2010 was the year that Twi-hards went crazy over the confirmation of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart’s relationship and Lady Gaga wore THAT meat dress. It was also a great year for music. Kanye released My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Arcade Fire with The Suburbs, Robyn gave us Body Talk and Tame Impala made their debut with Innerspeaker.
Over in San Diego California, Nathan Williams, was one half of the “Indie It” couple with Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino, and having wild success with his third album, King of the Beach, which featured the couples cat Snacks on the cover, for his indie-rock outfit Wavves.
With glorious tracks ‘Green Eyes’, ‘Post Acid’, the title track ‘King of the Beach’ and ‘Stained Glass (Won’t Let Me Into Yr Heart)’ leading the charge, King of the Beach was the start of a new era for Williams, moving out of mums basement and into the recording studio with Dennis Herring.
“I actually didn’t really know who he was. [My team] said he had done one of the Modest Mouse records which I thought was cool. I went and looked through his stuff and I think I said no originally because I had seen some of the last records he had done, like some Christian rock and I was like ‘eh I don’t think that will really work out’ and eventually they talked me into it,” Williams recalls.
Herring, who had won two Grammys and produced platinum and gold records for the likes of The Hives, Elvis Costello, Counting Crows and the aforementioned Modest Mouse, would go on to produce King of The Beach, introducing Williams to the world of studio recording and the opportunities it presents.
“The records on the wall weren’t really a big deal to me or anything, but I was mostly excited about the equipment he had and what I would be able to use to record my own stuff. I would start to get ideas around instruments and the board he had,” Williams explains. “I didn’t have any money at that point, so even just to use his guitars – I was like a kid in a candy shop! There’s a song on the record, ‘When Will you Come’ which Stephen (Pope) was sick so I got to fool around and wrote the song on the spot and I got to play the drums myself and the bass and some of the instruments in there. It was exciting!”
The SoCal singer also notably restrained the reverb and distortion on his vocals for the album which was met by mixed reviews from fans and from friends.
“I remember I played a rough mix of the album to friends of mine in San Diego at the time and they were like ‘This sucks, it’s going to ruin your career’. At that point it wasn’t cool to write a song that you could hear and understand,” he says.
The risk was worth it. The album, which was leaked and consequently released early, holds up 10 years later and will be celebrated on an anniversary tour where King of the Beach will be played in full length with fan favourites.
“I’d say maybe three to six of the songs have been somewhere in the set when the album came out but a few of them are very rarely played. Even when we did do them, I don’t think we did them much justice live, so it will be great to revisit them all.”
Wavves brings King of the Beach to Melbourne Thursday 2 April at Corner Hotel!
Written by Tammy Walters