After making such a splash with his debut ‘Innerspeaker,’ Kevin Parker, or Tame Impala as he is more widely known, has followed up with his second self-recorded and produced album ‘Lonerism.’ KYS had a chat with Parker about the new album and the band’s current schedule.
Your new record, ‘Lonerism’ has just come out, what have the reactions been to it so far that you have seen?
It’s been pretty good I guess, people seem to be digging it.
Is it the record that you envisioned it would be when you first began creating it?
Yeah, definitely, only now am I starting to hear it somewhat objectively. When I was making it and just finishing it I was so involved with it that I lost perspective altogether. The more you and for something the more you deviate from it just because of the whole process that when you are so into something you lose perspective. However it happened though I’m satisfied with it.
When you say you were aiming for something, was that going to be vastly different from say the sounds on the first record?
Yeah, I guess so, inherently, because I was using different things and trying different methods, I was just trying to go for a more cosmic prog pop kind of sound rather than just groovy psychedelics.
It certainly is harder to pick the musical influences on this record compared to your first.
Did public perception of the band’s sound affect the new record at all?
There is always a consciousness of it but it’s during the times that you’re not thinking about that, that you start making music. During the times where you are thinking about the outside world and what people think then that is the mood that you’re in that is the least creative. When you are in the mood where you forget all that stuff exists that is when the good creativity comes out and you start to actually write a song.
You have obviously been playing the new songs live, how is that going?
Really good! We added a new member a few months ago, basically for the purpose of playing all the new stuff live because there are so many more layers and weird instruments, parts coming in and coming out, so I feel like we are a small five man orchestra rather than a band. A synth part will come in and disappear or a guitar will come in then disappear, all that kind of stuff. It makes it a lot more interesting on stage.
When you were writing that stuff were you worried about how you would pull it off live?
At the start I thought there was absolutely no way we were going to be able to do it and we wouldn’t even do a tour for it. I was like “It’s impossible, I guess we’re gonna have to stop touring” *laughs* and I felt ok with it, it’s only when I finished the album and started dreaming about the possibilities of actually doing it live and getting keyboards etc. It felt like a massive science experiment and I started getting into it and when I started playing the songs it felt completely surreal.
Because of the complexity do the live versions differ from the recorded one greatly?
Strangely enough the synths and keyboards are the easy parts to replicate because we have samplers and midi keyboards which do a good job of replicating old synth samples, it’s actually the guitars that sound different because you never have the same pedals and set-up. In the end the sounds available are so good at the moment that it allows us to have a lot more freedom with the structure of the song because the core of it is already there, we just experiment with it a little bit and it will still sound like Tame Impala.
How is the music being received overseas, is the indie prog rock scene big over there?
I’m really not sure, there are psych rock bands everywhere if that is the category we fit into. We recently just toured with this band called The Amazing, from Sweden and they have that hyper-melodic groove thing going on, but it’s hard to gauge which scenes are flourishing and which aren’t because we don’t really investigate into a city’s local scene when we tour, we just focus on the band’s we are playing with.
So what are the future plans for the band?
We’re touring Australia next month, and then we’re gonna chill out for most of the summer at home then go back out in February and do another lap of the planet *laughs*
Then back to another record?
Yeah for sure, I just gotta wait until I get my studio set-up again, I have a few ideas that are floating around.
You do all of your recording and producing yourself, do you find that you wouldn’t have it any other way?
Yeah, for sure, I couldn’t imagine going to a professional studio based on everything, the time allowance is a result of the money saving, I just couldn’t imagine that.
So you would never work with a producer?
I’ve imagined it but I don’t think that would be Tame Impala. With other things yes but with tame Impala definitely not, it would just seem like shaving such a large part of it off.