Interview: Wild Nothing

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Interview: Wild Nothing

Wild Nothing is the recording project of Virginia born early 20-something Jack Tatum. You may have noticed we’ve been making quite of a fuss of his music of late. Well with forthcoming record ‘Gemini’ already one of our favourite debuts of the year, we’re not about to stop idolising his young at heart, nostalgic leaning bedroom-pop anytime soon. Jack talks to Music Mule about some of our obsessions; music and live music of course.

What is your favourite song to play live?

My favorite song to play live is one we’ve just learned called “Take Me In” which hasn’t been released yet. It’s a bit more abrasive than anything else I’ve done, has a lot more energy and edge I guess haha. It’s also a bit darker so it lets me get my post-punk on sort of.

Do you have a favourite venue to play?

Not yet. We haven’t really been playing live that long so we’ve only played a handful of venues in NYC and Virginia. We got to play the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn which was fun just because it’s a really big venue with a great sound system. But it didn’t have a ton of character or anything. I still prefer playing house shows for friends at the moment.

What is your first memory of playing live?

Hm, I wish I had a cool story but I don’t haha. The first time I played live was a few years ago with my previous band in a basement. We sucked a lot. I mean I guess I had played a couple little acoustic shows and stuff for my friends before that but I don’t know. It’s always been kind of frightening for me until recently.

What does live music mean to you as a performer?

I think it’s something that is definitely necessary and important. At the same time I really feel more comfortable and inspired by the recording side of music. I think that is the reason why I make music in the first place and performing is kind of secondary to that. But I recognize the importance of playing live and it’s something I want to continue doing and continue improving. It’s certainly the most honest way to portray your music.

… And as a music fan?

I don’t get to see as many shows as I’d like to, but live music is always something I’m interested in. I enjoy seeing how groups translate their music to a live setting. Usually if you like the songs enough it’s an enjoyable experience. I’m probably more forgiving than most though because I know how hard it can be sometimes. It seems unfair to judge a band that can’t quite pull off what they do on their record. They are two different worlds to me. I love both.

What was the last gig you played that sticks in your mind and why?

We played a house show here where I live recently that was a lot of fun. House shows have such a different vibe. I think it just has to do with the fact that everyone in the band is either 21 or 22 so its just what we are used to. Its the only way music can exist in Blacksburg because there is nowhere else to play. So when shows do happen, people get really excited and come  out expecting to have a good time. Kind of a win win for everyone. It was raining outside though and the next day the entire house was covered in mud. I felt terrible.

What’s the best gig you’ve seen recently?

Again, I don’t get to see a lot of stuff while I’m here at school in the middle of nowhere, so the best show I’ve seen recently was probably just watching Real Estate and Woods after we played with them at the Music Hall of Williamsburg a couple months ago. Fun groups.

If you had to name one (and you do!), what’s the best gig you’ve ever seen?

Ah! Well I saw My Bloody Valentine last summer in Richmond which is something I never thought I’d be able to do. It really is as loud as everyone says it is. I think I got brain damage because sometimes I don’t even feel like it happened. I remember seeing a pregnant woman there and just being like, ohh myy goddd. I hope that baby wasn’t born deaf.

Have you had any bizarre heckles, things thrown at you or the like?

I’m trying to think… Someone yelled out “Keep your chins up!” one time, which confused me really bad because I didn’t know if it was like a heckle or an encouragement. I think we probably just looked out of it that night because we had just driven 9 hours and didn’t have a chance to sound check. Then everyone in the audience was just crossing their arms anyway. New York can be weird like that sometimes. Too cool!

You get to curate an imaginary festival stage. Aside from your own pick five bands, two old and three new, to play alongside you?

Well obviously The Smiths would reunite to co-headline with Kate Bush. Honestly just the two of them could play all day and we can call that a festival. BUT, I guess I would also pick Jens Lekman, The Radio Dept. and Abe Vigoda to round it out. I mean, I’d go to that.

If you have an iPod hit random play and list the first three tracks that come up?

Mount Eerie – Don’t Smoke

Animal Collective – It’s You

Madvillain – Accordian

In olden times people weren’t thought to be geniuses, they ‘had geniuses’. A genius was a spirit that attached itself to an artist (animal, human or otherwise) that helped him or her create. What would your genius be?

Hmm that’s hard. I think my “genius” must somehow come from my Scottish heritage. I’m descended from the Rose Clan and I just discovered that their clan crest has a harp on it. No way that is a coincidence. Some guy with a big red beard in heaven must be slipping me musical talent.

Wild Nothing’s debut album ‘Gemni’ is out on June 1st through Captured Tracks.