Interview: Wavves’ Nathan Williams on Drugs and the Beach


“Musically…the Beach Boys…I’m sorry, I don’t understand the question. I’m really high right now.”

Nathan Williams has spent 2009 busy and stoned. Rapturous press attention for his lo-fi pop project Wavves quickly translated into a Fat Possum record deal and a transcontinental tour schedule–best of all, the 22-year-old will finally be moving out of his parent’s San Diego house. His latest effort, Wavvves–which was recorded in Apple’s GarageBand, at a fidelity that might charitably be described as substandard–features three-chord anthems about boredom, beaches, and weed. We called to find out how this combination could possibly bring about success, and left just as confused.

I read something about you jumping off a trampoline into the water off of a forty foot cliff.

That is fucking great, I love that that story got there. [To someone in the background] Apparently I jumped off a trampoline into the ocean now.

Is that true?

Off of a trampoline? [laughs] No, that’s not true.

You don’t actually like going in the water.

It’s not that I don’t like going in the water, I’m just afraid of the ocean because the ocean is scary.

What is the scariest part about the ocean? Are you afraid of the sharks, the reef?

I just almost drowned once, so I don’t make a habit to go in and test my luck.

But your music has a lot in common with Dick Dale, and you’ve cited the Beach Boys as an influence. How big of an influence is surf rock?

Musically, …the Beach Boys… I’m sorry, I don’t understand the question. I’m really high right now.

How important is surf rock to you?

Yes it is. It’s very important. Everything about the beach, the music that is influenced by it, and the surroundings of it.

You told Pitchfork that your dream merchandise would be a surfboard made of marijuana with a Garfield logo on it. But you’ve said you don’t like the water.

I would smoke the surfboard, I wouldn’t take it in the water. It’s made of weed.

Do you think California should legalize pot?

Yes, but it basically is legalized. You can get a medical card, anybody can get it.

Obama answered that question and gave a straight up “no.”

Oh really? I don’t know why my dog let me down.

Are you still writing songs about being bored and lazy?

I’m on to new stuff, I can’t write that anymore because I am neither. I guess I’m still lazy.

So this stoner persona, this is for real, it isn’t some kind of joking exaggeration?</b

Sadly it’s real, my friend.