Tag: GUM Out In The World

New Video: GUM Teams Up With Hatchie on Mind-Bending “Argentina”

Over the past decade, Aussie singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jay Watson has been restlessly prolific: He’s written and recorded five albums as the frontman of GUM, including 2020’s Out In The World. As the co-leader of acclaimed psych outfit Pond, Watson has been behind nine albums, including last year’s aptly titled 9. And through that recorded output, the Aussie singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has treated listeners to some of the most sonically diverse and eclectic explorations of the past decade or so.

Watson’s sixth GUM album Saturnia officially dropped today. The album released through  Spinning Top Music, Watson’s sixth GUM album Saturnia is arguably the richest and most coherent work of his career to date.

Coming off the back of Out In The World, Watson had a loose idea of where he wanted the project to go next. Drum sticks in hand and a rough sonic map in mind, the intervention of the pandemic and the logistics of caring for two small children meant that the songs Watson had stated to write were given a previously unprecedented amount of time to percolate in his head, and the material began to ferment and sprout new tendrils. “Because of Covid and because I had a new kid, for the first time ever I would write songs and think about them months on end,” Watson says. “I’d always been a bit of a lazy arranger, but this time I was working on different sections in my head for months.”

With his mind ticking over and creative impulses sparking off new ideas, Watson’s initial blueprint started to look very different. There were now new routes on this initial road map. “My dream was to make one coherent record that sounded the same all the way through, but it’s just so hard when you like so much different stuff!” he laughs. “I wanted the whole album to sound like Nick Drake at the very beginning, but it just doesn’t work out like that. I’ve got so much equipment and stuff to play with that even if I start with something that sounds like Nick Drake, I’ll starting adding things and playing with it and it will take it away into somewhere else immediately.” 

The anchor of Saturnia‘s material is the bedrock of real-life playing and organic sounds that Watson was aiming for. But as the album evolved and grew, it became the launchpad for something more adventurous and musically nourishing. 

Last month, I wrote about “Music Is Bigger Than Hair.” Built around a simple, shimmering, finger-plucked guitar melody paired with Watson’s dreamily forlorn delivery and a breathtakingly gorgeous string arrangement by Jesse Kotansky, the song for about three-quarters of its 4:18 runtime is a dusty Nick Drake-meets-Pink Floyd-like bit of troubadour folk with a narrator grappling with age and mortality in a realm where youth and youthfulness is valued above all. But the song ends with an unexpectedly, breezy and playful, samba influenced coda. 

“’Music Is Bigger Than Hair’ is a funny title, I think it’s referring to me getting older and feeling my mortality a little bit more, or at least my worth as a musician being tied up in the way I look,” Watson says. “Feeling like it’s affecting my music, as if it has anything to do with it. Musically it’s one of my favorites because of Jesse Kotansky’s beautiful string arrangement.”

To celebrate the album’s release, Watson shared “Argentina,” an expansive Nick Drake-meets-Tame Impala bit of psych rock featuring a guest spot from acclaimed artist Hatchie and some incredibly dexterous guitar work that includes shimmering guitar lines for the song’s verses, buzzing guitar lines for the song’s choruses, and a mind-bending solo.

“This song isn’t really about Argentina, I just wanna say that I adore Argentina and it’s one of my favorite places to go and play,” Watson says of the song. “It’s about letting ego take hold of you and not surrounding yourself with the right people. Features some great vocal parts from Hatchie.”

Directed and animated by Alex Aulson, the accompanying video for “Argentina” features some stunning close-ups of natural phenomena near a rugged coastline.

New Video: JOVM Mainstay GUM Returns with a DIY Visual for Breezy Yet Yearning “Low to Low”

Carnavon, Australia-born, Fremantle, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Jay Watson is an extremely busy and restlessly creative man: Watson splits his time as a touring member of acclaimed JOVM mainstays Tame Impala and POND. He’s also the creative mastermind the acclaimed solo recording project (and fellow JOVM mainstay act) GUM.

