Photo by Lauren Dukoff
OYL is our reflection on past artists we've picked for filming, and how those acts have grown or changed in the year since we first captured them on camera.
We filmed Wavves at Market Hotel, a DIY venue that used to exist in Brooklyn, with a crowd of maybe two hundred people. One year and a new album later, Nathan Williams will open up for Dirty Projectors and Phoenix at one of the most significant venues in the entire country. "When you find out you're playing Madison Square Garden, it's pretty crazy", Williams told me when we caught up with him earlier this week. "It's like a fluke to me or something."
This past year has seen his greatest success, King Of The Beach
rise to universal adoration. King
is a record splicing his post-post punk, rambunctious aesthetic to a thinking man's scuzz party, all while maintaining his penchant for boyish fun, smoking weed, and not giving a sh*t (but that is just my take). No matter what the jargon, Wavves is whatever Williams wants it to be. "Who is to say what Wavves sounds besides me really? If Wavves is a rap group now, then that's what Wavves sounds like, that's what it is. If it's a freakout acid jazz group then that's Wavves."
When it comes to authenticity, there isn't a better way of saying it — Williams makes the music he wants to make.
"When you do something like this, people want to describe what it is. And it's not a bad thing, but it does kind of put you into a corner" he said. "When it comes to the actual record that I made, I care about it like a child. I don't care about anything else...even if people think that I'm an a*shole or whatever, which I probably am, at least you can tell that I really care about the music."
This 'child' has seen nearly universal love from tastemakers as well, and not just us. Pitchfork, Paste, The Onion AV Club, and even more mainstream outlets like Billboard and Spin sang its praises.
"King Of The Beach
had more time and energy put into it" he told me, "for the first two record I was kind of going for off the cuff. For this one... I thought it would be better to actually sit down with the song structure, instead of just verse chorus verse chorus." The organization isn't immediately evident with Wavve's oft-cited sloppiness. Compared with some of the mesmerizingly chaotic tunes from the Market Hotel show, it does seem a bit more composed, but not by much. Williams wanted to make the record for himself, and wound up making himself the record — King Of The Beach
is fun, loud, irreverent, and genuine.
That's why stadiums are not typical Wavves fare. Williams makes music that functions best on an interactive level. "The best shows for me are the ones that are intimate and have some sort of relationship between you and the crowd. I can imagine not being able to make out a face in the crowd is going to be weird. I feel like it's like being in jail and talking through the glass." Market Hotel was the perfect spot for a band like Wavves, and we're psyched to have captured the footage. As Market Hotel has been shut down (it went dark in April of this year), and Wavves gains a larger audience, it's suddenly become a moment in time worth preserving.
Album Review: King Of The Beach
Wavves at Market Hotel (9/25/09)