Jack Tatum has been taking the world of indie pop by storm ever since the 2010 release of his debut full-length LP Gemini, which he wrote, recorded and produced entirely in his college bedroom. With a little luck, a whole lot of talent, and the power of MySpace, today we are blessed with the musical genius that is Jack Tatum, aka Wild Nothing. Now with the help of the studio space and producers, Tatum has released his third full-length LP Life of Pause on Captured Track/Bella Union, and is set to start the touring life once again. With dates including Primavera, Chicago, and Shakey Knees, Life of Pause and Wild Nothing are ready to make their mark on 2016. We at MAT Mag got to sit down with Wild Nothing to discuss all this and more.
The MAT Magazine: Who is Wild Nothing?
Wild Nothing: Wild nothing is me, I guess, Jack Tatum. I make most of the music on the own, and live it’s like a five-piece band.
TMM: How would you explain your band to aliens?
Wild Nothing: Well I’d imagine it’d be pretty difficult, first of all, because of the whole communication factor.
TMM: How did it feel to be a college student approached by Captured Tracks to do a record?
Wild Nothing: It was great, I totally didn’t expect it to happen. I was just working on music at the time super casually. I didn’t really have a plan for a project necessarily. I had come up with the band name, but it was still very much kind of like a recording project I had only made. I think I only made three or four songs for the project when I was approached by Captured, and it was kind of by luck. I had a MySpace and added the label, and at the time the label was so small, and that was still a way a lot of small labels found music. Which sorta seems funny now, but it was a very real thing. I think Mike just happened to see me, something about the band name or the image I had on MySpace struck him and he decided to look into it. I very much lucked out, and it happened at the perfect time for me because I was just getting ready to be done with school. I had just my last year left and I wasn’t totally sure what I was going to do afterwards, and I had no plans or any set goals in mind, so I just really lucked out.
TMM: I know you finished Gemini entirely in your bedroom as a college student, but how was your experience different for you when you got the chance to enter a studio space for your second album for the first time? Do you think it changed the outcome of your music?
Wild Nothing: Yeah, definitely. There’s something about making a record like Gemini, the first record I made, in the way that I made it, which is just entirely on my own with no outside influence really. It was a very personal sort of record to make, and I think after making that record it was exciting but sort of a challenge to go into a studio with a producer. Even having that one other person, having a producer there to kind of bounce ideas off of but also just sort of watch your process, it was a very new thing for me, but it was something that I really enjoyed. Ever since then I’ve really enjoyed working with different producers on each album that I do because it’s nice that everyone has a different approach. There’s no right or wrong way of making a record, which I think is amazing. Especially for someone like me, I’m as interested in production as I am songwriting so I enjoy seeing those different ways people do things.
TMM: How has your sound evolved since the college days of messing around on your laptop?
Wild Nothing: The first record, and the second record even too, was pretty rooted in a certain kind of music I was referencing at the time. A lot of 80s British music, and bands like The Smiths that were kind of like the most influential bands to me at the time. I think since then it’s not like a whole lot has changed really, except I’m more willing to include other music that I like in my own music, and when I started the band it was like, okay this is what I’m doing and this is the kind of music I want to explore. It was a very sort of rigid idea that I had, and I think as I get older, you know, this is what I do. So I want to be able to include more of my interests in it, as opposed to it being just a certain kind of project. Especially since it is just me, it’s not like a band that got formed around some central basis, I’m still the one that’s writing everything. So it kind of made sense to me that, especially with this record, I could kinda start bringing in new ideas and seeing where that took me.
TMM: You can definitely feel the 80s inspiration in your sound, who would you say are your top 80s artists?
Wild Nothing: They’ve fluctuated a lot over the years. You can say 80s artist, but there’s plenty of artists who were making music in the 80s. You could say Bowie is an 80s artists in some ways if you’re looking at Scary Monsters or “Let’s Dance”. I guess of the bands that got formed in the 80s and that people think of as 80s bands I really love Prefab Sprout, I love this band called The Blue Nile, those are kinda like a couple of my favorite bands at the moment, from that era at least.
TMM: What has been your favorite live performance to give thus far in your career?
Wild Nothing: There’s been so many shows that we’ve played over the years. We’ve gotten to play in Tokyo a couple times, which was really amazing, more so for the cultural shock of it all. We’ve had great shows all over the place.
TMM: You’re also set to play Primavera in Spain later this year, can you tell us about your expectations for the festival or your must see acts?
Wild Nothing: We played Primavera I think it must have been in 2012, or maybe even 2013 I can’t remember, so I’m very excited to go back and play it again. There’s a lot of stuff that’s happening this year. The band Air is starting to play a bunch of festivals this summer, they’re playing Primavera, so I’m really excited about that.
TMM: What can we expect next from Wild Nothing?
Wild Nothing: More shows. I’m kind of done writing for a little while, well I’m always writing, but I don’t have any immediate plans to make another record. We haven’t even started playing shows on this one yet, so this will be the first tour that we’ve done in ages. I think the next year for us will just be playing a lot of shows for us, and just focusing on the live show.
Make sure you pick up a copy of Life of Pause immediately to experience some of the best indie-pop available today, and catch Wild Nothing on tour in your city, dates listed below. Stay groovy, friends.
Wild Nothing World Tour Dates
4/20 – San Diego – Casbah – Tickets $
4/21 – Santa Ana – The Observatory – Tickets $
4/22 – San Francisco – The Independent – Tickets $
4/25 – Seattle – The Crocodile – Tickets $
4/26 – Vancouver – Biltmore Cabaret – Tickets $
4/27 – Portland – Doug Fir Lounge – Tickets $
4/28 – Boise – Neurolux – Tickets $#
4/29 – Denver – Bluebird – Tickets $#
5/02 – Minneapolis – Triple Rock Social Club – Tickets $#
5/03 – Chicago – Thalia Hall – Tickets $#
5/04 – Ferndale – The Loving Touch – Tickets $#
5/05 – Toronto – The Opera House – Tickets #
5/07 – Philadelphia – 714 – Tickets
5/08 – New York – Webster Hall – Tickets #
5/09 – Cambridge – The Sinclair – Tickets #
5/11 – Washington, D.C. – Black Cat – Tickets #
5/12 – Richmond – The Broadberry – Tickets #
5/13 – Raleigh – Kings – Tickets #
5/14 – Atlanta – Shaky Knees Festival, Atlantic Station – Tickets
5/15 – New Orleans – Gasa Gasa – Tickets #
5/16 – Austin – The Mohawk – Tickets #
5/18 – Phoenix – Crescent Ballroom – Tickets #
5/20 – Los Angeles – The Regent – Tickets #
6/04 – Barcelona – Primavera Sound Barcelona – Tickets
6/09 – Porto – Primavera Sound Porto – Tickets
6/11 – London – Field Day Festival – Tickets
6/13 – London – Oslo – Tickets
6/14 – Leeds – Belgrave Music Hall – Tickets
6/15 – Glasgow – CCA: Centre for Contemporary Arts – Tickets
6/16 – Manchester – Band on the Wall – Tickets
6/18 – Hilvarenbeek – Best Kept Secret Festival – Tickets
6/20 – Paris – Le Point Ephemere – Tickets
6/22 – Hamburg – Knust – Tickets
6/23 – Berlin – Lido – Tickets
$ – Whitney
# – Charlie Hilton
Words by Katherine Wilburn, Photography by Shawn Brackbill and Katherine Wilburn