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AFTER HAVING BLOWN UP so big and so quickly, critics of Wavves have already later'd this 22-year-old scumgazer. And while that's what happens with most buzz bands, Nathan Williams' (right in photo) exceptionality comes not from the steep arch of his notoriety--he went from nameless San Diego record store clerk to indie sensation in nano-time--but for how legitly he shreds. Wawes' brand of no-fi garage rock reminds skateboarders of the sound in our heads when we're stoked and wasted in the sunshine, bombing hills to wherever our friends are hanging out. Additionally fun, he put a vintage skate photo on the cover of this year's Wavvves (Fat Possum), the debut album that necessitated a frantic tour of 85 sets in 77 days at mid-sized venues and festivals across the country. That's a pretty daunting itinerary, especially when you consider how Wavves had yet to even play a house show. And while the band muscled through, it was the disastrous and mostly cancelled European tour--where a trashed Nathan abused the Barcelona audience and prompted his tour drummer to announce his quitting the band by dumping beer over his head and walking off--that left folks wondering if Nathan hadn't succumbed to the too-much-too-soon cliche. Oops. To make him feel better I told him how I got in big trouble for drunkenly stage ollieing at his recent show in Brooklyn.

It's mid-60s in SD and it's noon. Where are you going skating?

I'm skating in my Xbox 360 with "Skate 2." It's fucking amazing. Seriously, though, I need to go get a new board. I like to skate Cabrillo Elementary School right by my house, it has nice banks. I fuck with everything except stairs.

I'm glad you actually skate. I didn't want to spend the entire interview berating you for using skate photos as cover art.

That would have been a bummer. I do skateboard--have since I was 11. There are a ton of famous San Diego spots but they're mostly stairs. Here you have to be creative, which a lot of people don't want to do. I don't like stairs and I don't like going back to the same spot everyday unless I have a certain trick I want to try. Lately I've been doing kick/lip manuals. I fastplanted a dumpster the other day.

That's some Jeremy Klein shit. Thanks for the skateboarding music.

Huh. I think the songs' atmospherics have everything to do with the Southern California vibe, which kind of oozes skateboarding. I think the music's kind of nostalgic. Most of the time I just hang out with friends, skate, and party.

Northern California oozes skateboarding. You've said before that your music is about depression.

It's kind of about depression. The reason I write about that stuff sometimes is if you say aloud "I'm a loser, I'm going nowhere," you feel better. And it's no big deal, you've accepted it.

Whatever happened to Juavves, your Spanish-language tribute band?

That's flattering but it kind of weirds me out. Apparently there's a country-western guy who also does Wavves covers. It shows how this experience has just been moving in total fast-forward.

As of the time of this interview it's been a week since the shenanigans in Barcelona. Have you gained perspective on it?

I don't really have too much perspective on it because I don't remember playing. My morn called me the next day and asked how it went, and I said "It went well, I think."

Did you use booze and pills to relax while going full-throttle with touring?

Kind of. I'm not going to rehab or anything but I've slowed down. The thing is, the whole situation got out of hand. On tour, they literally hire drug dealers to hand out shit. We play at bars so there's free booze everywhere. Before Europe we'd had a week downtime and then we were supposed to do 35 more shows. Some people can do that and some can't. I got too fucked up to play. It wasn't the first time this happened. Any of the four people who saw me play Fargo with Blank Dogs saw the same thing. Barcelona was just a way bigger stage. The reason the European tour didn't go on was because Ryan and I weren't going to play music after Barcelona, and I need a drummer for the shows. We've since worked it out.

I see parallels between your sudden success as a musician and that of young, recently-turned pros.

I feel like getting sponsored and turning pro in skateboarding and playing music are really similar things. You get these kids, just some fucking kid like me, and they go pro and get money thrown at them. Of course they're going to turn into Piss Drunx for a little bit. It's the lifestyle of touring, and playing shows is like doing demos--you have to go turn it on every night to impress a crowd. It's something I guess I'm not totally used to.

You caught some flak from the Black Lips and Psychedelic Horseshit for the antics in Spain and for selling-out the no-fi sound. Do you have anything to say about that?

Haters are going to hate. I'm not going to respond to any of that shit.
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Title Annotation:ZOUNDS
Author:Madsen, Peter
Article Type:Interview
Date:Sep 1, 2009
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