While most of his friends back in San Diego are busy smoking weed, playing video games, skateboarding, and complaining of boredom, 22-year-old Nathan Williams is busy writing and singing songs about smoking weed, playing video games, skateboarding, and being bored. It’s an irony not lost on the boyish-looking Southern California native, who, these days, is better known by the musical nom de plume Wavves. “In the back of my mind, I always knew that I would be miserable if I wasn’t playing music, but I had resigned myself to just being miserable,” says Williams, who taught himself to play guitar in his teens and started Wavves as a solo project after finding that the group dynamic of a band wasn’t to his liking. “I started recording music by myself because it was easier,” he admits. “Now this is my job, and it’s really fucking weird.”
Even though he’s only been playing music as Wavves since early 2008, Williams has already amassed a formidable body of work in the form of two full-length albums (Wavves and Wavvves, respectively, which are out on Woodsist and Fat Possum Records), a handful of seven-inch singles, and enough hyperbolicblog praise to pique the interest of every indielabel this side of the Pacific Ocean. It’s no small feat considering that Williams’s music—scuzzed-out home-recorded surf rock that marries sunny ’60s-pop leanings with gothy dirtbag SoCal skate punk—is willfully unpolished and obsessed with the most adolescent of concerns. “The idea behind most of what I do still comes from the same place,” explains Williams, who was recently here in New York for the first time to play three packed shows on three consecutive nights. “It’s about disaffected, California teen living. It’s about repetition. It’s about drinking the same beer at the same place with the same people every night and working the same shitty job with the same asshole boss every day. Everyone can relate to that.”
It would seem that life these days forWilliams is decidedly less boring now that Wavves has sprouted legs and taken off. He will spend most of 2009 touring the world before eventually heading back to California and the relative comforts of his parents’ pool house, which he still calls home. “I’m having the total fucking time of my life right now with all this traveling,” he says. “But I’m still the happiest when I’m home alone, smoking weed and playing video games. For some reason, that’s the kind of person I turned into.”
Above: Nathan Williams (Wavves) in New York, February 2009. Sweater: Polo Ralph Lauren. Fragrance: Polo Double Black. Styling: Miguel Enamorado. Grooming: Benjamin Puckey/See Management. Special thanks: Shoot Digital.
Check out his MySpace for a list of upcoming shows.