Wavves – King of the Beach (2010)
San Diego beach-punks Wavves’ brand new album, King Of The Beach, has already received rave reviews from Pitchfork; a great first step following last year’s public meltdown and stinging criticism from members of Black Lips and Psychedelic Horseshit.
King Of The Beach dials down the fuzz to focus on surfy Beach Boy harmonies and nostalgic references to the 80s (Nintendo, Super Soakers, baseball cards).
The pot-fueled cover for the album (my favorite cover of the year) was designed by friend-of-the-band Kelly Seagraves. I caught up with her to talk about her inspirations for the cover.
How’d you get hooked up with Wavves? Did you know them?
Yes, I’ve been friends with Billy Hayes (drummer) and Stephen Pope (bassist) for a pretty long time. I did a mural of Stevie Wonder in Billy’s house while he was on tour with Wavves, and the whole band seemed to like it. When they got done recording the album, Billy suggested that me and his girlfriend, Margaret Graves – who collaborated with me on the cover – come up with something. So we started brainstorming.
What inspiration did you have for the cover? Did you have any specific instructions from the band or the label?
I hadn’t met Nathan when Billy asked us to do the cover, so I just asked him, “Well what does this dude like?” Billy gave me a short list. Weed, California, skateboards, cats. When he told me Nathan had a cat named “Snacks”, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. The cover is essentially a portrait of some dude’s cat, but I wanted him to look ancient. Like something you’d see on an Aztec calendar stone. I gave him a black halo, magical weed leaf, and an All-Seeing Eye to ward off evil. Margaret did the blinged out step-pyramid background.
Everything was kind of inspired by 2012 mysticism and drug culture. Snacks is now totally equipped for the apocalypse. Shamanized.
Take me through your process. Do you freehand, or is it all digital? Or a mixture of both.
I freehand everything, paint it, ink it, scan it, then make it look sharp.
Do you have an all-time favorite album cover?
I guess I’d have to say [Michael Jackson's] Thriller. It’s not fancy, but it’s classic, and something about having that image around makes me feel empowered.
When I look at the King Of The Beach cover, I can’t help but think of World 2 on Super Mario 3. Did you ever beat that game?
Holy shit. That was my favorite level. Mario motifs. Yeah, it’s all subconscious now. Mario life.
Do you have any sketches or drafts or other stuff you didn’t get to use for this (or for the Post-Acid cover) that you’d like to share?
A few things. We did stuff specifically for the inside of the album too, so I hope people check that out. Some of the little patterns and flourishes are from older drawings. You can see that stuff at my blog.
Quick! What’s the best episode of Saved By The Bell?
The one where Jessie freaks out on pills. “I’m so excited! I’m so excited! I’m so scared!” Really hits the nail on the head.
Other work from Kelly: