By Paul McAleer
CALGARY – The latest Wavves record You’re Welcome is a departure from their garage and pop-punkish earlier work, featuring borderline disturbing samples and constant surprises like “Come to the Valley,” a song that evokes a carnival on an acid trip. The album still sounds like the band we know them to be, takes more risks than a major label would have ever allowed.
You’re Welcome is the first Wavves album released on Ghost Ramp, frontman Nathan Williams’ record label.
Although Williams created Wavves as an individual project in 2008, bassist Stephen Pope has been involved with the band since 2009. Pope says the band is enjoying the freedom of being independent compared to being signed with Warner Bros. Records.
“We didn’t have to get approved before we put it out. With Warner, we had to submit the album and they would be like, ‘oh, I think the tracklisting should be like this.’ It’s exactly how we wanted it to be. Had we been on a different label, they might have been skeptical about some of the oddball songs.”
So far, You’re Welcome is one of the band’s highest rated albums on Metacritic. The recording process involved each band member working individually before figuring out how to piece together the good ideas.
“We made a conscious effort to not make every song like a rock song. We wanted to base a lot of them on loops and beats. This one was a little more fun because we had to get out of our comfortable element and play different styles.”
While a lot of material didn’t make the final cut, including a handful of hardcore-influenced tracks similar to “No Shade,” Pope says we’ll get to hear some of it eventually.
Other than turning vegans into sushi lovers in celebration of new albums, Pope says his favourite aspect of touring is the second they step out on stage, the place he credits most of his exercise to.
“We’ve been fortunate to have really good fans, they’re really energetic. Most of the time they’re younger than we are and have more energy. I think we feed off each other’s energy… It’s pretty fun to watch a little kid who’s never been to a show try to stage dive and hopefully get caught. Sometimes they do it wrong and they go headfirst and just end up belly flopping to the ground.”
Pope says the band hasn’t changed since they first started, but their live shows have improved immensely. No one is shooting each other glares because they played the wrong note anymore, and they’re not getting as drunk before shows.
“We’re pretty much the same people, we still do the same things that we did back then. But maybe we’ve slowed down a bit. Hangovers are worse now.”
Wavves plays The Palace Theatre on June 22 as part of Sled Island. You’re Welcome is out now.Sled Island, Sled Island 2017, The Palace Theatre, Wavves