“Every show is different, you never know what to expect.”
Those were the words of Warner Hiatt, known by his moniker, Worn-Tin, after playing an album release party at The Echo in Los Angeles for his sophomore record, Cycles. Hiatt is eccentric live, electrifying, at one point lying flat on his back on stage shredding his pentagonal guitar, another time stripping naked and standing atop a step ladder.
Worn-Tin’s live efforts don’t sway from their recorded efforts, either. Cycles, released last month, transitions between acoustic love songs, mid-song DJ breaks, crazed chanting, and varying vocal intensity, the instrumentation spanning all imaginable styles and genres.
“Cycles is about obsession, the idea of needing something,” Hiatt told me. “It’s more intense than passion and gives you something to live for.”
Despite Hiatt’s erratic nature in both live and recorded musical endeavors, the man behind the moniker is shockingly composed. His musical absurdness is intentional, I learned during our conversations.
“I was living in a living room in West Hollywood, right around the corner from the Supreme store. There would be these days where I would come home from work and I’d notice kids camping outside, waiting for this store to release a new clothing line or something. I was fascinated, and that’s what sparked me writing about all these interesting obsessions.”
Even the instrumental makeup of the album was composed with specificity in mind, according to Hiatt. “I was going to a lot of shows as I was writing [Cycles], and I would say live shows were a huge influence. I wanted to be able to play this album live and enjoy playing it live. I also wanted it to feel like an experience from start to finish.”
On that, Cycles does not disappoint. It epitomizes the obscure world of Worn-Tin, an experience not derived from a singularity but from something loose in the world of Indie Rock. And according to Hiatt, that’s kind of the point.
“There’s no moral to the story. I wanted to share my thoughts about things I noticed that I thought were interesting. Take it or leave it, toots.”
Without the constraints of underlying thematic morale, Hiatt was able to unleash himself upon the musical world and create an album tied only to his internal feelings of an increasingly obsessive world.
Cycles marks a pivotal moment in the young discography of the 24-year-old singer. Following early success with his debut 2016 album, Thanatophobia, the artist now emphasizes the variety of modern-day indie artists. Much like contemporaries of the genre, Worn-Tin doesn’t define its music through lateral sound. You cannot put this music in a box, nor should you.
“Cycles was more based on fascination [than Thanatophobia], a look inside the reality of a world I was so deeply rooted in but hadn’t yet admitted.” And while Cycles has its musical influences, it comes primarily from Hiatt’s mind, showing us just what Worn-Tin is capable of moving forward.
Such estranged music cannot fit singular guidelines, singular influence. Hiatt, still a musician young in composition and experience, can only climb higher. But Cycles shows us that we can expect great things from this man, a future influencer of indie rock, whatever the genre may become.
Listen to Cycles on all platforms now. And if you have the opportunity, watch Worn-Tin perform live. Few artists embody such confidence, such shamelessness, atop a stage, embracing the weird, awe-inspiring feats of performance personality.