If you’re someone who watches TV, there’s a high likelihood that you’ve heard Joe Wong’s music. Over the last several years, the Milwaukee-raised multi-instrumentalist has scored numerous TV shows, including Master Of None, Russian Doll, Ugly Delicious and Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens. On his debut album Nite Creatures, Wong teamed up with Ex Hex’s Mary Timony for a collection of songs that utilize Wong’s skills as a composer to create a world in which his deeply personal lyrics reveal an intersection of joy and introspective melancholy.
To celebrate the new album, Wong sat down to talk Quincy Jones, podcasts, and ‘Modern Romance’ in the latest Indie Mixtape 20 Q&A.
What are four words you would use to describe your music?
Feeling life through sound.
It’s 2050 and the world hasn’t ended and people are still listening to your music. How would you like it to be remembered?
I’d like for it to make people feel a sense of connection and joy.
What’s your favorite city in the world to perform?
Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why?
Quincy Jones. I’m inspired by his ability to segue from his “original craft” as a trumpeter into an arranger, composer, producer, and impresario. I love that he can make his own ingenious artistic statements or help bring out the best in others. He also produced the first album I owned (I wore Thriller out on my Fisher-Price turntable).
Where did you eat the best meal of your life?
What album do you know every word to?
The Kick Inside by Kate Bush.
What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?
Elvin Jones, Cambridge, MA, 2000.
What is the best outfit for performing and why?
A bespoke frock and a sterling silver medallion featuring my insignia, 4″ in diameter. Because 5″ is too heavy.
Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?
Comedian, Jon Daly.
What’s your most frequently played song in the van on tour?
What’s the last thing you Googled?
Which year I saw Elvin Jones (see above).
What album makes for the perfect gift?
Come to My Garden by Minnie Riperton
Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever crashed while on tour?
Fort Thunder (RIP), Providence RI, 1999 — weird in the most beautiful way.
What’s the story behind your first or favorite tattoo?
What artists keep you from flipping the channel on the radio?
Mary Lattimore, Sharon Van Etten, Tony Allen, Angel Olsen, Soundgarden, Mary Timony, The Walker Brothers, Love, Thelonious Monk, Minnie Riperton, Brigitte Fontaine.
What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
My dad bought me my first drum set, and my mom put up with me playing it.
What’s one piece of advice you’d go back in time to give to your 18-year-old self?
Speak to yourself as you would speak to a friend.
What’s the last show you went to?
The Sea And Cake, Zebulon, Los Angeles.
What movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV?
What would you cook if Kanye were coming to your house for dinner?
We’d probably fast together, meditate, and stay up all night making some beats.
Nite Creatures is out September 18. Pre-order it here.