Transmissions :: Hataałii

Hataaliinez Wheeler grew up in Window Rock, Arizona, the capital of the Navajo Nation. And though he’s just recently released his Dangerbird Records debut,  Singing Into Darkness, he’s spent the last few years creating as much art as he can—recording music, making lo-fi videos, and writing poetry. 

Sunbaked and sly, the new album is full of strange grooves and quixotic lyrics, and a sound that borrows from country, surf, indie rock, and shoegaze. We first heard Hataałii through Michael Klausman, who wrote about him for Aquarium Drunkard in 2021, saying, “[I]t was probably predetermined that he’d make music, as Hataałii literally means ‘to sing.’ His songs are weirdly genreless and out-of-time, yet constantly reach for some sort of cosmic agency. You can frequently hear him experimenting and trying different personas on, but the force of his charisma unites all the disparate elements he puts together. He’s a master at conjuring a kind of Southwestern saudade,” a feeling of longing melancholy that permeates Brazilian music. 

Today, he joins host Jason P. Woodbury to discuss his run-in with and shout-out from Mac Demarco, discuss the influence of his father’s record collection, and discuss what its felt like for his personal art project to find a life outside of his own head.

Transmissions is part of the Talkhouse Podcast network, check out Talkhouse for more great reading and listening. Next week on Transmissions? Lincoln Barr joins us to discuss the magic of music.

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