WASI // INTERVIEW

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WASI

Electro dance pop rock with a splash of punk might be a mouthful, but it's necessary when describing west coast based duo WASI. Comprised of Merilou Salazar and Jessie Meehan, with rotating touring musicians, this pair have just released a brand new single titled "Stranger California," are getting ready to release an EP, and are gearing up to kick off a Spring tour with alternative indie artist Caroline Rose-- it's safe to say that they're on a roll!

Q: "Stranger California" just dropped, and it definitely has that summertime anthem kind of vibe to it. What songs would be on your summer anthem playlist? 

A: Our summer anthem playlist includes:

Q: What can we expect from your upcoming EP compared to your previous releases?

A: As artists we're constantly rebranding and understanding ourselves in different lights. These songs specifically reflect our experiences in following the artist lifestyle and how we are constantly growing as individuals and as a team.

This kind of growth includes the positives such as freedom of thought, being around an awesome community and having the opportunity to constantly improve and expand on what we love to do. The negatives include the moments when a lack of self-confidence can beat you down, the loneliness and the growing pain of trying to find yourself in the insane world of it all.

Q: What's the first song that you created together, and how has the writing process changed from then to now? 

A: The first song we ever wrote together was about our school cafeteria. We weren't even writing about food but the way teenagers rub up on eachother while getting lunch. LMAO. We wrote just from our experiences of being alive. We would just play a few power chords and throw some repetitive/catchy/angsty lyrics on top. I think you can hear a lot of that now in our songwriting today, but a goal we've made as artists is to constantly dig deeper into ourselves every time we sit down to write and create something new. 

When you're barely picking up a guitar and writing music, you're just writing. Screaming, yelling, singing whatever you feel. There's no right or wrong, it's just about what feels right. That feeling I think is something we constantly have to remind ourselves to go back to in today's writing process as we can get so lost in overproduction and critiques.  We spent a lot of 2017 collaborating with a bunch of different songwriters too for other projects, so bringing in that influence and what we've learned into WASI songs was also a fun and interesting twist. At the end of the day, its about whats authentic and sounds good. It all ends up being an mp3.

Q: You have song lyrics that are rooted in activism -- what has the over all response been to those tracks, specifically "Pussy Grabs Back"? 

A: We love when a title like "Pussy Grabs Back" catches peoples eyes - i think we garnered that mentality from our punk roots. We wrote "Pussy Grabs Back" right after the 2016 election. While the title is a response to Frump's comment, the lyrics of the song are inspired by the energy after the election. There was one moment particularly while we were in Portland, OR  in the basement of a homeless queer youth center when we heard there were neo nazis rallying outside.

As scary as that was, especially for this queer youth that had to go back up there to sleep on the streets, It was really inspiring to see these kids open up and be vulnerable with us while we played our set. For those 30 minutes, we all were together finding some hope in this crazy world. Those moments are our core as a band, and the lyrics of "Pussy Grabs Back" speak about the moments of hope and unity in the midst of all the political and social madness. Sometimes internet trolls or whoever will try to beat us down for what we write about - but remembering those moments in Portland, OR reminds us that we're doing something right, and those trolls need to stop being haters.

Q: What was the first activist event that you participated in, and do you have any advice or tips that you'd like to share with people who are interested in participating in a rally, march, or protest for the first time, but are feeling nervous? 

A: The first rally we were a part of was California Proposition 8 in 2008. We are from North OC (Buena Park) and at the time we weren't around much grassroot activism. Being queer and seeing so many of our neighbors put up "Yes on 8" signs was really disheartening. So I rounded up some friends (including Jessie) and threw together a cheesy Youtube video to invite people to come out with us and rally. We just expected a couple dozen of our friends to come out but it turned into about 200 - 250 people rallying. After a few hours, we took our "No on 8" march down Beach Blvd around Knott's Berry Farm. Seeing this rally get so big, real and important come to life in our community when it felt like no one else talked about it was really empowering. 

Come election day, no on 8 lost. The anger was real - and I was part of several protests in Long Beach and LA that definitely had some acquaintances/friends getting tear gassed or arrested. I think that anger stemmed from feeling so helpless in it all - but the goal for us became to take that anger and turn it into something positive. For me, that was music and performing - making sure my voice was heard in other ways. Voices coming together makes change happen - it may not be overnight, but it'll happen.

Here's a tip we'd give from what we've learned: You're not alone. If something feels important to you, let it out because you don't know who else it may touch.  Being part of a protest you believe in is so freeing even when it feels like you're just screaming, you're still part of a moment of your voice being heard.  These protests become memories you'll have for the rest of your life, knowing you were part of something bigger than yourself. We've been with many friends for their first time protesting, and you can see them go from nervous to liberated just while marching and chanting. So let it out. 

 

You can listen to WASI on Spotify, "like" them on Facebook, and follow them on Instagram