Wavves returns with Afraid of Heights
By W. C. Ruffnel
Photo: Wavves perform in Columbus on April 2 with new album Afraid of Heights; photo credit; Cat Roif
Wavves have been indie darlings for, like, a minute now. Their previous album King of the Beach was released in 2010 to glowing reviews by everyone in the blogosphere, having been especially championed by the tastemakers at Pitchfork. While not really making much of a dent in the charts, when the Life Sux EP was released in 2011, it floated to the Billboard Heatseekers chart at number 11 in a dense cloud of weed smoke and much rejoicing. Their newest release, Afraid of Heights, promises to be the same Wavves the Internet likes: the catchiest brand of indie-punk noisy-surf that leaves twenty-somethings creating Spotify playlists and any self-described “Internet musicologist” writing a blog. I called the band to find out some information on their new tour – I didn’t know who was who, but I did know they were all in Wavves (allegedly).
Can you tell me about Afraid of Heights?
(laughing) It’s really good. It comes out March 26. Uh…
How long did it take you to record Afraid of Heights?
Over a year. Maybe like a month and a half off in that time period.
Are you happy with it?
Uh, well, we wouldn’t release it if we weren’t happy with it. We spent a lot of time making sure we were.
How was working with Jenny Lewis?
It was good. She came in for two days and sang some background vocals. Nice girl. I met her a year ago.
Does she smoke a lot of weed, too?
I wouldn’t say a lot.
Would you say you smoke a lot of weed?
(laughing) Uh, yeah. I smoke a lot of weed.
When did you switch to Mom + Pop Records?
Basically, they seemed like a good fit, made the best offer after we had shopped the album around.
Are you looking forward to Pitchfork’s review of your album?
I don’t know. I mean, yeah, I’m looking forward to it unless it’s really bad.
Are you just kickin’ it and smoking weed right now?
I can’t, I have a sinus infection. Too many cigarettes this weekend.
What city are you least looking forward to playing on your tour?
That’s not really a fair question to ask. We can answer that after the tour.
What city have you played that later turned out to be shitty?
(laughter) I played a show in Louisville, Ky. one time and the plumbing had burst. The whole basement was filled with feces. They didn’t cancel the show on time and only one person showed up. We still played to get our $20 guarantee.
Have you been to Dayton?
Yeah, we’ve never played there before though. This isn’t a negative way to say this, but I love small shitty towns like Dayton. People are more genuine there. Any town where you can get a beer for like a dollar is awesome.
Would you describe yourself as difficult?
No, I’m pretty easy going I think. Do you think you’re difficult?
You seem pretty easy going.
Thanks. You’ve recorded by yourself and in the studio – which do you prefer?
Recording at home is limited. A studio is better. I’m not good at Pro-Tools so it’s good to have an engineer.
Do you keep up with stuff that’s written about you?
My dad keeps up to date – he forwards everything he finds. He takes all the pictures of us and keeps a file and then prints them out on a shitty inkjet printer and makes a scrapbook. I knew this girl who used to do the same thing – she’d print out really bad pictures of herself and make these books and give them to me. She kind of looked like Gwen Stefani. With braces.
Is Liquid Swords the best hip-hop album of all time?
Is Ice Cube the best actor of all time?
Fifteen years ago or today? The answer is “yes” to both of them.
Do you remember when made that album King of the Beach?
No, I don’t remember that.
That was awesome.
Yeah, thanks. Do you remember when you said the love you take is equal to the love you make?
Yes, I do.
Is that true?
I believe it is. What’s your least favorite Chris Farley movie?
Probably “Almost Heroes.” (in background) Oh shit, “Beverly Hills Ninja.”
Do you use your own weed grinders?
Do your cats use your weed grinders, too?
Not yet, no opposable thumbs. They haven’t figured that out yet.
Wavves will perform on Tuesday, April 2 at The Basement, 391 Neil Ave. in Columbus. Also on the bill is FIDLAR and Cheatahs. Tickets are $15 in advance or $17 DOS for all ages. Doors at 7 p.m. For more information, visit wavves.net.
Reach DCP freelance writer W.C. Ruffnel at WCRuffnel@DaytonCityPaper.com.