By the time you read this, Los Angeles surf rock band Wavves will have released their new studio album, “Afraid of Heights.” With no label support, Wavves is going for a completely DIY approach, paying for the album on their own. In 2010, their album “King of the Beach” set the bar for fuzzed-out, beach-bum garage rock music and inspired numerous copycats who just didn’t match up to the band’s songwriting skills. With this new album, they’re aiming for something completely different. FPH had the pleasure of speaking with bassist Stephen Pope about a number of topics, including being labeled a weed band, being kicked out of the VMAs, conspiracy theories, and so much more.
How was SXSW for you guys? You played seven shows in five days.
I’m disgusting right now, but I’m OK.
I saw someone just posted on the Wavves’ Twitter account that you don’t remember playing last night. What DO you remember from last night?
Yeah, apparently I don’t. I sort of remember. I know it was a Dr. Martens event and I remember there being a Doc Martens sign on the stage. I remember crowd surfing 30 minutes before we even played. I remember eating a Double Quarter Pounder with cheese and 10 McNuggets and then let out a big sigh before I went to sleep. It was like that last breath you hear when somebody dies.
In almost every article written about your band, journalists talk about how much weed you guys smoke. Does being labeled as a weed band ever bother you?
Not really. I think it’s kinda cool. Weed bands have dedicated followers. I mean, I guess we smoke weed. We’re definitely potheads. I mean, there are more of them in the crowd than there are of us.
You’re taking Fidlar out on the road with you and they’ve put out my favorite album at the moment. How’d that tour combination come together and what are your thoughts on the band?
Yeah, we’re meeting up with them tomorrow in Dallas. We’re friends with them. We like their band a lot, so we asked them to come on tour. I love their new album.
The new record is coming out on Mom + Pop Music. How has the experience of recording this album with a label versus the self-released “Life Sux EP” differed?
We didn’t have a label while we were recording it. We purposely did that. We wanted to finish the album, make the album that we wanted before shopping it around to labels. The writing process was way different. We did “Life Sux” by ourselves, but we went in and did that in one week. With this one, we worked with a producer, John Hill, who did some work with Rihanna and Santigold, and we recorded for an entire year without any label support. I think we had a lot more freedom this time because we HAD so much time.
Nathan said he paid for the album’s sessions out of pocket. Was the deal done with the label strictly for promotional and distribution reasons?
It was because we needed to get our money back. We spent the entire year not knowing if we were going to have any money because we were spending it all on the album and not really getting paid. We were broke. But, since we got to do an album ourselves, we were able to set our own terms. We wrote out what we wanted in a deal and then we shopped that deal around.
You got some publicity for getting kicked out of the VMAs in 2011. What’s the real story behind that?
Nathan and I were outside the premises trying to sneak in champagne and lots of weed. I guess I got too drunk, again. I’m a loser. I guess I was looking pretty conspicuous. I got stopped by the LAPD because I was smoking a blunt while I was presenting my ticket for the Awards. So, the LAPD stopped me – it wasn’t even security – I hadn’t got to that point yet. They put me in what I guess was a drunk tank, it was this little holding cell, for an hour while Nathan sat next to Metta World Peace and watched the VMAs. I didn’t even get in. I got to the first area, walked the red carpet, and then I got arrested.
Is NBA Jam the greatest arcade game ever made?
No. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but I’d say Street Fighter or Street Fighter II is the greatest arcade game ever made. It IS a great arcade game, but I started playing it on Super Nintendo and that’s the version I like the best.
What’s your favorite conspiracy theory?
I’ve got a lot of favorites. I think people that smoke weed are really into conspiracy theories for some reason. I like the ones about the chemicals in our food, how the FDA doesn’t label our food correctly – actually, I don’t know what I’m talking about. Chem trails – I like that one.
When the aliens land, what one thing would you show them that you think would explain exactly what humans are all about?
Definitely “Bill and Ted.” There are some things in that movie that show exactly what I’m all about.