Published Jul 25, 2010In May 2009, Nathan Williams, founder and frontman of California lo-fi surf-punk outfit Wavves, found himself at the centre of a media frenzy following an onstage altercation that came to a grinding halt when then-drummer Ryan Ulsh throw his drumsticks at a drug-addled, profanity-spewing Williams before storming offstage. Of course, Williams is only human — he's since admitted his faults, apologized and spent some much-needed time out of the spotlight — so it's only fair that he should be forgiven and allowed to return with a new rhythm section in tow as the primary male progenitor of So-Cal surf-punk or, perhaps, King of the Beach.
That's the title of Wavves' third album, and a clear artistic statement from Williams that he's ready to start again, stronger than before. "There are always going to be people who want you to fail," he says. "With anybody, there are going to be people going 'fuck those guys.' It's something you can't control, so why even care about it?"
With his new outlook came Williams' decision to change things up musically as well, swapping his laptop in favour of a professional studio to record his third album. "I wanted to record an album that didn't sound like my other records," he insists, and that's exactly what he's done it. With King of the Beach, Williams has fearlessly stepped out from behind the veil of fuzzy reverb that obscured his catchy-as-hell songwriting on albums previous and has imbued his songs with unprecedented vigour.
Of course, the question remains: Is Nathan Williams still enjoying making music? My question is answered when the conversation turns suddenly to Cyndi Lauper, and I mention "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." Through an audible smile, Williams wryly responds: "Boys just want to have fun too, my friend."