Making Wavves: An Interview with Nathan Williams of Wavves





By Blake Garris

The San Diego based band Wavves has been characterized in a number of interesting genres. Some call them “lo-fi,” others call them “surf rock,” and many just call them “indie rock.” But regardless of the typecast, Wavves has already been off to a very impressive 2013.

Ghettoblaster recently spoke with vocalist and guitar player Nathan Williams on their way to a show in San Diego just days after the release of their fourth studio album Afraid of Heights, which was only days before their first national television show appearance on David Letterman. He spoke about where the darkness in their lyrics comes from, the process behind self-financing an album and much more.

Congrats on the Letterman appearance next week.

Don’t say congrats yet. They might still bump me for Pink.

Is that your first national show appearance?

Yeah, first main cable… We did The Daily Habit. But yeah, this is the first main one.

Congrats on everything that’s been happening with you guys recently. What’s the coolest thing that’s happened to you in the past year?

Well it’s a little over a year now like a year and two months but I bought a house. That was pretty cool. That’s probably the best thing that’s happened to me. (Laughs) But it’s cool. This coming up right now is exciting. I’m really, really excited for the record to come out. It’s exciting that people are able to hear it now cause we worked so long on it.

What was it like having John Hill involved?

That was cool. I like him a lot. We’re buddies. We worked together writing songs for other people prior to our work together on this record.

What were the challenges having no label since you self-financed the whole thing?

It was cool. It was definitely nice to have freedom to do what you wanted.

Was it hard finding the funding for the record?                                

I mean, I had some money set aside anyways so I knew that I was financially in an okay position for myself. But John basically fronted us where he just said “I’ll do it on spec” cause he just really wanted to do the record. And once we were done with it we signed a deal with a label, we could just basically transfer some of that money over to him, whatever the cost.

How did you get Jenny Lewis involved?

I’ve known Jenny for a while. Met her in Philadelphia, so she’s just a friend. She lived in LA and we needed some female vocals so just gave her a call and she came through.

People are saying this is a darker Wavves record than previous ones. Where does that come from?

I don’t know. Stephen (Pope) and I basically isolated ourselves during the year that we recorded the record. So we were in the studio from noon to 3 in the morning every day not seeing anybody besides John and Stephen and Chris Coady and Rich Costey. So I don’t know, I almost feel like I became agoraphobic from it. I was just in the studio and my house. I just never went out. That was the only two places. So I don’t know, I don’t know where it came from. I don’t think any of my lyrics have ever been like very optimistic or bright in the past. I don’t know.

In a previous interview you did, you said when you were living at home with your parents you had more stability and things were better and it seems like now the more well known you’re getting, the more problems that occur. Does that have to do with the record being so dark?

I don’t know. It’s definitely a different time in my life. The thing is I’m not the same guy I was three years ago when I wrote King of the Beach just the same as I wasn’t the same guy that wrote ‘Wavves’ two years prior to that. So I don’t know. I guess it just happens to be a point in my life where the last year or so has been a little bit more… not necessarily more difficult, but more confusing.

In the future would you rather want to be more well known or just keep making stuff on your own?

I mean I’d like to make money. If you’re asking me if I want to be famous, if that’s your question, then the answer is no, I don’t. At all. But being in the public eye is a little bit a part of this. I know that going into it but I don’t want to be unable to walk around. That would be really shitty, I think. But I don’t think I have to worry about that anytime soon (laughs). I don’t think that’s going to be a problem for me.

What’s the status of the video game?

The video game already came out. It came out a while ago called Weed Demon.

Is the comic book out as well?

The comic book is not out. We just finished it like two days ago. It got finished. So it’s going to press now and it will be out as soon as we get it back.

What can people expect from the comic book?

They can expect… I don’t know. I can’t really tell them what to expect. They’ll have to wait and see. I’ve posted some stuff about it, exactly what the premise is. It’s about a group of teenagers. It takes place in kind of a bizarro world after a nuclear reaction basically. But it will be out soon enough.

You’ve also stated in interviews that drinking was a big part of the album making process on this new record. Can you take us through that?

It was different every day. It wasn’t really a part of the process, I guess. It just happened to be… we just drank every day. But the actual process of recording was varied; some days we would just sit around and try pedal combinations and amp and head combinations. Other days we’d be tracking vocals all day. It really depended.

Finally, what’s next for you guys?

We’re on a five-week tour right now. I’m in a van on the 5 going to San Francisco and then after that we’re going to go to Asia for two weeks and then we go to Australia after that for a month and then after that we’ll do another string of shows in the US and then probably go do a UK Europe thing. So I’m doing basically this and selling a ton of merch (laughs).

Are you scoring anything?

I have a record coming out. I produced a record for this guy named DaVinci. But no, I’m not scoring anything at the moment. I’d like to though. That would be sick.