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Meet WENDY: The Teen Band Taking the Rock World Head-On

today10/25/2023

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The rock band WENDY consists of four members, all of them men, with an average age of 19. Ranging from age 18 to 20, the teen band overflows with youth and vitality.

Last year, they performed at SUMMER SONIC 2022, following up this year with a performance at METROCK 2023. They also performed a solo show at Shibuya CLUB QUATTRO in August of this year. Their shows are attended by listeners of all ages who keenly seek out new music, and they have a growing throng of fans who love the passion they pour into their live shows.

WENDY is establishing a big presence in the live scene, and everyone who hears them says the same thing: “I can’t believe they’re in their teens.” If you listen to their music, which is highly influenced by 1970s and 1980s roots music and hard rock, you’ll hear a fierceness and edge seldom found among Japanese artists, or even bands in other countries. Their melodies and lyrics are peppered with the essence of what it is to be a teenager, so they fit right into the 2020s. The band pairs its own unique originality with a sense of universality.

WENDY is made up of vocalist and guitarist Skye McKenzie, guitarist Paul, bassist Johnny Vincent, and drummer Sena. It was formed in Setagaya, Tokyo, in October 2020. Skye’s parents are British and Japanese, and Paul’s are Russian and Japanese. Skye is a native English speaker, so all of their song lyrics are in English. However, that’s not the only reason that their songs are in English.

The other reason for this choice is that every member of WENDY has their sights set on the world. From the very start, the members have shared a common dream: global success. But what does that entail? Winning a Grammy? Playing shows in huge overseas venues? We’d love to talk to the band and find out more.

In a previous interview, Skye has stated that he wants to play at London’s Wembley Stadium. There have been some recent new developments that are sure to put a smile on the faces of these ambitious musicians hoping to take on the world. The songs “SCREAM” and “Chasing a song,” which are featured on their first album, Don’t waste my YOUTH, released on August 23, 2023, have appeared in many Spotify playlists in countries such as the U.K., the U.S., and France, and the number of Spotify monthly listeners is soaring. Monthly listener numbers have grown more than ten-fold compared to before the album’s release. More and more of the comments on their socials are from overseas listeners, and they’re starting to draw steady attention from the global rock scene.

Despite being their debut album, Don’t waste my YOUTH was produced by Marc Whitmore, whose past production credits include Jon Batiste’s We Are, winner of the Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards, and The Black Keys’ album Let’s Rock. In the “RECORDING MAKING with Marc Whitmore” feature of the album’s limited edition DVD, Marc has high praise for their musical sensibilities, saying, “They truly understand what rock and roll is, and that’s why they have to play it.”

In September, they performed in W24&WENDY: Rock n Roll is Back, a two group event at the Rollinghall club in Seoul, South Korea, playing alongside the up-and-coming K-pop band W24. This was their first overseas show, at a venue with a capacity of 500 people. However, the played their hearts out, undaunted, and Skye engaged with the audience in English, taking full command of the show’s tone.

Each show they put on, not only does the band get better at performing, but they also get better at confidently MCing. At the Korean show, the audience shouted and applauded as Skye talked, spurring them on. Their performance was a roaring success. With this show, WENDY has started building up a track record of success in their overseas performances. They’ve taken one step closer to being a global band.

However, WENDY is taking on the world through rock, and if you’ve looked at the music charts, you’ve seen that the rock genre has been struggling, not only in Japan but globally, as well. This is sure to be putting pressure on the band as they take the road of playing the kind of music they truly want to play, but you don’t get even the slightest sense of worry from the band members or their music. Perhaps the secret is hidden in the chorus of “SCREAM.”

————-

Don’t waste your time

Think about what people think of u

I don’t wanna be

Just a kid that sits around

I’ll scream out loud

You get a strong sense of their commitment to doing what they want to do, regardless of what others might think. When you listen to the song, it’s clear where their bold stance, their energetic live shows, and their repertoire comes from. But it isn’t just their strong wills. Their fundamental love of music, rock, and live shows shines through to listeners, and it might be what’s behind the excitement of the audience at their Korean show and their positions on overseas playlists.

That’s not enough for WENDY, though. They understand that they’re only at the starting line of their efforts to take the world head-on with rock music. They’ll be refining their live performances and polishing the quality of their music, because the world they’re aiming for is a huge one.

It’s a great joy to be able to see WENDY take on the world with their brave, confident style, and hopes are high for their future success in the Japanese and global rock scenes.

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