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Wild Nothing leader Jack Tatum talks Swedish pop and visual art

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Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum.

You took a few years off before releasing new album Life of Pause. Was that break mostly to work on the album, or to take a break from music in general? It was a bit of both. Right after we finished touring on [2012’s] Nocturne, which lasted a while for us—it was a couple years that we were playing shows pretty incessantly—the first year after that, I was casually working on music, but for the most part I just wanted to escape from it. I was ready to not think about music in the way that I had been for a little while. That being said, once I did start working on new music, I didn’t necessarily mean to spend that long on it. It wasn’t this thing where I was just constantly working on music those three or four years. I was just living life and sort of being surprised at how much time passed.

There are a lot more ’70s rock and pop references on Life of Pause. What was influencing you on this album, and did recording in Stockholm have anything to do with it? I didn’t necessarily seek out the recording in Stockholm—that was just an opportunity that presented itself—but I sort of jumped at it, because I’ve always been drawn to a lot of Scandinavian pop and independent music. I feel like, especially in Sweden, there have been so many bands from Stockholm or Gothenburg that have a really tight but interesting pop sensibility, so I was always drawn to that, and that’s why I felt like it could be a good fit for this record.

I am very interested in pop music, but on my own terms. That was something that I think made that decision really easy for me. It made perfect sense that I would go there. As far as other references, I do think the scope of this record opened up a lot in terms of what I was willing and desiring to pull from. I can’t help it that I’m continuously drawn to the ’80s for inspiration, but that can mean so many different things. I’m probably never going to be able to shake the ’80s-revival tag, but I can at least play around with what that means and what I’m referencing. There’s definitely a lot more inspiration now from music in the ’70s, and less genre-specific stuff, too … We were actually working with John [Eriksson]. He’s the drummer in Peter, Bjorn and John, and he played drums on most of the record.

The album art for Life of Pause looks like a still-life painting, and it seems like there are some references to surrealist artists throughout the new music videos. Are you a big art buff? I am, to a certain extent. I wouldn’t say that I’m necessarily more of an art buff than the average creative person, but I do think the best thing you can do as an artist or musician is to kind of broaden the scope of what you’re interested in. It’s all interconnected. I think there’s a very still-life quality to the album cover, and that was definitely intentional. It was meant to feel staged … It’s definitely meant to pull from surrealist art and surrealist album design.

This is your first time playing Vegas. Is there anything you’re particularly looking forward to? I’ve been to Vegas two or three times before. It’s a place that in the past we’ve just happened to pass through while we’re on tour but not actually playing a show. I feel like my experience in Las Vegas has never been among real people that live in Las Vegas. I’m excited to play a show and for it to be a different sort of experience, because every experience I’ve had in Vegas is the same as any other person, probably. So I’m definitely curious to see what it’s like, something more real and grounded.

Wild Nothing with Dark Black, Party Talk, DJ Fish. October 19, 9 p.m., $15. Bunkhouse Saloon, 702-982-1764.

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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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