Thursday, January 26, 2012

WAVVES & Former Jay Reatard & The Reatards Bassist Stephn Pope "Just Wants His Pants Back" (The Witzard Interview)

(1.) I'm currently reading David Rosen's companion book, on which the TV show is based. Being a fresh-out-of-college writer at a similar life stage as the main character - Jason, I can relate very well to his short-comings. What's your take on I Just Want My Pants Back's overall story? I have not read the book but I did get to see a bunch of scenes in the first season when we were writing the music for it. As far as I can tell it's pretty dead on about how people our age act. Everybody is depressed. Everybody "self-medicates" with drinking and drugs. And everybody f*cks everybody in their social group. (2.) So, what was your first experience composing a score like? Maybe describe the writing process a little bit for the fans. It only took a few days to do this. The first day was definitely really awkward. Nathan and I sat in a room with like 15 different people involved with the show and watched scenes from the first season over and over again. There were writers, producers, directors, actors, etc. etc. etc. Nathan and I stepped outside to go smoke weed in my car and we were both just like, "This is so fucking weird!" We decided to make a few calls from the parking lot to get everybody in the studio to LEAVE. We sat in my car for like 2 hours and didn't go back in until everybody but the music director and engineer left. This made for a much more comfortable environment then we were able to get down to business. We recorded probably 20 different 30 second snippets of songs, then maybe 5 full songs. Nate put vocals on some too, but it was mostly all instrumental. I think they're going to use some old previously recorded WAVVES songs also.

(3.) After your hard-partying ways and past run-in with the people at MTV... were you surprised that they invited you back to work on music for a high-profile, new series? Hahahaha. Luckily I don't think MTV cared that much that I got kicked out of the VMA's. It was the hired security and LAPD who were not happy. Plus doesn't sneaking in weed/booze and getting out of hand kind of go along with what MTV is these days? (4.) Remember when MTV actually used to play music videos!? - Care to name a few of your personal favourites from "back in the day?" I really like all the Foo Fighters videos: "My Hero" and "Everlong" are both great. Meat Puppets "Backwater," Weezer "Buddy Holly," Beastie Boys videos are awesome too: "Intergalactic" and "Sabotage," Busta Rhymes "Gimme Some More," Ol' Dirty Bastard "Baby I Got Your Money."

(5.) I heard that WAVVES are working on new material! King of The Beach was great, man! What's the status of the new album and when might we be able to hear some of it? Nathan and I are recording right now. We're using a producer but I don't know if I can say who it is yet. It's going to be awesome, though. We're taking a whole new approach at things while still maintaining a "WAVVES sound." It'll hopefully be out this Summer but we'll see. We've just started recording. (6.) Did you find it difficult to write short-form score snippets, as opposed to your usual full-length tracks? How were the two processes similar/different? It wasn't difficult at all. The biggest difference in the approach we took to writing was a lot of the stuff didn't need vocals. A lot of times I'll play bass off of the vocal melody or vice-avers, so we didn't do that this time.

(7.) How was it trying to write music to go along with a theme/scene... some scenes which I guess might be pretty emotionally-driven or comedy-filled? Not very hard actually. Lots of just like "OK, let's play this one slow and make it sound dark." (8.) Question I've been asking people a lot lately: What were some of your favorite new artists/albums of 2011? Smith Westerns, Yuck, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Mikal Cronin...

(9.) What's the most surreal, zany thing you've experienced during your time with WAVVES? It just happened: The Weezer Cruise was so surreal because my 2 favorite bands growing up were Weezer and Dinosaur Jr. And I just spent 4 days on a giant boat with them drinking fruity drinks out of coconut shells. (10.) What's your fondest memory of late friend and former bandleader, Jay Reatard? Hmmmmmm... One day we went and got a full day "couples package" at a spa after buying purple velvet suits. We spent the entire day drinking champagne, getting massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, and a 2-hour private hot tub with chocolates and rose petals. We were drunk and happy the entire time.

(11.) Heathcliff Berru manages and does PR for a lot of relevant Indie Rock bands that I personally know and love! What's it really like working, PARTYING, and hanging out with him? Working with Heathcliff is awesome because he's one of the few people in the "industry" who is close to our age and that we actually like hanging out with. He's always down to party, too. (12.) Are you currently working on any other projects [or side projects] which you'd like to talk about, man? EXCLUSIVE details? ha Right now I'm devoting most of my time to WAVVES. My old band, The Barbaras, is in the process of mixing an album that Jay Reatard recorded. We thought that the recordings had been lost but we ended up finding them on one of his old recorders so I'm pretty excited that it will finally come out (we recorded it about 3 years ago).

Thanks for doing this interview, bud! It's been a true pleasure dealing with you and Heathcliff! Take your time with the questions and I can't wait to read your replies... But I'd really like to have this post online before or in conjunction with the Feb. 2 debut of I Just Want My Pants Back [after Jersey Shore].
Thanks! I'm barely functional right now since I got back from the Weezer Cruise. Hope these answers make some sort of sense!

- Stephen

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