With the Falls Festival and Southbound tours kicking off just after Christmas, we’re faced with the exciting opportunity in welcoming some of our favourite bands and artists back to Australia. Some of them have only just been out this way on other festivals or headline tours of their own, some are making their debut and some, like Wavves, are making their much-anticipated return.
For the Californian rockers, 2015 has already seen them jet around the world with album number five, V, possibly housing some of the band’s most visceral material yet. It’s a killer outing that toes the line between well-loved indie and chaotic pop punk and, true to Wavves form, the material has already been popularly received through some incredibly successful live shows.
Songwriter and lead vocalist Nathan Williams reflects on the band’s recent tour through Europe and the UK and the response to V so far as being one of the best they’ve ever had.
“We did a little UK and Europe tour, which was really fun.” he says. “Probably our best crowds we’ve ever had over there. The crowds were all a lot bigger than crowds we’ve played to there before, so that was part of it. Just the enthusiasm of the kids and because, when we first started doing the tour, the record hadn’t actually come out yet but people were streaming it. People knew every word to most of the songs and that was pretty cool. They were fun, positive crowds of kids just going fucking crazy.”
Now five albums in, the progression of the Wavves sound indicates that clearly, the band has matured as a result of years spent on the road and feeling out a formula that brings them over the line successfully each time in studio. With V, Williams notes the change in the Wavves creative process, especially with Alex Gates and Stephen Pope becoming more involved in the song writing process itself.
“We recorded the record live,” Williams says. “I guess, at this point, every record I’ve done has been a little different. The first couple were done in my parents’ garage and for this one, it was different in that it was more of a group effort, I want to say. Stephen and Alex both have writing credits on a couple of songs and that was super helpful for me, it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Also, it just offered different perspectives. People keep asking me about the lyrical content and sometimes they think it’s all about me, which normally I suppose it is…I am a protagonist in the narrative of most Wavves songs, but on some of the other ones it’s not necessarily the case. “Way Too Much” was one Alex and I wrote together and “Heavy Metal Detox” was one Stephen and I wrote together. This record is drawing from a lot of all our experiences, as opposed to just my own.”
“Prior to this,” he continues. “My only problem was, where you get into a situation where you’re writing for other people and they’re hard headed, you’re not going to get anything done because you end up arguing. That happens with a lot of bands that have multiple writers and for this one in particular, what we did was, we’d send demos back and forth multiple times and I would add a part and then Alex would add a part…by the time we went in to record it, we already knew because we had a skeleton of all the songs. It was [then] just about agreeing on sounds and tones and sometimes song structure stuff. It was definitely helpful to have them.”
On returning to Australia with V in tow, there’s an impression given that fans out this way are going to get see Wavves doing their thing better than we’ve seen before. Williams is enthusiastic about recent shows and their upcoming trip – a revitalised approach to live shows and reconnecting with fans on the other side of the globe has him keen to get back out to Australia, a territory he feels a strong bond with.
“The thing I love the most about touring in general is when we get to go back to Australia,” he comments. “I think it’s kind of across the board with everyone in this band, we just love Australia. I definitely don’t say that about other places, I’m not full of shit, I promise! Australia definitely has things that are similar to California for me and so I don’t get homesick when I’m touring in Australia, I just feel like I’m home already. It’s just fun and I love the crowds in Australia, the people are always rowdy.”
“I don’t know about the other guys,” Williams says. “But the best part for me has been seeing people know the words already. That’s been my favourite part; seeing them react, they know when the chorus is coming or whatever it is. That’s pretty cool.”
Wavves are touring Australia through December and January! Catch them at the following venues:
December 28th – January 1st | Falls Festival, LORNE
December 29th – January 1st | Falls Festival, MARION BAY
December 31st – January 2nd | Falls Festival, BYRON BAY
January 2nd | Oxford Art Factory, SYDNEY
January 3rd | Max Watt’s, MELBOURNE