Fresno-based alternative-indie band Wee Beasties wants to forge bonds between people and provide them with music they can connect with.
“Artists are the vessel for people,” said lead vocalist Codie Collins. “We convey stories and experiences and emotions.”
The band is comprised of Collins, Giovann Mena (guitar and vocals), Nic Tesi (guitar), Nick Merrick (bass) and Max Martinez (drums).
Wee Beasties formed in 2016. The name derives from a friendly saying among the Martinez family. Collins said that once, he was with Martinez’s family and Martinez’s father recommended that Collins should finish eating his food “before the wee beasties get it.”
After that, Collins decided Wee Beasties would be the name of the band.
They’ve performed in numerous cities and will embark on an interstate tour later in 2018. Wee Beasties fan Allyssa Cornier said Collins, in particular, is a strong performer.
“What stands out most to me is how theatrical Codie is,” Cornier said. “He has a very strong stage presence.”
Collins got his start as a performer early in his life. He was involved in band and choir while in junior high school and high school in Fowler. He said band was respected and admired at Fowler High School – something that doesn’t happen at every high school, Collins said.
“The school takes it really seriously,” he said. “In other schools, that dynamic is ‘band nerds’ or ‘geeks.’ It doesn’t exist at Fowler.”
Collins said being brought up in an environment in which he felt comfortable embracing his talents is likely why he is still a musician today.
For Mena, a fellow bandmate, playing guitar became a way to cope after his parents divorced.
“I had a lot of emotions,” Mena said. “There’s something about music that’s very spiritual and therapeutic to me.”
And through playing guitar, Mena said, he discovered a new talent that helped him gain confidence and feel more validated.
“I was so insecure,” Mena said. “I’d always break myself down a lot. I’m not that person anymore.”
The idea that music can serve a greater purpose for people is something that can be found in the Wee Beasties fanbase. Collins said that people have become friends because of a shared interest in his band.
“To them, Wee Beasties has become like a family,” Collins said. “We’re the glue to all these relationships.”
The band makes efforts to connect with fans as well as meet them in person. Collins said it’s crucial to do so, as being a musician should not be a one-sided exchange.
“Music is supposed to be shared,” Collins said. “Some artists have a different opinion – that art is for themselves.”
Cornier said that when she met Collins and Mena, she found them to be genuine people.
“What I love about them is how easy it is to get to know them,” Cornier said. “They make us feel like we’re their friends.”
Although the band has gained a fanbase and performed in a myriad of cities, Collins said that they try to remain humble in spite of increased success.
“Some bands, when that starts happening, they get an ego and they become mean,” Collins said. “For us, it’s like, I feel responsible. I have an obligation to these people.”