If the last “Boaty Weekender” band we profiled seemed a bit on the serious side, this next band may be the antithesis. What better way to lighten the mood as the cruise lies less than two weeks away than to chat with a member of Glasgow’s up-and-coming party band, Wet Look. They’re the other Scotland-based group who won The Battle For Boaty to join the bill on Belle and Sebastian’s floating Bowlie Weekender. With a self-described “weirdo pop sound,” you can bet the quartet will be there to shake up the twee mood of the cruise.
Apsi Witana plays drums and an array of percussion instruments; Flore de Hogg bass and keyboards; Lyndsay McCartney keyboards, guitar, vocals, saxophone and percussion; and Michael McGaughrin guitar and keyboards. They all sing with McGaughrin lostly leading the way and the ladies providing layered voices on the choruses. There’s a sort of deadpan monotone delivery to their vocals, though the natural harmonizing of the women’s chorus offers a pretty touch.
Wet Look’s soundcloud features only one song, “Map of the World,” a punky little number that opens with a simple, yet smooth sax part by McCartney before shifting to McGaughrin’s direct, sneering vocals, as he strums out a breezy guitar lick. The chorus features a pile-up of musical elements that deliver throughout, from the multi-tracked chorus by the ladies to what sounds like a recorder. A surf via the internet reveals the band has more music that might fit well on the “Boaty.” In a video session shot for “The Artsy Vice Show,” they played two other songs in their repertoire. “Put it Back” has a sort of island vibe that for sure will work good on a cruise, and you know this band isn’t taking themselves seriously with a song titled “Panty Diamante,” which is driven by a wall of various squeaking synths.
Though they’ve only been performing for about a year, McCartney says the history of the band dates back 12 years, when she met McGaughrin in their hometown of Glasgow. During a stint in London she met Witana. “When I moved home I essentially convinced her to come back with me,” she admits. Then came a fateful question, in late 2016 from McGaughrin. “We were at a pal’s birthday party; in the early hours of the morning Michael asked me if I played any instruments and join his new band. I said yes and then asked if I knew anyone else who would want to play and sing. I suggested Apsi … it took a while to get our arses in gear. Michael then got our beloved Flore on board early 2018 to complete us.”
Like the other bands that won Battle For Boaty, who include Wojtek the Bear (Wojtek the Bear’s singer and guitarist on lyrics and performing on ‘The Boaty Weekender’) and Campfire Social (Campfire Social’s harmony-driven indie pop wins over ‘Boaty Weekender’ cruisers), they have two hour-long sets to play on the cruise. McCartney assures they have enough material to fill the sets. “Oh, yes, plenty of songs, just don’t want to give it away all at once!” she declares.
They have no physical releases yet, but the unsigned band hopes to have news of some form of a release soon — maybe even a slab of wax. “I think we would all prefer to release something we could hold in our hands, for sure!” she notes.
The singer and multi-instrumentalist took on our Q&A of what it felt like to win the contest that pitted them against nine other bands vying for a slot on “The Boaty Weekender.” Here’s the excitement and existential dread that followed in all its Wet Look humor and energy edited only for clarity:
Hans Morgenstern: How did you celebrate when you learned you were booked for the Boaty?
Lyndsay McCartney: We were obviously delighted! A lot of screaming and OMG OMG OMGs.
So what is it like to have your music among such a great set of bands?
Obviously great — I have listened to Belle and Sebastian, Camera Obscura, Mogwai and Teenage Fanclub since I was a teenager growing up outside of Glasgow, so to be on the same bill is mental. It probably won’t sink in until we get there.
Do you have any special plans for the shows?
Aaaah don’t want to give anything away Hans 😉 Come see us on the Boaty and you’ll see!
Is anyone in your band worried about sea sickness?
I get really bad motion sickness … when I was on a ferry earlier this year I was really ill, but I have been reassured by multiple people that cruise ships are just like big hotels and you hardly feel like you are at sea. That and the inevitable 40 degrees its going to be on the Mediterranean in August doesn’t really bode well for all us Scottish folk on board.
Have you ever performed on a moving cruise ship? Do you have any concerns about it?
Haha, no, never on a cruise ship … weirdest gig we have done so far was in an old people’s home that changed into a venue at night. No venues with machinery until Boaty.
Have you checked out the venues hosting your shows?
Yes, they look fun and weird! Especially the Friday night 1 a.m. party night set. We will need to stay sober for that one.
What might be some challenges with being booked where and when you are booked, as far as attracting an audience?
Our main worry was competing with the karaoke on Friday night, as that is where we thought we would all be…
What events or excursions might your group (or any particular band member) be attending or exploring and why?
Obviously looking forward to exploring Cagliari on Saturday, Bellyflop competition is a must! And I hope the pub quiz is still on because our team name is going to be ‘Bellend Sebastian’ 😉
You can find Wet Look performing during “The Boaty Weekender” at Magnum’s Champagne & Wine Bar, in the middle of Deck 6 on Friday, Aug. 9 from 1 a.m. – 2 a.m. and then Sunday, Aug. 11, from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. in the Atrium. Below you will find a video of that latter the venue.
If you are thinking of booking a cabin, there is still space available. Here is a link to some discounted prices. If you use my Sixthman ID (hans_m) as a referral when you book your cabin, you will get $100 on-board credit (you can learn more about the referral program by jumping through this link).