Slothrust brings ‘Juice’ to grunge sound


Courtesy of Kip Kouri

Lead singer Leah Wellbaum, bassist Kyle Bann and drummer Will Gorin form the Brooklyn-based rock trio Slothrust, who draws its influence from bands like Nirvana.

By Arts & Culture Reporter

Slothrust, a Brooklyn-based trio consisting of lead singer and guitarist Leah Wellbaum, bassist Kyle Bann and drummer Will Gorin, infuses Nirvana-like raw emotion while putting its own original spin on the grunge sound. With fast-paced musical arrangements and Wellbaum’s edgy monotone singing, Slothrust’s music makes for the perfect soundtrack for any angst-filled music fan.

After meeting while taking music classes together at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York, Slothrust has built quite a following thanks to its DIY live performances in small music venues across the country. The band played its first televised performance on “The Chris Gethard Show” last year and is gaining further popularity with its song “7:30 Am,” which was chosen to be the theme song for the FX network’s breakout romantic comedy series, “You’re The Worst.”

The Chronicle spoke with Wellbaum about Slothrust’s writing process, creating the theme song for “You’re The Worst” and discovering new cities through touring the country.

THE CHRONICLE: Where did the name Slothrust come from?

LEAH WELLBAUM: I used to make music under the name Sloth Box when I was a freshman [at Sarah Lawrence College]. It was like a weird, Casio-based solo project. I really liked sloths. I’ve Googled them forever. I like the way the word looks. That sort of s–t.

What was it like touring with Cymbals Eat Guitars like, and what do you do when you’re done touring?

LW: It was great. We headlined a lot of that tour, and then met up with them and did dates together. We’re really good friends and had a really good time. We’re actually going to tour with them again in a couple of weeks—hitting the ol’ road. We really like to travel to different cities and see new cities and expose ourselves to new people. Getting to know different parts of the country has been incredible. I’ve never spent too much time outside of the East Coast before getting to tour. I feel sort of addicted to touring.

You do a lot of DIY venues. Do you prefer smaller, intimate shows?

LW: It totally depends on the city. It depends on the sound systems and the vibe. If it’s a city we’ve never played before, it’s nice to play those small rooms where you can get to know people more. But if we have a following in that city, the big rooms can be nice. I’m a little claustrophobic, so I like larger stages because I’ll start to feel really cramped. But overall, we’re pretty open-minded. Whatever makes for the best overall vibe of the night is cool with us.

Have social networks helped you establish your loyal fan base? 

LW: It’s all pretty overwhelming. Honestly, a lot of it feels like a waste of time. To a great degree, it kind of is a time-suck in distracting from the actual world. I kind of pick one and use it to feed all the others. That’s just a formula you’re supposed to follow if you’re an artist right now for self-promotion. Mine is Instagram. I’m definitely a really visual person. I always see things I want to take photos of walking around in everyday life. I just use that to feed the Facebook and Twitter and keep it all streamlined.

Your song “7:30 Am” is the theme song for the FX show, “You’re The Worst.” How did that come about?

LW: The producer for that show, Stephen Falk, found us on Tumblr years ago and had the song in mind for the show for a really long time.

What is your writing process like?

LW: I don’t really sit down with the intent of writing a song. I just write as I feel inspired to. I take a lot of voice notes in my phone. I’ll hear a melody or guitar part in my head and just grab my phone and record it real quick so I don’t forget it. And then I start putting songs together piece by piece. It depends on what I have access to at the time—whether I have a guitar or piano or a notepad. Lyrically, I sort of churn out writing every day in different ways. I’m very obsessed with taking notes on my phone and carrying around a notebook and constantly writing observations about the world—just anything I can write down. Some of them become lyrics, and some of them, hopefully, no one ever has access to.