We got to chat with Chevelle Wiseman of Guantanamo Baywatch about the band’s new album Desert Center, their influences, and the making of their video, “Video.”

Guantanamo Baywatch

Guantanamo Baywatch (Left to Right: Chris Scott (drums), Chevelle Wiseman (bass), and Jason Powell (guitars and vocals).

What made you guys want to start this amazing band? And how did you come up with your name?
Jason [Powell] and I went to art school together in Portland and were both huge fans of surf music. I guess he was out completely wasted with some friends thinking of the worst band names they could. So then I get a text at like 1:00 A.M. from him asking if I wanted to start a surf band called “Guantanamo Baywatch.”

Congratulations on the new album Desert Center! The new songs sound amazing! Where did the inspiration come from for this album?

Thanks! Jason was living out in Mesa, Arizona working concrete while he began to write the album. So I think a lot of the songs were written while he was actually jackhammering or pouring concrete in the billion degree heat. Then me and Chris [Scott]moved out there for a month and lived at his house in a retirement community on a golf course. There was absolutely nothing else to do but just tear through the songs all day.

What has been your favorite or most notable show you’ve played so far this year?

Billabong brought us out to Bali for a show! We were only there for two days but it was absolutely the most amazing experience. We drank some coffee that was pooped out by mongooses and went to a monkey forest. The show was right on the beach while the sun set behind us. It was so unreal!

The music video for “Video” is amazing! What was the thought process for making that video?
We knew we were gonna make it ourselves but we kinda had no clue about anything besides that. We bought a fancy camcorder, rented a generator from Home Depot and got a bunch of tequila and went out to the Superstition Mountains in Arizona and just went for it. It was around 115 [degrees] during the daytime shots!

Who are you guys jamming to in the tour van these days?

Juice Newton.

Who are some of your biggest influences?

Johnny Burnette has always been an artist we listened to a lot. He has so many crazy weird songs and even the little demos he’s done are pretty fantastic. Lately we’ve been listening to a lot of country music, guys like Dwight Yoakam have always been a huge influence.

I heard you guys are playing the Liverpool Psych Fest this year, who’s your favorite psych band to listen to?

Ming Tea.

Be sure to catch this surf-rock trio tonight, August 24th, at Blonde Bar and take a listen to their brand new album, Desert Center, here.

Interview By: Nicholas Regalado