would play heavy guitar on albums. I remember they first showed up to my house to try out for the band, and he was so gnarly.
Taejon: They were like okay that was really good man, but like too good. You need to chill out.
Mike: We were like “I thought this dude was going to bring a bass...” so we’re just like, okay whatever and got into it, but we needed a bass player. Taejon and I have taken it to the next level and have always seen the bigger picture of the band.
DSD: How did you guys find success in San Diego?
Mike: I mean, it’s been so nice. I played here for a while... being in a band that people actually like is a lot different. You feel that warmth. People supported me and wanted me to do well, even if the bands weren’t great yet. To play in a band where something works is great and people show you how much like they you. All the avenues we have had to take have led us to where we are. It’s helped. Everyone has been so amazing.
Taejon: It keeps us fresh and interesting, too. Everyone brings something new to the table and it keeps us on our toes.
DSD: What have you been working on since your 2015 album?
Taejon: We have been working on a new album. We just finally finished mixing and mastering it. We are using the same guys who mixed and mastered our last album.
Mike: Yeah, going off what he said, we realized that [the songs] laced well together. We recorded at this place called the Handbag Factory, the studio inside is called Seahorse Sounds. It’s huge.
Taejon: There used to be like eight people living in it, above the studios. It’s called the Handbag Factory because it literally used to be a handbag factory back in the day. You can see where the conveyer belt used to be and everything.
Mike: Yep, it’s a great place. We recorded two of the tracks on the last album there and then went there to mix and master everything together. The Growlers did their last album there. Deep Alley too. We were one of the first out of the people we know. We went there having half an idea and then found a vibraphone that someone left there and ended up using it on like three songs.
DSD: Who helped you produce your album?
Mike: My bud Chris Kasych (Creeko) helped us out. He is super busy and is working on projects with like Major Lazer, Kanye West and big artists, which he’s like the third engineer on. When he works with us, he’s our main guy. He moved out to L.A. and he used to just have a home studio, and now he has this amazing studio. He does it all day every day and even if he wasn’t working, he’d be doing that.
Taejon: Which has its good and bad; it’s kind of like when you have your friend help fix your car, but because it’s your friend you have to do it on his time. Mike and I started this second album almost two years ago, and in 4 days we finished 80-percent of the whole album. Two years later, we are finally mixing and mastering. Creeko is awesome though, and he doesn’t try to overproduce us or anything. If anything, Mike and I have so many crazy ideas that he indulges us and lets us run with it. He knows the nuts and bolts of how to execute our ideas.
DSD: What’s the sound of the new album like?
Mike: Because the album was recorded in one place this time, and it was meant to be a full album, it’s definitely more consistent. It’s darker but more fun, too. There’s fun beats, it’s big band and loud. It should be done by the end of August.
Taejon: It’s more evolved, more hypnotic. Darker, heavier and just more us. There’s also a Latin flare, like some people have compared it to old, old Santana which we take as a compliment.
About the brew
We had some brews at Poor House Brewing Company in North Park. The neighborhood bar offers good beer, free pizza on Thursdays, free pool on Wednesdays and a small, pub-like scene to enjoy it in.
4494 30th St., North Park. pourhousebrew.com
DSD: What’s it called?
Mike: Prisom. It’s like a prison of your third eye.
Taejon: A psychedelic prison, mate.
Mike: It came to me, and it really makes sense for this record specifically. It really captures the vibe of us now.
Taejon: Yeah, it’s almost like “14th Floor” was the prequel. This album is like us live, very much organic.
DSD: What’s your favorite venue in San Diego to play at?
Taejon: Casbah is the best, real roots, rock-n-roll.
Mike: We put on our San Diego Freak Out events there. They are so supportive of us and helpful to the scene here.
Taejon: There’s history there, you know. Nirvana, White Stripes when they were nothing.
DSD: What are the San Diego Freak Out events all about?
Mike: We usually get some local bands and out-of-town bands and mix them up. We have had the pleasure of headlining the last few, just because we started this thing. Ideally, it would be a festival. Right now, they’ve been successful at The Casbah. We have like seven bands going on during a normal 8 p.m to 2 a.m. night. It gets really crazy with so many bands, but it’s fun and exposes the scene.
August 13: Layfette Hotel
August 20: Roog Festival in Vista
Mike Turi: vocals/synth
Taejon Romanik: guitar
Beto Alvarez: bass (Editor’s note: Alvarez is an employee of DSD’s parent company The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Jason Crane: congas/trumpet
Chris Carroll: drums
John Kelley: projectionist