Q&A: Wavves

A monumental record that spits on the borders of genres, King Of The Beach has shoved WAVVES into the international spotlight over the past few months. Fans have rejoiced, critics have slandered and despite a tattered history, the California group are stronger than ever. Founder/controversial frontman Nathan Williams recently took time out of his day (“Lady Gaga hasn’t called you guys back? She must still have one of those T-Mobile phones”) to talk about touring, DIY musicians and being labeled as “a modern day Kurt Cobain”.
With the name-calling and the mosh pits, are Wavves concerts becoming an event everyone has to experience at least once in their lifetime?

Yeah for sure. That line sounds like the trailer for a movie (laughs). Maybe a Wavves concert is a movie. Yeah, a Wavves concert is like a Tyler Perry movie: there’s a lot of drama, people are crying and everybody walks out before it’s done (laughs). But yeah, our concerts should definitely be something people want to experience.
A few critics think the extended interaction with the crowd is a bit much.

I don’t give a f*ck what they think. Seriously. Like we just go out, play and have fun. That’s what our shows are about.
How were you guys able to convince the label you wanted to sell weed grinders at shows?

We didn’t have to convince them because the label just doesn’t care. It’s not like they’re our mom (laughs). It’s come to the point where they just don’t need to have a say and let us do whatever creative thing we want to do.
Why not sell something a bit less conspicuous, like Nintendo 64 T-shirts?

Oh no, this has become the weed grinder interview (laughs). Maybe I don’t want to go through the hassle of making Nintendo 64 T-shirts? We just chose weed grinders. I got hit by a bolt of lightning one day and came up with the idea.

Do you think your age allows you to act a bit reckless?

What do you mean? Older people do shit like that. Look at Chong, isn’t that what he got arrested for? Old people are just like young people. There are old rock stars that still do cocaine and party with friends. They aren’t really any different.
Someone once told me you’re “a modern day Kurt Cobain”.

(Laughs) Really? Wow.. that’s flattering. I don’t see myself that way and I don’t think people should either even if there are similarities.
Are there any musicians or icons you look up to?

Of course. I look up to Cobain. Nirvana is an awesome band. Like the music they made and the albums they put out are just some of the influences I had when I was growing up and writing music. Lil Wayne is a major influence. He always seems hungry to make music as he keeps releasing songs and that’s what I love about him.
Which artists influenced you while you started writing the material that turned into King Of The Beach?

Those guys definitely did but their personas influenced me, not their music. It’s not like I wanted to rap over music. We listened to a lot of stuff in the van like Green Day and Black Sabbath. I don’t know, I try not to think about that too much. We definitely listened to a lot of Bob Marley. Do you like him?
I’ve been listening to Marley since day one. I know a lot of people say that, but what they really mean is they’ve heard “One Love”.

Exactly (laughs). There are a lot of people like that. We actually bought a three-disc box set when we were travelling in Italy. It’s pretty f*cking awesome.

Do you think it’s weird DIY musicians look up to you?

I don’t know, it is kind of weird of DIY musicians look up to me because I’m still doing my thing. I’m still a person that’s growing up. I definitely don’t want kids to look up to me, that’s not cool. But yeah, I’ve changed over the years.
Are you any different from the person you were in high school?

Oh, I’m not the person I was in high school. Everybody changes and no one will ever be that same person they were in high school or college. Are you any different from the person you were in high school? I bet you are. You’re like 21, right? When’s your birthday?

December.. what sign is that? Sagittarius? Sagittarius.. I don’t even know where the f*ck I was going with that. I have heard you Sagittarius people have high sex drives though (laughs).
Which is more important: acceptance or freedom?

Freedom. No question. Or maybe.. what about accepting freedom? Yeah, that’s it. No, maybe freedom from acceptance (laughs). Yeah, that’s it. Freedom from acceptance is important.

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