Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum had a pretty geeky idea for a new Web site in anticipation of the release of Nocturne, his stellar sophomore album. Since he spent most of the time writing the album under the moonlight as a creature of the night, he thought why not launch a new site tied to the phases of the moon. As you scroll the mouse over the page, it darkens as the moon grows smaller in Earth’s shadow. You can even check what the moon will look like on Sept. 2 when the band plays L.A.’s FYF Fest in a few days.
Geek caught up with Tatum on the eve of Nocturne’s release for the following interview.
Geek: Can you talk about your personal connection with the Lunar Cycle?
Jack Tatum: Sure. I guess just in relation to the album, the whole lunar calendar was born out of this idea that the record was really based in this nighttime scenario. Really, when I think about the record and the writing of it, the core of the songs was born at night. Because of that, it’s got this really sleep-deprived nature to it. That’s really where the whole lunar cycle came from. Initially it was just something we had incorporated into the artwork as a symbolic sort of thing. But as we started thinking about the Web site, we just really wanted a place to take care of the basic needs of a band, tour dates and that kind of stuff. But we realized through talking to people we could make this a site that translated the lunar cycle and do it in this form on the Web site so that it not only tracks where you were and would tell you what the moon would look like that night, but also as you scroll through to see what the band’s up to the next couple months and see what the moon was going to look like on any given night. It’s not so much born out of any sort of personal astrological obsessions or anything like that, but really as a companion piece of the music and to reiterate the feeling of the music.
Yeah, I was going to ask if you have ups and downs with the phases of the moon.
(Laughs) No, not necessarily. It is something that does really intrigue me. I grew up in Virginia and have always been interested in the moon and stars and watching the sky. There’s something that’s really comforting in knowing the cycle of the moon. It’s really a regular thing that’s always there and always changing. It’s really not so much something I chose because I know a great deal about it. It’s a symbolic thing.
In moving to Brooklyn, do you miss seeing the stars?
Every time I go back to Virginia I’m like, “Wow. I can actually see the sky.” It’s one of the things you give up, I suppose.
Given the night theme of the album, do you have bouts of insomnia, or do your truly creative moments come out at night?
Yeah, there really was when I was writing it. I actually was living in Georgia when I was writing it. I’ve kind of bounced around a bit in the past few years. I moved from Virginia to Savannah, Georgia. I was between tours and I really just got into this strange mode where my nights kept getting longer and longer, for no particular reason. I reached a place where—I think I basically was an insomniac. I hardly ever slept. I think I got a lot of creative and musical ideas because of it. I really started to exist more in night. And really, it was kind of bad. Truth be told I would sleep most of the day and spend more of the night working on music. It was a strange time definitely. I’ve gotten a lot better about it, but while I was writing it was pretty prevalent. It’s a strange feeling to exist in night. Everything, I think, gets blown out of proportion. Every sort of slight emotion, whether it’s good or bad gets blown out of proportion. I got a lot of creative power from it, I think.
I read an interview with you where you’re more interested in mood than specific lyrics you’ve written and it feels like to me there’s a darkness to the album, but also a sense of playfulness.
Yeah, definitely. I mean, not to try and tie everything in together too nicely—but I think it was partly due to this sleeplessness. You have this really quick back and forth of emotions of something seeming terribly important and then you’re able to look back and be like, “Oh, that’s so silly.” So, there is a playfulness to it. There are moments on it that maybe seem laughably serious or something. Then it’s a lot of observational relationship stuff, but I hope it’s something that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Check out “Paradise” from Nocturne here:
Photo Credit: Shawn Brackbill