Bedroom Jamming With Bent Jetty
A few bedroom jam sessions, late-night drunken guitar strumming and hourlong GarageBand recording sessions between bong rips: What started as hazy hangouts while guitarists Wyatt Strassner and Matt Wiste and vocalist Greg Gamarra were students at Tesoro High School and continued during their college days in San Diego eventually formed into the wave of folk, pop, funk, indie and rock that are Bent Jetty in 2012. The juxtaposition of the band's limitless structural sound coincides with the idea of warped wooden beach-pier planks, or jetties, that influences the group's name.
"We wanted a name and sound that evoked imagination and provided a wide range of times to listen to our songs," Strassner says. "Our folk songs are perfect for a sunny afternoon chilling in your back yard or out in nature; our rock songs will get you amped up when you're driving, and some are random stories we created out of the ether of our consciousness."
Bent Jetty's ethereal soundscapes mobilized their first recording effort, the Honey Be Wild EP, from the humble sanctuary of a bedroom. It wasn't until after its release that another high-school friend, bassist Christian Fleck, joined the Mission Viejo group.
Finding a solid drummer proved difficult, so Bent Jetty employed programmed drum loops during songwriting jam sessions. Strassner said the workflow perspective usually progressed with Gamarra humming a melody to the selected tempo before adding Fleck's bass line and Wiste's riffs and finally chord progressions.
"We're getting better at understanding where we are going in the songs," Gammara says. "We communicate with our own language and interrupt where we want to go with each song and look at the spectrum of emotions going with it."
Bent Jetty's chunky rock side is brought to life with Stassner's Gibson Les Paul; Wiste's finger-plucking on his Fender Jaguarillo provides warmth and muted sound to the opposing attack on the plastic strings, while Gamarra's ukulele appearances on songs such as "Favorite Few" and "Expectations" round out their Southern California ambiance.