Wavves: 'First Few Weeks of Recording Sucked'

Stephen Pope of Wavves on why it took so long to write the title track to their new album.
Wavves © Erik Voake/Red Bull Media House
By Richard S. Chang

Much has been made about Wavves spending a solid year recording their new album ‘Afraid Of Heights’ (Mom + Pop) without the help of a label, but bassist Stephen Pope told me last week before the band's show at Red Bull Sound Select Presents Los Angeles (and 24 hours after they'd returned from tour) about some of the darker moments of that year -- and how the band pulled themselves out of it.

Stephen Pope of Wavves © Erik Voake/Red Bull Media House

"We were all kind of nervous."

"The first few weeks of recording – sucked," Pope said. "We didn’t get anything good done. I think we were all kind of nervous. That was the beginning of 2012, I think. We just kind of – I don’t know if we were trying to experiment too much or we kept trying out different ways of approaching recording the same song and we did that for like two weeks, and then we all finally realized that the song we were trying to do just kind of sucked and that’s why it wasn’t working. But then we demoed out ‘Afraid Of Heights’ and just that one song after we did that we kind of got in the flow of things, and that’s when it clicked that we were kind of on to something."

"We kept redoing the guitars over and over again."

When I asked if 'Afraid Of Heights' came out easily or not, Pope revealed that the band actually worked on the song, off and on, for the entire year. "That’s the first song that we started that we actually kept on the album," he said. "We started on that in January – and we worked on it all year. We changed it up so much, just cause I think, maybe, I don’t know, we felt closest to that song, so we kept redoing the guitars over and over again. And just because we kept learning more as we recorded, like six months later we had figured out better amp combinations for the guitar sound so we would go back to the older songs and redo them."

"We used 20 different guitars."

Would you rerecord the whole thing or just some overdubs? I asked. "Mainly certain parts," Pope replied. "I think the bass was the original bass that we did. And the drums might be the same drums. Mainly guitar sounds – we used 20 different guitars and we just kept getting different amps. Time helps in that way in that you can keep trying different stuff. But it can also hurt you because you can go a little bit crazy in how much stuff you try."

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