Q+A: Wavves

Ahead of their first and only New Zealand show – May 3rd at The Kings Arms, The Corner arranged for certified Wavves fanboy Sam Valentine to speak to bassist Stephen Pope. Following an aborted call, Sam finally caught the former Jay Reatard accomplice on a break from studio sessions to discuss the forthcoming Wavves LP, kissing, New Zealand, and of course, weed.

Hey man, how you doing?

I’m good man. How’re you?

Pretty well man. Glad we finally got a chance to talk.

Oh, did you call the other night?


Yeah, that was weird night. Nathan and I were at a party, and my phone ended up getting passed around some people. Our friend Larry Milkshake was being a prankster.

Oh, that’s all good man.

It’s probably good. If you’d gotten hold of me it would’ve been bad (laughs).

What have you been up to today? Doing press?

No, actually Nathan and I just got out of the studio. We’ve been in there for the last two months, and we’re going to be there everyday until we leave for Australia and New Zealand.

Is this for the forthcoming Wavves LP?

It’s for the forthcoming LP, yeah. Possibly a double; we’ve recorded a lot of songs; we’ll see what happens. It’s going to be pretty cool.

Where are you recording, out in LA?

Yeah, Nathan and I are in LA. I moved here about six months ago, so we’re able to write together a lot more which is good. We’re recording at Sonora Studios, with this guy named John Hill. He’s being doing a lot of cool stuff; he’s worked with Devo, Santigold and Rihanna. It’s pretty crazy sounding; it’s a totally new direction for Wavves. It’s still, y’know, ‘a Wavves record’ though.

What’s inspiring the new direction do you think… anything to do with having Jacob [Cooper ex – Mae Shi] and Alex [Gates – Magic Kids] playing with Wavves now? You’ve got two LA kids and two Memphis kids in the band now.

It could be. It’s been really fun having Alex play, y’know, just to even it out a little bit between Memphis and LA. [Alex] is actually still in Memphis right now; he’s coming in town in about a week. We’re going to try to get him to add his influence [to the record] also. It should be really cool. Lot’s of new directions. The new record is a lot more hi-fi than the EP [Life Sucks] we just did, but it’s kind of the next logical step.

When do you guys leave for the tour?

Our manager fucked up and booked us flights like three days earlier, so we fly to New Zealand on April 29th, but we don’t even play until May 3rd.

You guys going be looking to kill sometime before the show then?

Totally. It’s still a fuck-up, cause we’re coming so early, but it’s kind of a good fuck-up cause we get to chill out. Australia and New Zealand are both my favourite places to go. It’s always like a big vacation every time.

When was the last time you were here in NZ?

I went there about three years ago with my old band, Jay Reatard, we did a three day tour with No Age. It was awesome. We hung out with Ryan Adams and Mandy Moore on the beach.

I’m pretty sure Ryan’s a big fan of New Zealand, right? He actually just played here recently.

Oh really? Cool. Yeah, he’s a cool guy. He’s been hanging out with us a lot recently. He came to one our shows, BUGERAMA, with Ty Segal, FIDLAR and OFF. He was just hanging out. I think he’s trying to start a punk band actually.

Any chance of Wavves/Ryan Adams colab in the future you think?

(Laughs) Ha! I don’t know about that. Anything could happen y’know.

I was actually watching some I Just Want My Pants Back this morning. We’re a few months behind here.

Oh yeah…what did you think about it?

It’s um, an interesting show…

Ha. I don’t relate to that show at all. I think its funny thing.

Did you have fun recording the soundtrack? Have you ever done anything like that before?

It was surprisingly easy. Nathan and I went into a studio in West LA for two days, and they just played us clips from the show. They had like a ‘music director’ there, and the guy who wrote the show, and they we’re just like: “Yeah, so this kind of mood would be right here”. And then we just ignored them and did whatever we wanted. I don’t think we know how to write to moods. It ended up working out okay.

Were you surprised that MTV was keen to have you score a show after your incident at the VMA’s?

I was very surprised actually, yes. I’m still surprised that they want to work with us after Pants actually, because during that recording like, the first day, they had people who were actors in the show, directors, camera guys and writers in the recording studio. It was really awkward. We left and refused to go back in until it was just one person. Having twenty people stare at you while you’re trying to write a piece of music sucks.

Is it fun being in Wavves? Surely your life can’t actually suck right?

Well, yeah. It is pretty great. But I’m still horribly depressed.

What are you horribly depressed about?

I’m twenty-six years old, I’m fat (laughs), I drink too much, and I’m bored all the time. When I try to have fun, I just end up sweating and out of breath.

Hey, don’t be so harsh on yourself. I just saw your passport photos for the NZ tour on Twitter. You don’t look too bad for a fat, bored twenty-year old…

Haha. That’s very sweet of you. I still feel like I’m eighty.

How do you kill those feelings of depression then?

I smoke weed, play games with Nathan and we, um, practice kissing

Oh, who’s the better kisser out of you two?

Oh, I’m a much better kisser.

