Having previously received praise from the likes of Gold Flake Paint and BBC Radio 1’s Gemma Bradley, Portsmouth-based artist WYSE has now announced the release of her sophomore EP this summer. Taken from the EP, gritty latest single ‘Run Away‘ oozes a raw, impassioned splendour with a catchy, pop-punk energy.
We caught up with WYSE to talk about what inspires her, her local music scene, the industry today and more… Have a read!
Hi WYSE, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Thank you for having me! I’m a Portsmouth based artist, producer and songwriter. I love contrast, exploring the space between pop and progressive music, the unexpected, and long walks on the beach…!
How did you initially start creating music?
I had violin lessons when I was eight and got “fired” from my lessons because I didn’t practice my scales or stick to written music. I then taught myself the drums at home on some pots and pans… And, after a lot of insistence that lessons would DEFINITELY go differently with guitar, my parents gave in and let me have guitar lessons at the age of ten. My teacher Jonathan really encouraged me to write and create, realising very quickly that my eyes would glaze over as soon as notated music appeared.
Your fantastic single ‘Run Away’ is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about?
I’ve always found that resentment is seen as this really “ugly” emotion. When I was turned down by somebody I was dating, I felt ashamed for feeling resentful about it. I wanted to stuff that feeling in a box before anyone could see it and pretend it didn’t exist. In ‘Run Away’, I am caught between trying to quite literally “run away” from myself – my sexuality, and my insecurities over being rejected, and my need to let it all out.
You’ve been compared to the likes of Wolf Alice and Anna Calvi, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
I was quite sheltered from popular culture growing up (my family mostly listened to Christian-related music and hymns), so most of my early inspirations probably came from being exposed at school to the noughties pop-punk artists such as Avril Lavigne, Green Day, Paramore and, later, bands like Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Radiohead and AWOLNATION. I found it quite embarrassing at times, the number of seriously iconic artists I had never heard of or listened to. People would always find that funny, especially since I am a musician. So, I had a lot of fun finding iconic artists out for myself over the last few years, and their influence has started seeping into my music – including Anna Calvi, Janelle Monae, David Bowie, Portishead and Queen.
How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
I’ve really enjoyed being so close to The Wedgewood Rooms and other venues recently. Now we are able to go to gigs again, I am going to more than I ever did before the pandemic started! The music scene in Portsmouth has grown unrecognisably since I started out playing in the area in mid 2010s. I moved away for a few years and returned last year, and there seems to be a much greater variety of bands, venues, events, festivals and promoters than ever.
And what can fans expect from your live shows?
I really want my performances to feel like a journey for the audience, and for them to have the best possible time. I want my songs to evoke a whole range of emotions for them – from energetic to melancholic; nostalgic, thoughtful, excited… I want there to be unexpected moments throughout the set.
As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
To name a few off the top of my head: Hunting Hearts, Lauran Hibberd, Rose’s Diary, BERRIES, South Coast Ghosts, Deva St. John, Split The Dealer, Ivy Eye, Little Victories…
And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
Very – I think it’s been this way for a long time. It’s been said a lot, but as an artist you have to be multi-skilled. We cannot rely on just having a natural musical talent because that will get an artist absolutely nowhere, except by some freak chance for a few. At times this can be very frustrating and demotivating. In other ways it can be a good challenge to learn new skills and become more well-rounded as a creative.
Finally, what does the rest of 2022 have in store for WYSE?
I’m releasing a lot more music this year, including an EP. There will be focus tracks in June and July and the next five-track EP shortly after. I’ve already nearly finished writing the EP that will follow in 2023, so it’s back to the studio in June to start tracking! I’ve also got more exciting shows and festivals coming up – including being part of Icebreaker Festival on 9th July. I’m also developing my solo set and a ‘noisy duo’ set where the gig vibe warrants it.
Massive thanks to WYSE for answering our questions!
Listen to ‘Run Away’, the latest single from WYSE, here:
Allusions, the upcoming new EP from WYSE, is set for release on 29th July.