Vocalist Mikey Carvajal told Billboard magazine about the song: "When I was writing the lyrics, our producer, Cameron Webb, put me in a room by myself and turned on a movie filled with random footage and people surfing in slow motion," he said. "So when I hear the song, that's still what I think about."
"It's a joyful song about the end of the world," Carvajal added. "I also pick on myself a bit because of my love for new wave music like Depeche Mode, New Order."
Mikey Carvajal told Rock Sound magazine: "'New Wave' deals with the idea of watching the world end with someone that is terrified about it, while the other person is celebrating the new beginning through the end."