Whethan defines a “wallflower” as “someone who feels kind of alone or shy, has no one really to dance with at a party.” He feels like a wallflower himself, the irony of which is not lost on the 19-year-old producer. He plays to sold-out crowds across the country, even famously rocked the Sahara Stage at Coachella earlier this year, but he still identifies more as the slightly-awkward teenager who first sat in front of a laptop and created sonic worlds within which to escape. After all, when he’s on stage creating a vibe, he’s doing it all my himself.
He doesn’t have to make music alone in the studio, though. His debut EP Life of a Wallflower Vol. 1 features some of his best buds and more than a few catchy vocal hooks. The whole collection of songs plays perfectly into Whethan’s pastel-colored sonic pallette. It’s soft as petals falling in the breeze, but just as bright and intoxicating as cherry blossom perfume. His super-clean production makes even rough-edged noise sound cute. Really, it’s just freakin’ fun.
Life of a Wallflower Vol. 1 is a big first look at Whethan’s full package. He’s on tour in support of the project now, taking with him a huge, hallucinogenic visual screen to bring his sound to life in colors and geometric patterns, but the full EP just dropped on Atlantic Records today (Nov. 9). Billboard Dance caught up with the Chicago kid to get the story on each of the EP’s eight tracks. Check out the story below.
When I made this track, I wanted to use it as the intro for the whole project. I think it sets the vibe for the whole EP. It’s a short and sweet banger that will get you ready for the rest of the tape.
“Radar” Feat. HONNE
I made this track with the amazing group HONNE. It’s a super feel good track that tells a story of wanting to make somebody yours and not stopping until they are. I was really inspired by a lot of funk and house music when putting together the production.
“Top Shelf” Feat. Bipolar Sunshine
I got in the room with Captain Cuts, and they played me a song they wrote with Bipolar Sunshine. I really connected with the lyrics and wanted to bring as much energy to the beat as to match the Bipolar Sunshine vocal. It’s my favorite drop on the project, and it’s the most house I’ve ever gone.
“Good Nights” Feat. Mascolo
This is a song I released last year that I did with my friend Mascolo. It’s one of my favorite tunes, so I really felt like it fit within the Life of a Wallflower story. It’s a song about not wanting somebody out of your life and making the good nights last.
“Together” is telling the story of a young man trying to explore the world and realizing that no matter what you do, as long as you’re with that special person, you’re going to have a great time. Wallflowers can often be alone and feel lonely. I think human connection is necessary and can expose emotions you wouldn’t feel by yourself.
“Superlove” Feat. Oh Wonder
I got in the studio with Oh Wonder in L.A., and we wrote a bunch of songs, one of them being “Superlove,” which took only a half hour to write. It’s a very passionate song about wanting to love somebody so much that it’s creepy. It’s one of the catchiest tunes I’ve worked on. I’ve always been a fan of Oh Wonder, and I wanted their vibe on this project.
“Be Like You” Feat. Broods
“Be Like You” is one of the darker and more alternative songs on this tape. Broods sent me the initial idea, and I connected with the message of not wanting to be like somebody or follow trends. I wanted the production to be heavy hitting to contrast Georgia’s dreamlike tones.
“I Miss You”
The closing song on Vol. 1 tells the story of a robot who has emotions and is feeling the absence of another being. The vibe of this one is very melancholy because of the sad robot voice mixed with the happy, plucky synths and super electronic sounds. I had a lot of fun programming what the robot was supposed to say, and I feel like it wraps up Life of a Wallflower perfectly.