NW: But we chose a career where we can be drunk losers and still work. I don’t know if I’m jealous of them or just can’t get to their level. You recorded it before landing on Mom+Pop and after you left Fat Possum. So it was a fine line between being functionally drunk and being drunk drunk. We’d listen back to takes, and be like, “What the fuck!
Nathan Williams: He’s sending his drug dealer down here. SP: You have to be a fucked up person to try to make money doing art. But if you get way too drunk, then you get nothing done.
He said to look out for a guy who was him at his fattest—plus 120 pounds. On the topic of being greened out, you’ve also mentioned that you hate being called slackers—but don’t mind being called losers. I mean, it’s such a long shot [that you’ll succeed]. NW: I’ve definitely ruined sessions on this record.
Its experiments in big-band dynamics and Cobain ‘n’ Cuomo hero-worship don’t always hit their intended targets.
SP: Well, “slacker” implies that you’re lazy and you don’t do anything. We spent 15 hours a day last year in the studio working our asses off. I wasted days, where I’d just skateboard to the bar across the street waiting for it to open.
I mean, we’re not slackers, but we’re definitely drunk losers. NW: Well, even if you’re not being judged, people who don’t [drink or do drugs] have the wherewithal to avoid it. But the way we conducted the business of the record…. Or I’d go to the liquor store to buy King Cobras to drink in the booth. There were some nights that were so drunk, we’d never remember what we’d done. Let’s tweak it a little.” We stuck mics in pianos and stuff, recording when we hit piano strings.
The defining themes of their earlier work—aimlessness, boredom, and being a fuckup—have evolved beyond teen-trash territories: Afraid of Heights has Williams and co-songwriter Stephen Pope writing their most personal work to date, exploring social anxiety, depression, and insecurity. Well, how do you deal with interviews like this one? Things definitely have started to snowball over the last few years—and depression, relationships, death, substance abuse.
We spoke with Williams and Pope over beers at Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern to discuss the newer—and decidedly less neon—shade of Wavves. SP: We were locked in a dark room all day every day for a year. NW: We’re also not used to being in one place for a long time after touring. So to stop and concentrate on one thing—while going nowhere—made me feel immediately manic. Speaking of substance abuse, it seems to be intertwined to your music.
AUX: You like to razz Fucked Up’s Damian Abraham on Twitter. Stephen Pope: Well, last time we were here, he was like, “I’m going to take you to my favourite restaurant! So, for you, is art-making inherently self-destructive?” And he took us to, like, Mc Donalds, where he went and ordered two Big Macs, two large fries, and then went for poutine later. There’s a real sense of defeatism on the LP—what kind of headspace were you in when you were writing it? NW: Well I was doing drugs way before I started music.