Deli Magazine

Interview with 

- by Julia Kwamya 

SlothRust is the brain child of guitarist/vocalist Leah Wellbaum, bassist Kyle Bann, and drummer Will Gorin. Wellbaum blazes through her lyrics with emotional rawness that sounds like it’s voiced over a static megaphone. The trio is made up of graduates from the prestigious Sarah Lawrence, and if you’ve seen “10 Things I hate about you” you know how big of a deal that school is. Between studying and connecting through their blues and jazz classes, the group formed a distinctly new age punk band. Despite common band issues; such as a broken van, very little capital and no practice space; the motivated group is working on their latest EP at Spaceman Sound with the working title, “Of Course You Do”.  The band is excited to offer more diversity in terms of style on the next EP. SlothRust’s sound is intricate and woven into careful patterns like grandma’s favorite quilt. Leah’s aggressive and slightly Nico monotone vocals coupled with melodic guitar parts and funky bass lines offer a dazzling balance of Rock and Blues.  We were lucky enough to catch up with the lead singer, Leah, and ask a few questions about the group.

Where did a name like SlothRust come from?  

I used to make music under the name Sloth Box when I was younger. I've had a sloth obsession for a long time. I used to google them when I was feeling bummed out, and I really enjoy the sick smiles on their faces. Rust is just awesome in general, and has an implication of time passing. We also just like the way the combination of the two words look. 

What type of music did you listen to as a kid? 

I listened to the radio a lot in the 90s. My favorite radio station when I was ages 9-12 was called Jamin' 94.5. They played mostly hip-hop and r&b. I spent a lot of time recording the radio onto cassette tapes. I still have some of them, and they feature a lot of Eminem, Dr. Dre, Eve, Lil Kim, Destiny's Child, Snoop Dogg and R. Kelly. There is even one that has the "Thong Song" by Sisqo recorded TWICE on one side of the tape. I don't know what's up with that, but I have a memory of choreographing several dance routines. Other than hip-hop, I was in this really intense children's choir for a while. We got to perform at a lot of incredible places although it was vaguely traumatizing. I got super into punk, grunge and hardcore approaching high school. Will has always really loved Weezer and as far as I know, Kyle has always loved Pantera and Slayer. We all love the Beatles and have forever.

What would your ideal show lineup be? 

Oh gosh. We have played a lot of great line-ups already. Two of our favorite current bands are Pile and She Keeps Bees. We have all played together several times thanks to Exploding in Sound. Expanding on that, I would love to share the stage with Dead Prez, but I highly doubt that will ever happen. Of course it would have been great to open for Nirvana, Sonic Youth or Smashing Pumpkins.

How many beers does it take before you start singing your own songs at a bar? 

For Will, zero. He will do it just to play twisted little games with me. I don't think Kyle or I would do that ever regardless of booze.

How did you meet your band mates? 

We all studied blues and jazz at Sarah Lawrence College. We had the same guitar teacher, Glenn Alexander, and we played in a few blues groups together. Will and Kyle are both excellent guitar players and Kyle actually played the organ in the first band all three of us were in.  

Would you sell your music commercially? (Commercials, film/tv, stores..etc) 

We distribute our music via bandcamp, itunes, and maybe on amazon?!? It's really helpful when people actually pay for our music because it helps support us on tour. Ideally, we will release our next EP on vinyl in addition to digital. 

What's your favorite place to play in NYC?

Brooklyn has a lot of venues we really dig. The DIY spaces like Shea Stadium and Big Snow Buffalo Lodge are always a blast. In terms of Manhattan, we had a great time at The Studio at Webster Hall and also, the Mercury Lounge.

How has the music scene changed for you?

(LW) Well, everything is digital now. I can't say I am happy about it but it is what it is and I'm not sure fighting it or acting all surly will do us any good. One upside is that due to the Internet we can reach people in other countries who otherwise would never have known about our music. In terms of a scene, the punk and hardcore scenes where I grew up in Boston don't seem to exist anymore in the same capacity and I think the Internet has something to do with that. People don't need to go as far out of their way to uncover a new band and meet like-minded individuals.  

NY or LA? Cats or Dogs? Red or Blue? 

Well we all live in New York, but on our tour this past summer the West Coast treated us incredibly well. We are definitely eager to tour there again. Good vibes. 

We like cats, we like dogs, we like snakes, we like frogs. 

Purple haze. 






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