Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum Talks About Band’s Break + Working on New Album
It seems like ages since we've heard from Wild Nothing. Their last release, the Empty Estate EP, dropped in 2013. Since then -- and a subsequent tour -- the Blacksburg, Va.-based quintet has stayed relatively quiet. However, Wild Nothing are back on the road, reminding fans that though they've taken a little rest, they're ready to get the momentum moving again.
Joining the third edition of the Converse Rubber Tracks Live Tour, Wild Nothing already hit up three of the five cities on the itinerary -- Toronto, Boston and Brooklyn. They are closing the tour in California with a show tonight (May 21) at the Echoplex in Los Angeles and tomorrow (May 22) at San Francisco's the Chapel.
Before they hit the road, we had the chance to catch up with Wild Nothing frontman Jack Tatum to talk about the Converse Rubber Tracks tour, what he's been working on recently and when we'll hopefully get a new LP from the band. Check out our exclusive chat below:
This tour is part of Converse Rubber Tracks, and while some bands get one show, you guys are getting to play five of them. How did the tour come about?
We've never really done a tour like this before. This is kind of the first show like this that we've ever done. But for us, the timing was kind of perfect for us. I've been holding out for a while now, coming on two years, working on new material, and haven't been playing shows. But it was in the back of our minds; we wanted to eventually kind of start [to play] when we can. And it was the perfect opportunity to put the band back together, start rehearsing the new material and relearning the old songs.
There are a number of cities you're playing on this tour. Which city are you looking forward to playing the most?
I wouldn't say there's any city I'm looking forward to playing the most. I guess I will say that it has been quite a while since we played shows on the west coast. And in L.A. in particular, it's been a while. We've done some other things, but it's been too long since we've played Los Angeles, so I'm looking forward to that. It's all cities that I'm excited to play in, though. They're just fun cities and all cities that I look forward to playing.
What have you been up to since the Empty Estate EP?
We put out that EP in 2013 so there was a bit of touring around that. And [we] basically stopped playing shows at the end of that year. And since then, because we've been touring a bit since the last record [2012's Nocturne] and did some more when the EP came out, we were all ready to take a break. I know I decided I needed to have some time alone to just work on new material, and that's what I've been doing. We, more or less, put the band on hiatus in a sense so that I could work on new material, you know, just at home in New York, working on things. So I've just been taking my time with it and making sure I was writing the songs I wanted to be writing and making sure it was going in the right musical direction. I was trying to figure out what the next step was going to be. I was also taking time and doing some traveling and recording in other cities and slowly putting pieces together for whenever the next record might happen.
Last October, you tweeted about working on the new album. Can you share any progress on that effort?
We're still working on it, and honestly it's something you can't plan out too well, at least in my case, just because I've been writing so much. I keep thinking it's there then keep working on new material. But I think it's definitely nearing the closing point for sure. I would love to get it out as soon as possible, but I kind of had to play the game and see when the right time was and all of that. So that's kind of where we're at. But I have been doing a lot of recording. The songs are there for sure. And at these shows, I think we're going to be playing some of that new material.
Is that how you gauge whether a new song will make a new album?
I think it's definitely a way of doing it, and I think it works really well for certain people -- to test the material live and see what people respond to. I think with Wild Nothing, it's a different scenario because I do the writing and recording myself so really I just need to be in the recording space on my own. I'm kind of using other ways on weeding out whether another song should be on the album. It's just the writing process and talking to other musicians and producers and then trying the material live. But what it comes down to when you're playing the material live, you do get a sense of what's what and what people are responding to. And it's cool to see that for the record and figure out what certain things we should push more or how we can construct the set and have it be as successful as it can be.
You also mentioned recording in other cities. Where did you go?
I have been recording in a handful of different cities but mostly in New York, just at home, and that's where I've written a bulk of the material. And it's been good. It's been beneficial for me to travel to other places and get into a different headspace. I definitely feel when I'm in a different city and don't know as many people, I feel more driven and motivated to get on this working schedule where I'm just really optimizing my time in the studio. For me, what it boils down to is the need to get away from all the distractions in my own life.
I did a lot of recording in Stockholm this past year, and that's always been a city I liked passing on tour. I spent a few weeks there, and now it's a perfect example of being in a place where you really don't know anyone and I'm really there to work. I sort of like that being by the water feeling, too. I find it very inspiring. And another city that inspired me was Tokyo. I did some recording there a couple of times over the past few years, just thinking how bizarre that experience was -- bizarre as in feeling like you're an outsider, a ghost-like person. I wasn't able to really do anything there besides watch, which I really like and try to milk for inspiration.
What's next after this tour?
After this, we probably won't be playing shows for a while so we can focus on getting the record ready and figuring out when that's going to happen, just how that's all going to go about. Then maybe we'll play more shows in the fall or winter.