A chat with Wetcake
“I suppose I think that the Cake is life, but life is served to you sodden and full of gunk and it feels like that’s not what a cake is supposed to be at all, but that’s life? Perhaps?”
We sat down for an in-depth discussion about creative influences, considered gloom and talented friends with the elusive Jack Titterington to get to know his psychedelic folk pseudonym, Wetcake.
Hey Wetcake! Tell us about yourself?
Hello Foreverwestzine! I’m Jack Titterington and Wetcake is the artist pseudonym I use to describe the psychedelic folk music I write and record. I lifted the name from Bernard Black, a rather glum character from the seminal series, Black Books, as I felt it was eloquent in describing the concepts of the music I’m creating and the way I was looking at contemporary life; the feelings of overwhelm that come with our 24 hour news cycle, climate anxieties, social and political divide - enough to make the brain spill out the ears like a wetcake - and the conflict between constant stress and tragedy against the glory of life and the beauty of nature and love and people! I suppose I think that the Cake is life, but life is served to you sodden and full of gunk and it feels like that’s not what a cake is supposed to be at all, but that’s life? Perhaps? So it’s kind of this lingering duality, where the cake can be great and delicious on the one hand, but on the other it’s off in some way and that becomes difficult to ignore. I try to explore this duality in the music and smash up beautiful sounds against noise and field recordings, or have dissonant sounds become soothing, abstract song forms, lots of improvised elements, and have lyrics and ideas that aren’t fixed to any one interpretation.
Most of the music I’ve been recording for Wetcake is still a secret to the world, but I’m very keen to begin releasing it soon and holding more shows around the West and beyond!
What’s it like being a creative based in the west of Melbourne?
It’s grand, I love the West! I’ve been living in Footscray just under two years but I find the community so beautiful and driven and inspiring. There is such rich passion and appreciation for culture in the West, and I’m always surprised and delighted to chance across community events, pop up shows, people giving out comics they’ve made, and this whole sublime string of intriguing, unexpected happenings. There’s so much to be curious about in the West and I love walking by the Heavenly Queen Temple, finding the old railway tracks and often I’ll go to Footscray Park and the Wetlands to read or try and write some silly poems or lyrics. I went to Williamstown for the first time recently and I found all the steel structures and what I thought were abandoned factories and shipping buildings along the scenic drive very compelling and spooky. I find the West enchanting and superb and a wonderful place that always feels like it’s oozing buzzing energy and inspiration. But I would never want to misrepresent the West or appropriate it’s history, and so I try to investigate further into the stories behind all that I find inspiring to work against fabricating narratives about the community, it’s people and the land through my own narrow lens. I’ve been quite a homebody in our ever-evolving covid reality, but now that the world is opening up again I’m going to try and see all the shows at Pride of Footscray and spend whole days drinking coffee at Maples, and really immerse myself more in the community and the local scene.
Self-described, there’s an element of “considered gloom” to Wetcake, what kind of influences contribute to this?
Yes, what on earth did I mean by that? I think I was meaning that I can be quite a sad person and that I find myself being enchanted and affected by sadness in movies, in song, in art, and in life! And as someone who experiences depression and anxiety I have this ability to run away with gloom, not just in my writing but in my life so I try to be aware that sadness can be all consuming, but that it isn’t necessarily the only side to any experience in life. It’s important to me to try and be vulnerable with myself and my emotions enough to find new perspectives on gloom. Maybe even positive ones, who knows? But I suppose all I meant by “considered gloom” is that I try not to dwell too much in my work, and to incorporate humour or whimsy to refresh the energy of my sadder songs.
Who are some of your favourite west-based creatives at the moment?
I’m lucky enough to live with and befriend the endlessly inspiring @chatgronk, the instagram alias of Christian Familar who I’ve always adored for his punky genius. He’s got this whip-smart sense of humour and brilliance in all the graphic design and visual art and tattoo (@tatgronk) work that he does, and then will also write and record these incredible Hip-Hop tracks, and abstract RnB loops that he’ll combine with extraordinary animations. He brings so much joy to my life as a friend, he’s always on about Ratatouille, and is certainly going to take over the creative world. I have no doubts.
I recently went to see Stella Delmenico (@stelladelmenicomusic) at Pride of Footscray who has these exquisite songs that are so eloquent about her life and her experiences, and I love to hear songs that are so authentic and disarming in their honesty and vulnerability, but I found that when I reached out to her to see if it was ok to write about her work I found out that she had moved away from the West.
And then I found out that all of the West-based creatives I adore had also moved away from the West which was a surreal realisation and I felt a little sad about it initially, but all those artists are still doing their extraordinary work (quick shoutout to C FOUR [@racfizzle], Molly Law [@m.ollj], Faxman [@faxman_faxband], Aaron Ashwood [@aaron_ashwood]) and I suppose it’s also a testament to zines and to Foreverwestzine for the platform they give to local artists. Working within your local community and engaging in local scenes is so important and is always so valuable; also I love the Punk nature of helping and supporting your friends and neighbours in rebellion against brutal capitalist autonomy. I’d be frightfully lost without all the help and support I’m so lucky to receive from my personal communities and so in that same vein I believe it’s almost crucial, as a creative, to show up for other local artists, friends, neighbours, and the wider community.
And finally, your go-to place to buy (dry) cake in the west?
You know I’m actually not really that into cake. Controversial, I know! I find sweet treats too rich a lot of the time, and I think my sweet tooth is more interested in gobstoppers or candies and lollies. And who knows, maybe this whole idea for Wetcake is more of a personal thing of mine about ruining cakes because they might have disappointed me somehow...
Seriously though, I do love the Gordon St. Bakery! Exquisite croissants, elegant sourdoughs and envious coffee.