by Chandler Christopher
September 8, 2021
Worn-Tin is the indie, lo-fi, psych-rock persona of Warner Hiatt (his name was proclaimed after a friend drunkenly called him Worn-Tin one night). Planting his roots in Santa Monica, the Los Angeles native began composing and playing his own music in high school. Warner began his journey as Worn-Tin in 2015, primed by the experiential education of playing in local live bands and personal experimentation with his music creation. His debut album, Thanatophobia, translating to a fear of death, is a psychedelic collection of strummy tunes that effortlessly catch the ears’ attention (and sounds even better live). The project was inspired by a personal tragedy– a rollover accident in 2014 in which Warner and his friends were victims. They all luckily survived, and Warner described this fear of death as a side effect of his devastating accident. Hence the name, Thanatophobia. Warner has spent time working on a wide variety of experiences in his life, including The Eric Andre Show. He described it as an amazing observational experience, learning to understand the energy that one’s art can truly emanate. Driven by a distinct transparency and an excellent work ethic, Worn-Tin is an artist who is excited by introspection and personal growth.
Warner attended the Berklee College of Music for just one year before leaving to fulfill his larger conquest, explaining that the college experience was different than he originally anticipated. However, he credited the experience with certain realizations about his musical abilities and purpose in life. “The summer going into my freshman year there was a summer program through Berklee with the other kids in my grade. I definitely realized that I wasn’t nearly as talented of an instrument player as my classmates, but I did realize one skill that set me apart– my ability to compose complete songs. I remember bringing my iPod and headphones with me with some of my demos on them and showing them to my classmates, not thinking much of it. They seemed shocked that I had actually put those songs all together myself.” Through this, Warner realized that he had a genuine knack for songwriting, which ultimately prompted him to leave college and carve his own path.
Worn-Tin describes himself as a workaholic influenced by the hustling culture of Los Angeles. Not only does he spend his time constantly creating new music, he also works odd jobs like working on movie sets, painting houses, or even driving people to the airport. In Warner’s world, he is perfectly happy being able to sustain himself and continue to do what fulfills him most. When I first met Warner, I had read about him online to prepare for our interview. I conjured up certain aspects of his persona based on my reading that were really completely wrong. When I read about his wild shows, (which, pre-pandemic, consisted of breaking bottles on his head, peeing himself on stage, etc.), I figured he must be a party-rockin’ animal who happened to be an extremely talented musician as well. Y’know, that rockstar kind of lifestyle that every other musician MUST have right? Well, I was wrong. While his show still was insanely energetic (my favorite show of 2021), he wasn’t this party animal that people may think. He was focused, intelligent, sober, and determined. I definitely learned something because of this false assumption I had made… It’s so cliche, but we all need an emphasis on the cliche every once in a while– never even slightly judge a book by its cover because you’re most likely wrong.
His second album, Cycles (2019), is a commentary on the cycles of the different vices and addictions that can consume people’s lives. “I feel we talk about addiction a lot as a society. And it’s always looked at as a negative, and I get that, but it isn’t always negative. Sometimes it’s just a cycle and a part of life. If something you get really into or obsessed with doesn’t work out, you move on and continue the cycle,” Warner said. Worn-Tin has built his impressive catalog on a foundation of self-truth and self-realization, and his perseverance of growth will continue to allow his music to evolve for years to come.