Every now and then you’ll see a listing for a band you like, but the words “DJ set” will be encased in a set of parentheses after the band’s name. These two words serve as an obvious warning so you won’t be disappointed if you’re expecting the band to play their own hits live. But those two words don’t properly warn you that you may also be disappointed by the band’s DJ skills.
“It was literally a room-clearing set,” remarks Wavves singer Nathan Williams about one such stint he did in Toronto this past weekend. There is more than a trace of excitement in his voice as he recounts the gory details.
“People were booing us,” he says. “It was actually a really good DJ set, but they didn’t like it. We played Powerman 5000, Korn, Bobby McFerrin, Sugar Ray. … I think with this one in particular, they wanted us to play like Ratatat or some indie dance music, so we decided to go for an experimental set, and then we did karaoke over all of the songs.”
There’s always been a fun snottiness about Wavves and this prank is typical of Williams’ approach.
“You’ve gotta keep people on their toes,” he says.
When asked to open up about topical specifics of “Afraid of Heights,” the new Wavves album, Williams offers little insight.
“I try not to think about almost anything that I write,” he says. “I prefer it to just come out and be whatever it is, almost like stream of consciousness.”
If it sounds like he’s coming across like a punk, he is. But that’s fitting enough. And like Wavves’ music, there’s something affable about this smug punk delivery. When asked how his band are treating the live performance of the occasionally more sophisticated songs of “Afraid of Heights,” it’s telling what he shares first.
“They’re harder to play drunk,” he says.
The Coast is clear?
When asked if he thinks people will read into any relationship lyrics about his own public relationship with Best Coast singer Bethany Cosentino, Williams counters that there are no lyrics about relationships on the current album.
“People are going to think whatever they’re going to think and you can’t change that,” he says. “It doesn’t matter anyways.”