Q&A: Wavves

Nathan Williams and Stephen Pope give us old members, new albums and Don Julio to sip on.

Shannon Ryan

What: Wavves

 

When: 7 p.m., Friday

 

Where: 7th St. Entry, 701 N. First Ave., Minneapolis

 

Cost: $16 advance, $18 door (Sold out)

 

Age: 18+

 

With the release of their album “Afraid of Heights” and a tour of sold-out shows across the country, the boys of the indie surf-punk band Wavves are makin’ ripples in 2013.

Frontman Nathan Williams and bassist Stephen Pope threw A&E some bones to chew on before they play 7th St. Entry on Friday night.

 

Wavves started as a solo project in 2008 — what made you change from solo to group recordings?

 

Nathan:

I just don’t have any friends, so I’m paying people to be my friends.

 

Since that inception, you’ve lost three different members. What are your relationships like with those people — Ryan Ulsh, Zach Hill and Billy Hayes?

 

Stephen:

There aren’t any bad relationships between anybody who has left the band. We just played a show with Billy in February with our old band, The Barbaras. Alex [Gates], who plays guitar [for Wavves], is in that band, too.

 

What was Billy’s reason for leaving?

 

Stephen:

I think he really did not like being on tour. It wasn’t like a personal thing. He liked being at home.

 

The music you make centers on adolescent concerns — smoking weed, playing video games, skateboarding — that’s the band’s charm. Where do you think that music will turn when those are no longer concerns? Will you still have a product?

 

Stephen:

Well, a lot of the people who have heard [“Afraid of Heights”] think it’s a lot darker than previous albums, less teenage. I don’t know where that came from; I guess life has just gotten harder as we’ve gotten older. We were locked away in a dark room for 15 hours a day for a whole year when we were making that album. It’s kind of hard not to get depressed and stir crazy. I didn’t see anybody else aside from the producer and Nathan for an entire year.

 

Who produced this record?

 

Stephen:

John Hill. He’s been more of a pop producer, but he and Nathan worked together for a little bit writing songs for other people, and they had a good working relationship. He was willing to take on an album where he wasn’t really going to make money, because we didn’t have a label at the time.

 

What was it like working with him?

 

Stephen:

Overall it was pretty good. He can get pretty mean sometimes. He liked to carry around this coffee cup and fill it up with Don Julio, so whenever the coffee cup came out you knew he was going to start being mean. He also liked to get beat up in the morning — he does street fighting.

 

Would you record with him again?

 

Stephen:

Yeah, I’d definitely record with him again. It hopefully will take less than a year next time.

 

Nathan, you’ve taken a lot of backlash from your drug-fueled meltdown in Barcelona in 2009 and general affinity for marijuana. What do you have to say about people who oppose the illegal use of substances?

 

Nathan:

I think that it’s very stupid, but everybody has an opinion.

 

You’ve been known to deliver albums with indistinguishably varied sounds. How is “Afraid of Heights” different from 2010’s “King of the Beach?”

 

Nathan:

I think the main difference is just the amount of time we got to spend on it. We got to try lots of new stuff that we haven’t been able to try in the past. Also we were 100 percent more involved in the production of this one.

 

Where did the creative energy come from this time opposed to “King of the Beach?”

 

Nathan:

I don’t know; I really didn’t think about it like that. It just became what it was over a year. We were writing songs up until the very end. Some of the songs were written like three months ago, and some of them were written when I was 19 or 20.

 

What can I tell Minneapolitans to expect from your show at 7th St. Entry on April 29?

 

Nathan:

Stephen loves to get naked so you will see him with at least his shirt off.