Warbly Jets, are one of the few bands that write, play, record, produce, and release every note themselves. The band’s new track “NASA,” is a song about enjoying that process, releasing expectations, finding comfort inside of failure, and trusting the journey. “Right on time / We’re electrified,” sings Shea over massive guitars, “We keep on falling / Like we’re learning to fly.” “Nasa” is the band’s first music since 2019’s Propaganda EP and their first since stripping the Los Angeles-based band down to the original duo of Samuel Shea and Julien O’neill.
From Samuel Shea:
“It can be very hard to operate as an independent artist. I found that I was looking for validation in what I was doing in the wrong places.” For the band, the song serves as a reminder to stay the course, and to get back to the purest place of making music. “No other feeling in the world compares to writing new music that you instinctively feel is good,” adds O’neill. “That euphoria is more powerful than anything.”
Warbly Jets take their influence from the Guero-era Beck to the production magic of Rick Rubin and Dangermouse. This mix of influences carried over to the video for “NASA,” with everyone from Stanley Kubrick to 90s music video director Hype Williams cited as visual references.
For the band, the announcement represents survival. The fully independent WARBLY JETS have been hit particularly hard by the socio-economic realities of 2020, the impossibility of touring undercutting the bulk of the band’s income. “It’s no secret that nowadays artists, especially independent artists like us, rely almost exclusively on income from live shows to make a living,” explains Shea. “For the last eight months we’ve all had to rely on streaming. In January 2019 Spotify reported that on average it pays between $0.00331 and $0.00437 in royalty to artists PER STREAM! Let’s break that down. 302 streams to make $1. We’ve gotten so used to eating the crumbs that we forgot we used to be sitting at the table.”
“Before 2020 it felt like the music world was figuring out how to be highly sustainable for the first time since the millennium,” explains O’neill. “The streaming wars were decided, digital spaces were being monetized, festivals were global. Now there’s a big lull and no one knows where to turn to.” “It’s too soon to say who/what will be left standing at the end of all of this,” explains Shea. “It’s a scary thing to think that while profits for artists from live music are gone until further notice, master recordings are generating more money than ever for record labels. This is really the time for artists to fight for their worth. And when this is over, hopefully that growth is represented on both sides of the table in a way that’s actually fair to artists.”
But WARBLY JETS are more than hopeful, predicting a post-COVID renaissance of fully independent musicians, and Shea and O’neill are determined to lead the charge. “There’s bound to be many who are just going to call it a day,” explains O’neill. “But there are also a lot of us who are making our best material right now and can’t wait to get back in it! That’s where we feel like we’re at. Anyone with a Youtube channel or TikTok has an outlet for instant notoriety.” “COVID is cracking open opportunities for anyone who is willing to get creative and stir the pot,” adds Shea. “The people that have been able to shake off the negativity of the year, put their head down and get to work have been able to succeed. Creative people are finding solutions in places no-one else is looking.”