What’s your technique?

Nathan like bites you and immediately goes for the tongue; sloppy and aggressive. He likes kisses you for half a second, and he’s already feeling you up. I like to take it slow and romantic.

You mentioned you use weed to killing boredom. Is hard always being able to indulge that need on tour?

We actually haven’t had a problem yet.

What about Nathan getting arrested in Germany?

Ha, well we manage to always find weed at least. People actually bring us weed to the shows now.

Is that a new level of success you’re pretty happy with?

I couldn’t ask for anything more, really.

How was the Weezer cruise, you just got back recently?

It was a giant blur filled with coconut shells and rum. I don’t even know. There was a night where we had maybe like fifteen or twenty people with us judging a drinking contest. Everybody who wanted to come would submit their own designed drink and then we would all make ourselves that drink, drink it, and then rate it one to ten. And then, y’know, at the end, we’d all chose the best drink. By the end of it, we were fifteen to twenty drinks down in a matter of 45 minutes. Nothing made sense for the rest of the trip. I didn’t even know where I was. I thought I was just watching Wheel of Fortune, but I was really just standing outside naked, and y’know, sweating.

The lady who made the best drink was like seventy years old and she was just on the cruise to cruise. Her drink had coconut, strawberry daiquiri mix, and some kind of vodka. It was awesome.

Maybe you guys could make an official Wavves to drink to sip while rolling with your official papers?

I’m really into Saki bombs right now. Let’s make the Wavves drink a Saki bomb.

I understand you and Nathan are pretty big hip-hop fans. What was it like performing Liquid Swords with GZA?

Man, I still can’t believe that happened. It was crazy. I’ve met GZA a few times since then and I still can’t believe it. Nathan actually hung out with RZA the other night. I sadly didn’t have the honour. I just really want to meet all of Wu-Tang, and Rodney Dangerfield.

I’m pretty sure he’s dead.

Ha, killing my dreams. I think you’re right.

Have you and Nathan ever thought of starting a list of all the celebrities you smoke weed with?

Um, let’s see. I’ve smoked with Courtney Love and Drew Barrymore. Oh, Nathan’s smoked with Metallica and Green Day.

Were you upset to miss that, you’re a big Metallica fan aren’t you?

I am, yeah. I actually ruined my favourite Metallica shirt the other day. I got a little excited; I shot-gunned two energy drinks, started thinking I was Hulk-Hogan and ripped my shirt. I love Metallica.

Are you planning on releasing the Barbara’s album this year?

We’re shooting for that, yeah. Alicia from Lost Sounds and River City Tanlines is handling that. We recorded an LP with Jay Reatard like three years ago and we thought he’d deleted it in a fit of anger, cause that’s what he told us. Then the band kind of dissolved, but Alicia got hold of Jay’s recording machine, and it turned out that the Barbara’s LP was still on there. She’s been mixing it, and it’s been really slow process, but I think Goner’s going to put it out, hopefully this year.

What about the Wavves video game? Is that coming out this year?

It is. It’s almost done; I think it’s going to come out soon. It’s called Weed Demon, basically you play paperboy, as Nathan and I, as drug dealers, and demons try to attack you. It’s really spooky, and in order to kill the last devil, you’ve got to feed him lots of meth. It’s pretty fun.

Is that the kind of thing you do to kill time when you’re not recording, or in the studio?

Nathan and I hangout everyday for some reason even though we hang out everyday when we’re on tour or recording; we’ve been playing golf recently. It’s at this place that’s a giant trash mountain landfill and someone had the bright idea to build a golf course there. It leaks toxic gas out of the landfill, and there’s like rattle snakes and mutated bunnies hopping everywhere.

Is this extreme golf or something?

It’s pretty extreme, yeah. It’s a beautiful place, but it’s also toxic.

There’s probably a metaphor for the whole of Los Angeles in that statement.

Yeah, you can actually see all of LA from the top of the trash mountain. You can smell of the trash that LA has produced too.

It’s cool that you and Nathan hang out everyday though. Has your relationship changed at all since you joined Wavves back in 2010?

I think it feels like I’ve probably seen him everyday since then. I lived in Memphis up until six months ago, but yeah, since I’ve moved to LA it’s been great.

I think I’m nearly out of time, but to finish, are you excited about playing Wavves’ first show in New Zealand?

I can’t wait. It’s my favourite place to be. Since we have a few days there, I’ll probably go and find New Zealand’s version of Trash Mountain and play golf, while looking at mutated sheep.

Cool man, I’m really looking forward to the show, I can finally stop obsessively tweeting at Nathan.

Ooooh! I know you! You’re the ‘Bring Wavves to New Zealand’ guy right?

Ha. Yeah….

Whoa. That’s awesome. I definitely think you played a part in getting us over there.

I’m glad to hear it. Pleasure to talk to you, man.



  1. Awesome interview, Sam!

  2. glad he acknowledged Bring Wavves to New Zealand

  3. DildoWizard_420 says:


  4. Sarah says:

    nice interview

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