Spinning Top Music released Watson’s fifth GUM album Out In The World earlier this year. The album, which is the highly follow-up to 2018’s critically applauded The Underdog was written and recorded in between tours with Tame Impala and POND continues Watson’s long-held reputation for having a voracious taste for styles, sounds and different eras. Thematically, the album is fueled by the Carnavon-born Fremantle-based artist’s quest to make sense of modern life — with the album’s material being fueled by an untethered curiosity and the inherent anxiety of too much awareness and too much connectedness.

Sonically, Out In The World’s material may arguably be the most boundary pushing of Watson’s growing catalog. “This album is my attempt at making a record that combines my fascination of how other people live their lives, with my own internal desire to analyse mine and improve it,” Watson says of his latest album. “‘Out In The World’ was a phrase that conjured a lot of grandeur and ego, yet somehow felt really small and wholesome at the same time.”

I’ve written about two of the album’s singles:

“Don’t Let It Go Out,” the album’s second single, a track that sees Watson pushing his sound and songwriting in a bold new direction. Centered around a glistening arpeggio guitar riff, jangling acoustic guitar, propulsive four-on-the-floor and shimmering synths, “Don’t Let It Go Out” finds Watson pushing his sound and songwriting in a bold direction while retaining the hook-driven, carefully crated nature quality that GUM fans have loved.
“Airwalkin,” a swaggering 80s synth pop-like banger featuring tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap-like beats, squiggling synths, soaring strings and an enormous hook that sonically seemed indebted to J. Dilla. Odelay-era Beck, Future Shock-era Herbie Hancock and Kraftwerk.

Out In The World’s latest single “Low to Low” finds Watson pushing his sound into a new direction — but while arguably crafting what may be the funkiest song of his catalog. Centered around shuffling polyrhythm, explosive horn stabs, dusty breakbeats, tinny Casio-like synth arpeggios and Watson’s yearning vocals, the track sounds as though Watson had been listening to salsa, Expensive Shit/He Miss Road-era Fela Kuti, 80s New Wave and synth pop the deceptively breezy pop confection actually seems to express a fear of irrelevance and of being forgotten.

“I purchased an EHX DRM15 drum machine and the song developed from one of the preset beats, this ‘robot-latin vive with lots of spring reverb. It was the last song I recorded for the album, it’s bizarre stylistically, but I just went with it,” Watson says of the album’s latest single.

Co-directed with POND bandmate Jamie Terry, the recently released video for “Low to Low” was shot in Fremantle on grainy Super 8 or 16mm film, and the visual captures the sunny warmth of Western Australia — while following Watson walking around with an enormous plastic box. “ My mate Az gave me 16 panels of Perspex he had found, who knows where? GUM thinks outside (and inside) the box,” Watson says of the video. ““Now that the dust has settled on Out In The World,I think this is probably my favourite track from the album, and I know it is for lots of other people too, so I wanted to make a visual for it,” he adds.

New Video: GUM Returns with a Trippy Animated Visual for “Airwalkin'”

Jay Watson is a Carnavon, Australia-born, Fremantle, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who creatively splits his time as a member of acclaimed psych rock acts and JOVM mainstays Tame Impala and POND — and with his acclaimed solo recording project GUM.

