Earlier today, Wavves announced their new album You’re Welcome with two new tracks, and shortly after the band sent out a press release in which Nathan Williams explains why they parted ways with Warner Bros. Records, who put out their last two albums, 2013’s Afraid Of Heights and 2015’s V. Here’s why they started taking meetings in the first place, per Williams:
We were just trying to go to eat at nice places in LA. There were a few people from majors who would not stop reaching out to us. They were obsessed. They thought we had heat and they needed an edgy big rock band like they used to have in the ’90s. Me and Stephen were in our shitty apartments, Googling ‘nicest restaurants in LA’. We went to eight or nine dinners. At the end we’d say, ‘not interested’.
However, after accepting a deal with Warners for “a cash advance too good to refuse,” things took a turn:
We still owned all of our shit, which was the most important part for us. For them it was a shot in the dark. […] I figured it would run the same as [prior label] Fat Possum, just with more people. I was wrong. […] I’d never come in contact with such a poorly run company in my life. It was anarchy. Nobody knew what they were doing. Turnover rate was like an American Apparel. It was really all cons – unless you’re a cash cow. For everyone else, major labels can’t help you. Maybe at one time they could, but that time is dead.
Williams has gone public about his distaste for the label in the past. He leaked V’s lead single “Way Too Much” before it was scheduled to be released, sending his label scrambling to officially roll out that album. “its so obnoxious to work tirelessly on something and then have a bunch of ppl who just see me as a money sign go and fuck it all up,” he wrote in a series of now-deleted tweets. “its nauseating tbh i spend 365 days a year in a studio making songs and ppl at warner still think they are gonna call the shots on my art.”
Over the past few years, Williams has focused on establishing his own Ghost Ramp label, and now he’s putting out his new album through that instead of Warner Bros. “I figured if these idiots could get by, we could do it a hundred times better,” he says in the press release.
Wavves isn’t the only rock band that has run into problems with Warner Bros. JEFF The Brotherhood were dropped from the label in the middle of the rollout for their 2015 album Waiting On A Dream, and they talked to us about that in an interview, and it seems like both bands had similar issues.