Wetwood Smokes Emerges from the Orange County Indie Music Scene

The Local Band is Set to Release Their Fourth EP This Summer

Written By: Carli Critchfield
Photographed By: Nathan Whelan Wetwood Smokes

Wetwood Smokes is a local Orange County band with a ton of determination, inspiration, and talent. The band is composed of four: Josh Bowman (lead vocals and guitar), Chrystian Cano (backing vocals and bass), Steven Howard (lead guitar), and John Gee (drums), who began making music together in 2010.

As John went to go to school, the band continued on as a trio. However, in January of last year, John came back to play drums as the others thought he was crucial to the type of music they were writing. “Live sound is really important to us, and to replicate the sound live, we needed four people and John was the obvious choice,” Josh says.

Last month, the band opened for Save Ferris at the new House of Blues Anaheim that just reopened at the GardenWalk. Vista Kicks also performed.  Previously, the group has opened for and played with Brobecks at Amplyfi in LA, The Stone Foxes at the Slidebar in Fullerton, and King Washington at the House of Blues.

They describe their sound as indie rock but acknowledge how broad of a spectrum that can be. So, they unanimously agree they want to go for a commercially successful indie rock sound that’s a little bit more polished.

Being from Orange County, the guys love playing at the Wayfarer in Costa Mesa. They love the crowd, and because it’s so close to home, they consider the venue a home base for music. Last year they had a residency at the venue, which they grew to love. However, their dreams are big and their ideal place to play a show is the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado.

Right now the band is working on new material. They have five songs they want to start recording in the studio with John O’Brien, who helped them on their last two records. The new one will be the first record with all four members, and they are extremely excited about it. Steven says that they have been working on the new songs for about a year, and although it has taken a while, it has been the most satisfied he’s felt going into the studio. They have put in some serious work for this album.  

“There is always a sense of vulnerability when it comes to writing music or creating art of any kind with other people, whether it’s a riff you want to add or a melody you’re trying,” Chrystian says. “Sometimes, you’ll throw out an idea that you’re not even 35 percent sure isn’t complete garbage. So, it’s nice to have your best friends as collaborators who know what you’re capable of and can push you towards a better result. But more importantly, [they’re] who can let you down ever so gently when your idea is actual garbage.”  

Keep an eye out for these guys this summer and their fourth EP. You can listen to their music on Spotify—Wetwood Smokes will not disappoint.

Favorite Cover: Wetwood Smokes’ favorite song to cover is a mash up they came up with of the Pixies’ “Where is My Mind” and Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On.” It takes a second for the crowd to realize what they are playing, but they always get a good reaction.

What’s In a Name? “We were just a couple of observant guys sitting around a campfire in desperate need of a band name when it started to rain,” Chrystian says.

Wetwood Smokes

Photoshoot Location:
Recess Studios
3122 Halladay St
Santa Ana, CA  92705
Local Sound: Wetwood Smokes

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