Continuing the fine tradition of married couples making music together, Wy are the Malmö-based duo of Ebba and Michel Gustafsson Ågren. The band caught the ear of many with both their 2017 debut Okay and the 2019 follow-up Softie, the release of which saw Wy tour across Europe. Freshly signed to the ever-wonderful Rama Lama Records, last month Wy released their latest album, Marriage.
As you might guess from the title, Marriage is a record that begins with a wedding. Although Ebba and Michel have been together since their school days, it was only a couple of years ago that they tied the knot, and the songs on Marriage were written after that event. Ebba and Michel have described Marriage as, “a scrapbook from the first two years of that marriage”, yet it has more depth than that might suggest. On previous albums, principal lyricist Ebba wrote largely from her own perspective, while here she puts her relationship at the heart of the record. The result is a reflection on shared experiences and the first attempt Wy have made to put out a collective message into the world. If this is all sounding a little saccharine, you needn’t worry, because Wy’s picture of domestic bliss is not one that simply focuses on the good stuff, instead, it seeks to explore all aspects of marriage. Here much of their focus is on the internal conflicts that come with being, “in a long-term, safe relationship, where you’re really sure about each other, but you’re not sure about yourself”. Musically, it marks something of a departure for the band, the album was recorded almost entirely at home, produced in deliberate isolation, the band barely sharing the songs with anyone else until the album was as they wanted it. In some ways that insular approach results in a record that seems to step back from the polished sound of Softie, and towards a rawer, more honest version of Wy. Throughout Marriage, there is a directness to their sound, a straight-talking take on indie and dream-pop, from the brilliantly angular That Picture Of Me with its deliciously fuzzy guitar line to the 80’s-influence sad dance-floor banger, Dream House. They say getting married is the happiest day of your life, Wy seem to understand that it is only the first day of a new chapter, with all the highs, lows and the beautifully understated in-betweens that are just waiting around the corner.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are Wy?
We’re Ebba and Michel, a married couple who met when we were 13. Wy is our first serious musical project, but we have always been playing together since our teens. In Wy we’re focusing on emotive writing and memorable hooks. It’s important for us that we make whatever feels the most natural and exciting at the moment, and for that reason we don’t really put ourselves in a genre.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
Michel: We got a support slot for a bigger Swedish act like a week after getting signed so I was just focusing on playing the songs we had in the right way.
Ebba: I remember being so nervous to touch or move the microphone that I ended up standing almost completely still through the whole set.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
Ebba: I have always been creative and make a lot of visual art as well, but singing is where I feel the most safe. I feel very at home with my own voice. It never feels like I’m forcing it or as if I’m trying to mimic anything else when I sing, it always feels true and genuine, which is not always the case with my visual art.
Michel: I’m just not that good at other things that are considered art. At this point I’m also too lazy to invest that kind of time into something else, I mean I’ve been playing music for almost 17 years now.
FTR: What can people expect from the Wy live show?
Maybe a little more energy than they would expect. We love to play live and always give it our all. We also like to get a little theatrical. We’re very nitpicky about our sound live so you’d hopefully like how it sounds!
FTR: What’s next for Wy?”
Right now we’re working on a set of new songs that we are set on releasing pretty soon. We definitely don’t want to wait as long as we did between Softie and Marriage. Oh and we are also having a baby which is very cool.
They Listen To…
Smiling – Seeds
Pinegrove – The Alarmist
Dehd – Loner
Colter Wall – The Devil Wears A Suit And Tie
Ben Howard – I Forget Where We Were