Tame Impala

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Tame Impala


As Solitude Is Bliss clearly demonstrated, Tame Impala are masterful exponents of depicting the serene and enlightening state of being inside one’s own head.

As Solitude Is Bliss clearly demonstrated, Tame Impala are masterful exponents of depicting the serene and enlightening state of being inside one’s own head. For the Perth psychedelic-rock entity, the recording side has always come first; the rest, as one could say, lies in a different dimension. "We do a lot of drawn-out jams of the songs, so we can change the songs however we want and really try and get people lost in the music," lead guitarist and vocalist Kevin Parker says. "We can make it as blissed-out as we want," he notes with glee.


It’s unsurprising that the creation of Tame Impala’s debut album, Innerspeaker – in all its dreamy psychedelic beauty – embodied quite a spiritual artistic journey. "The start is definitely the most spiritual time," says Parker, "because it’s when you’ve just kind of conceived the song and it’s in the inception stages and you’re quite in love with the song. So you get the most meaning out of it at the start when you’re just piecing together the lyrics and the music. Once it comes to the technical side of piecing together the sounds and the instruments and actually recording it, then it becomes more of a technical thing – it’s less spiritual the further along the process that you go, I guess."


Innerspeaker – released last May – received some of the country’s highest honours, having been named both Triple J and Rolling Stone‘s Album Of The Year. "We don’t really pride ourselves on winning awards; I’ve never been an award-winning person," Parker laughs. "But it’s obviously really flattering – I think winning an award from Rolling Stone and Triple J means more to some of the people around us than to us. Our label and manager put a lot of emphasis on things like that in terms of encouraging a career… But I don’t really see that world of it, so for me, it’s just kind of a compliment."


When Parker isn’t touring, he’s constantly busy writing new songs, which is why fans can expect their second album in the not-too-distant future. "It’s going really well – I’m just working on it all the time," he admits. "I’ve got my own studio now, so I can whip up a cold mix storm whenever needed, you know. I don’t have to go somewhere else to record drums or something – I can just do it in my own bedroom, so it’s quite handy. The album’s going really good – I’m really quite excited about it. It’s quite different… I think the songwriting’s a lot more advanced on this one… I think I’ve gotten a bit better. I’m hoping that it’ll be out by the end of the year."


Having spoken in the past of his joy in working with Dave Fridmann, will the band be working with him again? "I’m quite content to mix the album again with Dave – he’s one of my favourite engineers in the world," he enthuses. "I’ll be mixing the album with him sometime in July. Other than that, I have no desire to work with other creative people with Tame Impala. I mean, I love to work with other people, just not with Tame Impala."


Parker is quite the perfectionist, after all. "I still have my wants and desires for when I do a song, but the perfectionist thing is not really a sound perfection, it’s more just wanting to have a perfect kind of feeling of each instrument, which is why I get called a perfectionist by all my friends," he laughs. "For me, it’s more about the luxury of being able to control everything; it’s more about control than it is about perfection, which is handy for me because I’ve got a new recording system. I’m not using my old one… I’ve got a lot more control, so in turn I can perfect things a lot easier.


"With all the travelling, we’ve seen how other bands do their thing live. When we were doing the first album, I was quite closed off and unaware of how the rest of the music world works," Parker concedes, "and now that I’ve learnt a whole lot about other types of music and other methods of recording music, it’s definitely opened my eyes a lot. So from that, I think this new material is a lot more adaptation and experimentation." Recently, he’s been captivated by the music of Caribou, Toro Y Moi and Serge Gainsbourg.


Parker regards their festival performances at Splendour In The Grass and Lowlands (in Amsterdam, where they garnered "a really overwhelming turn-out") as among their most transcendental, and is looking forward to new challenges in performing at Future Music Festival this weekend and Coachella in April.


For a musician as young as Parker to be described as ‘writing futuristic Beatles music’ is indicative of his prodigious talents, but the Tame Impala mastermind is happy to condense it into an unrelenting obsession with making music on his own and creating recordings. "My dad was a musician, so I was always fiddling with the guitar and singing songs… it’s very much something that I got obsessed with at an early age," Parker affirms.


"I got drum lessons when I was about 11 – that kind of kicked it all off. Since then, it’s just been a growing obsession. My passion for it hasn’t waned at all. I think I’ve just become more and more obsessed and more determined to get better at it … to be able to make more kind of cosmic music."


TAME IMPALA play the FUTURE MUSIC FESTIVAL at Flemington Racecourse this Sunday March 13 (Labour Day holiday eve) alongside Dizzee Rascal, MGMT, Chemical Brothers, Pendulum, Mark Ronson & The Business Intl, Ke$ha, The Presets and heaps, heaps more – tickets from 136 or ticketmaster.com.au. Innerspeaker is out now through Modular.