​Wavves' Nathan Williams Reveals Plans for Collab LP with Rapper Antwon, Goes Deep on Intense Fan Connection

​Wavves' Nathan Williams Reveals Plans for Collab LP with Rapper Antwon, Goes Deep on Intense Fan Connection
Photo: Alexandra Gavillet
Having released a collaborative album with Cloud Nothings this year, Nathan Williams has already put out another. Late last week, he delivered V, his fifth album as Wavves (in which he's now joined by bassist Stephen Pope and guitarist Alex Gates). Now, Williams has revealed to Exclaim! that he's also working on a third new album: a collaboration between rapper Antwon and Williams' hip-hop production project with his brother Joel, Sweet Valley.
"I'm in the studio, recording an album with a San Jose rapper named Antwon. Me and Joel — it's Sweet Valley and Antwon," he explains. "We made all the beats, and I just became partners in this studio in downtown L.A., so we're kind of stepping up our game now. [Antwon's] in the vocal booth, and I just stepped out to do this interview."
Though he didn't give more information, he did open up about his fans and their relation to the music he makes, in anticipation of V (out now on Ghost Ramp/Warner Bros.). Following slight delays, Williams says, "I want people to hear it! That's why I made it in the first place — that's the endpoint, what it all leads up to. I'm not making it so I can listen to it alone in my room by myself."
At least part of that is due to the fact that Williams understands, more than ever, the intense connection his fans have with Wavves. As he explained in a long, heartfelt response:
I think I'm becoming more aware of it in the past year. I used to just fuck around with it because it'd be like, "Oh shit, I have like hundreds of thousands of followers on social media platforms! I should pass some time in the van!" or whatever. But I played the Troubadour the night before last and a kid came up to me afterwards and was crying to me, telling me that he attempted suicide last year, and Afraid of Heights was what got him through his bout with depression and he's doing better now.
We generally don't take ourselves too seriously in this band, and we like to have a good time. We're happy and excited that we get to do this for a living. But when stuff like that comes — sometimes people tweet that stuff, which is cool but a little less personal — but when someone is crying to me and explaining to me that I helped them through potentially killing himself, it becomes a lot more serious and real. It makes you examine the work you're doing as well, because I don't want to ever disappoint anyone musically, but also you realize it's not just about you.
It's not just about us selling out a show or whatever. It's about these people that are making a connection to the things that I write. Even like — there was a line in "Green Eyes": "My own friends hate my guts, so what, who gives a fuck?" And I remember thinking to myself, I thought the line was kind of cheesy, and I was trying to take it off the song, and the guy who was producing it, Dennis Herring, basically forced me to keep it. And I remember playing that song live afterwards, and people really responding to that, and I think that's when I kind of noticed that I enjoyed kind of being bare bones and letting people see all my flaws, because it's a better connection.
People can see that I'm human. I'm not going to put up some front. I have problems — I probably have more problems than most people. And it seems like, generally speaking, with a lot of kids, it helps them to know that other people are going through the same shit they are.