Washed Out, Small Black and Dam Mantle play Glasgow
Ernest Weatherly Greene is sitting on the deck of his wife’s parents’ lake house in Milletsville, Georgia, soaking up the sun. He just got off tour with Beach House, and is enjoying doing a bit of nothing before more UK dates. ‘It’s so scenic out here,’ he explains, languidly. ‘It’s pretty rural. I wasn’t even sure my cell phone would work.’ It seems appropriate to find the musician – who has been ‘riding the chillwave’, along with 80s-leaning electronic acts like Memory Tapes, Pocohaunted, Ducktails and Toro Y Moi for almost a year now – in such a mellow setting. The 26-year-old’s music, after all, sounds like a woozy, Vaseline-smudged, gauze of synth-pop and teen romance, which he describes as ‘kinda like the soundtrack to a beautiful summer day hanging out with friends.
Greene began making lo-fi keyboard pop last summer, while living back with his parents on their peach orchard, which might explain the gentle dazzle of his blurry sound. ‘Lyrics aren’t really that important to me. My writing is very much about getting in an emotional pocket, a headspace – that’s kind of what I’m looking for, a certain drum beat or a loop that you can get lost in.’ As for the labels – besides ‘chillwave’ he’s also been stickered with ‘glo-fi’ and ‘hypnagogic pop’ – Greene’s music has never been about climbing aboard any bandwagon.
‘I’ve always gravitated towards that type of music. It’s just lucky that it’s in vogue at the moment. In my adolescence, I was into stuff like Radiohead. Beautiful but dark, and not very optimistic. Most of the stuff I’m doing now is a reaction to that – I want the same relaxed vibe, but less of a downer; more positive.’
Washed Out, with Small Black and Dam Mantle, Stereo, Glasgow, Fri 28 May