Watson’s fifth GUM album Out In The World, which was officially released today through Spinning Top Music, is the highly-anticipated follow-up to 2018’s critically applauded The Underdog. Written and recorded in between  his commitments with POND and Tame Impala at his Fremantle-based home studio and while on the road, Out In The World continues Watson’s long-held reputation for his voracious taste for styles, sounds and eras — paired with his ongoing quest to make sense of modern life.  Driven by untethered curiosity and the inherent anxiety of way too much awareness, the album is arguably, the most boundary pushing of his growing catalog. “This album is my attempt at making a record that combines my fascination of how other people live their lives, with my own internal desire to analyse mine and improve it,” Watson says of his latest album. “‘Out In The World’ was a phrase that conjured a lot of grandeur and ego, yet somehow felt really small and wholesome at the same time.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Don’t Let It Go Out,” Out In The World’s second single, a track that found Watson pushing his sound and songwriting in a bold new direction with its influences blurring into something distinctly Watson. “Airwalkin,” the album’s latest single is a swaggering, 80s synth pop inspired banger centered around boom bap-like beats, squiggling and shimmering synths, a soaring string sample, an enormous hook with vocodered vocals and Watson’s plaintive vocals. The  end result is a song that sounds as though it were indebted to J. Dilla. Odelay-era Beck and Future Shock-era Herbie Hancock and Kraftwerk. 

“This song is trying to capture the feeling of walking around my rural town with my Discman as a teenager, completely self-conscious about the way I look but completely feeling myself at the same time.” Watson says. “3 and a half minutes of Boombox Rock inspired by Stevie Wonder, Dilla and Beck.”

Directed  by Alex McClaren, the recently released video for “Airwalkin'” is a vividly colored visual that features a variety of characters —  three-eyed dog, a kid’s toy robot, a walking recycling bin and a walking boom box among others — walking through some trippy yet mischievous backdrops. “I wanted to do something with Alex McClaren again. He’d worked on the claymation video for ‘The Blue Marble’ off my last album, I love his stuff. I only had quite a vague idea that the clip could be a figure moving across a landscape in claymation, a vocoder robot-man initially, and Alex went next level with it’.”

New Video: GUM Releases a Hazy and Feverish Visual for Shimmering and Bold New Single “Don’t Let It Go Out”

Jay Watson is a Carnavon, Australia-born, Fremantle, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who creatively splits his time as a member of acclaimed psych rock acts and JOVM mainstays Tame Impala and POND — and with his acclaimed solo recording project GUM.

Slated for a June 12, 2020 release through Spinning Top Music, Watson’s fifth GUM album Out In The World is the highly-anticipated follow-up to 2018’s The Underdog, which was released to critical applause from Pitchfork, who called the album “a dark-night-of-the-soul reckoning embedded in a hazy fog of Floydian psych and quiet-storm R&B,” as well as several others. Written and recorded in between  his commitments with POND and Tame Impala at his Fremantle-based home studio and while on the road, Out In The World continues Watson’s long-held reputation for his voracious taste for styles, sounds and eras — paired with his ongoing quest to make sense of modern life.  Driven by untethered curiosity and the inherent anxiety of way too much awareness, the album is reportedly the most boundary pushing effort of his growing catalog, “This album is my attempt at making a record that combines my fascination of how other people live their lives, with my own internal desire to analyse mine and improve it,” Watson says of his forthcoming album. “‘Out In The World’ was a phrase that conjured a lot of grandeur and ego, yet somehow felt really small and wholesome at the same time.”

“Don’t Let It Go Out,” Out In The World’s second and latest single features a glistening, arpeggio guitar riff, jangling acoustic guitar, propulsive four-on-the-floor-like drumming, shimmering synths, a supple bass line, Watson’s plaintive vocals and a rousing and infectious hook. Interestingly, the track finds Watson pushing his sound and songwriting in a bold new direction. Interestingly, “Don’t Let It Go Out” can trace its origins to initially being laid down at home but arranged, edited, chopped and screwed while on the road — and as a result, it adds to a further blurring of the song’s overall sound. “My music for years was an obvious sum of its influences but it’s getting harder and harder to pick,” Watson says of the song, “‘Don’t Let It Go Out’ is about our modern desire to capture or record and keep every moment. The ease, not only to do all this, but then to lose it forever down the track inspires and disturbs me.”

Directed by Laura-Lynn Petrick, the recently released video for “Don’t Let It Go Out” follows a lonely, trench coat wearing Watson as he wanders around  — and the video evokes the fever dream of traveling, complete with the odd feeling of places endlessly blurring in a way that’s familiar yet alien.