KENDRA SMITH-PARKS: What are three words that describe 20-year-old Jack Tatum?
JACK TATUM: Excitable, naive, aimless. Maybe I’m being hard on myself, but 20 is a weird age.
KSP: What’s your favorite place to get a coffee and why?
JT: I don’t really have a favorite coffee shop to be honest. I try not to drink coffee ’cause it makes me feel sick. More of a Yerba Maté at home kind of guy.
KSP: What was the guiding influence behind the sound of your new album Life of Pause?
JT: My overarching goal was to make a sort of skewed pop record. I was very influenced by people like Bowie and Peter Gabriel to try and stretch my sound outwards from just the world of 80s indie pop.
KSP: This album was called more “intimate” by Pitchfork and Spin Magazine. Do you think that’s accurate? What word would you use to describe it?
JT: I feel like a million signifiers get thrown around when you release a record and half of them are hollow to be honest. More intimate? I don’t know if I would say that. Musically it’s more honest to the full spectrum of my tastes, but the lyrics I feel are a bit more shrouded.
KSP: Are there any hidden secrets in this album you can share with us?
JT: How do I know you can keep a secret? Besides there’s not really anything that interesting — except for the invisible treasure map in the liner notes that Nicolas Cage gave to me.
KSP: The release of Gemini was a pivotal point in Wild Nothing’s exposure. How have you evolved as an artist and a person since then?
JT: Well, I’m coming up on seven years since I wrote most of those songs, so obviously I feel like a different person in a lot of ways. I feel more confident in what I do. Part of me will always be that 20 year old kid, though.
KSP: Four years is a long break since the last album Empty Estate. What have you been up to?
JT: Empty Estate was in 2013, but, yeah, it’s been a long break regardless. I really don’t know where the time went. I made a lot of music and needed time to figure out where to go next. I also just enjoyed having time off the road to just be with my girlfriend and travel some.
KSP: You’ve recorded in Brooklyn with Nicolas Vernhes and in LA with Thom Manahan. What was the difference in those studio experiences? How did the cities shape your records if at all?
JT: Well, both of them had their own way of doing things. Working with Nicolas was very quick. We made that record in 15 days, but Life Of Pause was pretty spread out and labor intensive. Thom would push to get more takes, and we tried to get as many full takes as we could. Nocturne was more pieced together, which isn’t a bad thing by any means, it’s just how we worked. I live in Los Angeles now, but New York was my home for four years. I’m sure I must be influenced by them both somehow, but it feels more subconscious. I like to think I could make music in any environment.
KSP: I understand many of the Captured Tracks (Mac Demarco, Beach Fossils and Diiv) artists collaborate. Do you have a favorite project you’ve worked on together or person you like to collab with?
JT: It doesn’t really happen that often. I’m the closest with Dustin from Beach Fossils, but it’s inevitable that we all run into one another from time to time. We made a joke band for CT5, which was our labels anniversary festival. People took it super seriously, but we basically just went to a practice space for a few days together and learned some covers. It was super casual, but we like to pretend it’s real sometimes ’cause kids go nuts about it for some reason.
KSP: If you could share a stage with any artist, living or dead, who would it be?
JT: Ringo on drums, Eno on synth, Prince on lead guitar, Johnny Marr on rhythm guitar, Bowie and Kate Bush trading off on the mic and me on Bass. Because duh.