Nathan From Gossip Talks Tumblr, Lil’ Wayne, and The Apocalypse

Everything Gossip’s Nathan Howdeshell (a.k.a. Brace Paine) says is charming. It’s not necessarily the content of his words, but that it’s all tinged with an appealing drawl, the result of his Arkansas upbringing. So it’s sweet when he says that “fuck” is his favorite curse word, or when he tells me that if he could he would eat at McDonalds every day. And it’s even sweeter when he divulges his affinity for smoking pot after a long day because, well, yeah. Nathan and his band swing through New York tonight when they take the stage for the first time at Terminal 5 with openers MEN and Apache Beat. But first, he spoke with me about his online ventures, tonight’s show, and what he has planned for the end of the world.

You’re from Searcy, Arkansas, which was apparently the inspiration for Footloose. What was your music education like growing up? Geez, whatever tapes you could buy from Wal-Mart.

I want to talk about your web activities. Besides being a musician, you’re also a visual artist, and you have a tumblr. How do you curate it? Some of the images are things I make; some are things that are just hilarious that I pull of the internet. I love tumblr because it’s to me sort of like a visual diary. It’s really fun.

How often do you update? I try to do it like every day or so. Computers are still a mystery to me, but I try to when I can. The tumblr thing is great to me; it’s kind of like an art diary. I do a lot of the design for us and all of our record covers and stuff like that. I’ve been into curating shows lately. I curated a show for Art Basel in Miami this year for Deitch Projects of new, young, Portland artists. That was really fun.

You were saying that computers are mystery to you. Is there any website you make it a point to visit? Not really. I really enjoy the tumblr thing personally because it’s visual. I look at Pitchfork every once in a while.

And also you’ve been Twittering. I try. But a part of me feels ridiculous when I Twitter. I don’t know, maybe it’s low self-esteem, but there’s part of me that’s like “would anyone really care what I’m doing right now?

People care more about what you’re doing than most of the people on there. Do you also feel pressure to come up with entertaining things to say? No, no. I just feel that’s it’s such a funny thing. Twitter and Facebook and stuff are such a huge part of culture now.

Right, and it’s the way that you guys have promoted this new album too, that’s different from the last one. You did a Twitter interview. Yeah, I’m at the label right now at the corporate office and I just got in trouble for not (in a mocking voice) posting stuff on the band website.

In addition to your band you also DJ. Who can you recommend in terms of musical artists? We’re on tour with this band called MEN, which is a hysterical name. It’s JD [Samson] from Le Tigre’s new band. They’re really cool, I really like them. I like it better than the last two Le Tigre albums, actually. JD has an interesting voice, so it’s good to hear her sing.

And MEN is opening for you at Terminal 5? Yes, I’m kind of nervous about that show because it’s a huge place. It’s weird because I love New York and I’ve played there a bunch, and I’ve never heard of this Terminal 5.

Well, it’s large. It has tiers. But it’s good for light shows. Do you do any visuals with your show? We’ve been thinking about it a little bit, but to me it’s always been like Wow, these people take a lighting guy on tour and they pay all this money just for this guy to come on and turn the lights on while they play certain songs. For some bands it’s been good, but for us it’s just about the raw energy of the show. So I think for us lights could be a little distracting. I get dizzy when strobe lights come on.

Also, some advice: a dance routine couldn’t hurt. You know what’s amazing, we just made up a dance routine for the song 8th Wonder, that repeats over and over. We were watching this Devo video and we were like, Oh fuck, they’re amazing. I mean, just because live they were just doing weird synchronized moves. So we made up a sort-of Devo dance move that we’re all gonna bust into.

Speaking of your songs, you have one on the album Music for Men called 2012, the year the world is supposed to end. Do you have plans for the year? Actually, I do. I’m trying to curate an end-of-the-world festival, actually. You know, the Mayan prophecies say that on December 21st, 2012 there’s supposed to be this radical change in the world. I’m trying to put together a festival of bands that will play on that day. And I was thinking, if it’s supposed to be the end of the world we should be somewhere with our friends and somewhere really weird, like maybe in Montana. I don’t know where it’s gonna be but it’s something that’s been on my mind.

Okay, everyone head out to Montana. Or go to Lil’ Wayne’s party. Oh my god I’m obsessed with that. How weird is it that Lil’ Wayne knows about 2012? Beth has a huge crush on him. She makes us listen to Lil’ Wayne all the time. And I didn’t get it at first—I mean I love mainstream hip hop but I couldn’t get into it. But he’s an interesting dude. And his story is very interesting.

And I hear he’s very polite. Yeah, he seems sweet. He has fucking tattoos on his eyelids. That is badass.

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