“When the going gets weird,” Hunter S. Thompson famously quipped, “the weird turn pro.” Seattle musicians Nicholas Wiggins and Austin Held did Mr. Gonzo one better — they formed the up-and-coming band Pretty Awkward and wrote an album about our crazy times. It’s quite rightly called Get Weird. It’s brimming with infectious melodies, headnodding grooves, catchy choruses and topical lyrics. It seamlessly and stylishly blends genres from pop and rock to hip-hop, reggae-pop and EDM. And it’s showcasing today on Tinnitist.
Loaded with more singles than a jukebox and boasting sharper hooks than a meat locker, the 11-track effort’s lyrics cover a wide range of subject — from being young and reckless and having too good a time, to the vagaries of love in its many forms, and the ennui from boredom that sometimes overtakes us. They skillfully blend alternative rock and pop sounds into an intoxicating mix. We are all pretty awkward sometimes in life — and this collection of songs tells the story with grooves and good humour.
“It’s been a long crazy road to get here with the completed Get Weird album,” Wiggins says. “I see this LP as a beautiful reflection of our journey over the last couple years. Diving even deeper into our art became the mission of that very journey. Through times when it felt like the world was burning down around us. We really dug in to bring this vision of ours to life. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to share it with the universe.
“Since we call ourselves Pretty Awkward, it only made absolute sense to us to call the album Get Weird. Nothing about this band has ever been normal and we might as well embrace our true selves. We want everyone to go out and Get Weird because this human experience is pretty awkward, when you think about it. I hope fans truly feel our energy of this playful dance we like to have with the universe in our music. Join us on this Get Weird wave and see where we take you!”
Held (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards) and Wiggins (bass, piano) have been friends since they were young and restless together in West Seattle. That long-time chemistry resonates throughout their music and shows their diverse tastes. Their sound is a mosaic of cinematic keys, delicate guitars, and cleverly catchy lyrics. Being fans of all genres of music, Pretty Awkward enjoy a wide spectrum of influences, giving them a sound that can hold its own on playlists with Twenty One Pilots, OneRepublic and Bastille.
About that band name: Held laughs and says “We thought it would be funny as fuck to go out on stage every night and say, ‘We’re Pretty Awkward.’ The name represents us perfectly. It’s a bong-rip idea, but it does speak to how we view the human experience in this day and age. It’s an interesting time to be alive. Human DNA has altered. You could say it’s a commentary on how everything has evolved.”
So has their music, which proves to be as unpredictable as it is undeniable. “We just sort of make what naturally comes out of us,” says Nicholas. “We never try to sound a certain way or do a certain thing.” Austin agrees, adding “We go all over the spectrum. “There are parts that are alt-rock (Misfits, Bored), but there’s an anthemic electronic influence, too (Higher). You might find some hip-hop vibes in there (Bad Habit) and we are definitely pop at points (Hang Out).”
In the end, Pretty Awkward makes a real connection with fans by simply being themselves. They’ve being playing sold-out shows in the Northwest and throughout the West Coast since their inception. “I just hope you can relate when you listen to us,” Austin leaves off. “If somebody takes away anything, it’s this level of relatability. You can interpret these songs in so many different ways. That’s a beautiful thing. The message is breathe, relax, and chill. It might sound like a pipe dream, but what else really matters? Life should be fun. We’re here to enjoy ourselves and play music.” Nicholas adds, “We all feel a little awkward sometimes in our lives. There is beauty and growth in those moments. That’s why we are all Pretty Awkward.”