There is a real sense of escapism from your music, in many ways is music the thing that you retreat to when the world makes little sense? It seems to be an overall feeling on your record, trying to even recapture that childlike sense of being free. I’ll always have an interest in memory, and especially memories from childhood. There is something very exciting and freeing about being a child and having such an innocent world view. I can still remember what it was like to be blissfully unaware of people’s perceptions of you. I guess it boils down to the fact that the less you know, the less you have to worry about, which obviously has its own problems. But for me, music is very much escapism, sometimes to that place that I am talking about, but really just to anywhere. My music is also escapism in the sense that it’s hyper-reality. Not everything on that album is a hundred percent truthful, I took certain liberties with my escapism.
You are from Virginia. The south in general always seems so apart in terms of American culture, as if it is out on a limb, perhaps it does go right back to the Civil War. There is so much going on creatively, and luckily for us, it is coming to the fore – you and people like Washed Out in Georgia. Has it informed much of your life? The south has been my home for twenty-three years. I grew up in Virginia and live in Georgia currently, but as a place and as a part of America, it’s really hard for me to place how southern culture has informed what I do. It’s also not the sort of thing that I feel comfortable using the blanket term of “southern” to describe. My life in Virginia never really felt southern to me. I grew up in Williamsburg which is more mid-atlantic feeling than southern. I don’t consider myself to have a real southern identity by any means, I don’t think I have a southern accent for instance. I don’t know, I think it would be a lot different if I was looking to southern music for inspiration. But it’s like, I listen to mostly British music from the ’80’s and ’90’s, so where is that from? The internet has kind of killed my need for a regional identity when it comes to music. I think it’s different in America’s big cities, but that’s what people in small towns all over the country turn to, and maybe especially in the south. They listen to things on the internet and ignore the less than exciting world that is around them in order to find the music and art, or whatever it is that interests them. I guess in some sense you could say that since there isn’t a lot going on in small-town America in the south, there has been some interesting music made by people over the past few years that have no other choice than to make the kind of music they want to make on their own. That’s a backlash in it’s own right.
When I think of your music and people I love listening to alongside it, I keep thinking of Jens Lekman for his melodies, but also Destroyer, particularly his latest couple of records – he is a very special musician. How do you feel about those artists? Well it’s actually funny that you would mention those two in particular because Jens and Dan are amongst my favourite contemporary musicians, if not my favourite. I love Jens Lekman, the way that he puts songs together is really exciting. They’re largely sample based, which might turn some people off, but that’s what I find so fun about his music. It’s a skill to be able to do that as well as he does, and when I think about it, no one that I can think of uses samples in the same way that he does. His sense of melody is certainly impeccable. And Destroyer, I mean lyrically I think that Dan has some of the most interesting things to say, even when they border on dense and arrogant. The latest Album Kaputt is one of my favourite current albums, absolutely.
What are some of the strangest things that have happened to you since 2009 and Wild Nothing has come into being? That might depend on what your definition of strange is. I don’t know. There was something about just randomly driving by stone henge on the way to a festival [End of the Road, where he played brilliantly] that seemed to put my life in perspective. It’s just like, who does this happen to? What am I doing here? I don’t know, life in general is strange. How can I pick something?
How is work coming along on your new record? Is the process different this time? It’s been going well, but it’s still very much in the demo phase so the process hasn’t been that different. I’m still working on my own for these songs, but as far as when they finally get recorded, I’m not entirely sure. Just been trying to find the right people to work on it. It shouldn’t be a lifetime away or anything, but I’m definitely trying to take my time on it and make sure I’m happy with what I release.