Published Jun 21, 2010Having paid his dues playing in Facepaint and Jack and the Whale, Virginia's Jack Tatum has found his calling as a solo artist under the name Wild Nothing. While he has since put together a live band, every recording so far has been an unaccompanied bedroom project. Signed by fellow solitary man Mike Sniper (of Blank Dogs), based on hearing a few MySpace tracks, over the last ten months, Wild Nothing has put out a couple seven-inches (including Tatum's irresistible cover of Kate Bush's "Cloudbusting") and now his debut album, Gemini. Paying homage to late '80s/early '90s British indie, Tatum's songs are wrapped in snug layers that ebb and flow between jangly C86, blissed out shoegaze and radiating synth pop. The "mid-fi" production gives Gemini an abundance of wistful textures, which maximizes the songwriter's personal longing for young love with moments like the breezy "Summer Holiday" and Marr-ish echoes on "O, Lilac." Tatum isn't all about paying respect to yesteryear; his crowning achievement comes in looping a snippet from Chantal Goya's "La pluie du ciel," which injects "Chinatown" with a heavenly vagueness that's borderline chillwave. Despite Tatum's studio limitations, Gemini is a beautifully realized album and soft focus reverie that makes for perfect summertime listening.
Where did the inspiration for Wild Nothing come from? Does your environment in Virginia influence the music or is it more based on your musical tastes?
In a way, my environment influences me. With the exception of, like, the downtown bar scene in Blacksburg, I live in a pretty peaceful, slow place. Mostly it just comes from what I listen to. I've always been interested in textures in music and compositions that blur together. That's why I'm so fascinated by all these things that happened in the '80s and '90s. Dream pop, shoegaze ― all that stuff.
The press release for Gemini says your music is "inspired by a long-time love affair with nostalgia." Can you elaborate on that?
I've just always been the kind of person that looks at things differently once they've come and gone. I think it's one of the most beautiful and sad things there is: to look back on a good memory or something and just miss it so much. You can just feel it. I mean, I guess it's pretty cheesy and everything. There is a Jonathan Richman song that goes, like, "that summer feeling is going to haunt you the rest of your life." It's like that: memories are haunting. (Captured Tracks)