Tame Impala

Harry Milburn 17/08/2010

They might be from Australia, but Tame Impala are about as far removed from Jet as imaginable. Their psychedelic rock sound borrows heavily from the genre's original 60s innovators, and has already seen them support the likes of The Black Keys, Yeasayer and MGMT. GIITV's Harry Milburn caught up with front man, producer and part time Lennon-a-like Kevin Parker, ahead of the UK release of their debut album 'Innerspeaker'.

Firstly, how did Tame Impala come about?

It's mainly just a recording project I've had since forever, Tame Impala is just the current incarnation of it.

How would you describe your sound?

Dream pop that has a bit of a fuzzy edge. Psych rock with candy. Cool music for losers.

What are your thoughts on Innerspeaker as an album now its been completed?

That's a pretty open question... I have a million thoughts a day on whether it's good or bad or could change lives or bore everyone or whether I put too much delay on the second voice track at two minutes thirty five in the third song....
I'm having less and less though.

Since you were so pivotal in the production of the album, how difficult is it now to feel detached enough from the work to enjoy listening back objectively?

Quite difficult to impossible. You pretty much have to sacrifice the long-term-enjoyment part when you scrutinise that hard on something you've created. It's such a headfuck really, On one hand you love it more than anyone because YOU made it and you understand it better than anyone, but on the other hand it's the ignorance of how something was created that makes it magical.

Was 'Solitude Is Bliss' an easy choice for lead single?

I guess so, it's the only song with a real catch phrase!

You might be sick of people saying this, but when I first heard Tame Impala I genuinely thought John Lennon's vocals were being sampled. Have the Lennon comparisons got tiresome yet? Was he someone who consciously influenced your vocal style at all?

I'm not sick of it yet, we get a lot more heinous comparisons. It has a lot to do with what you do with the vocals after they've been recorded, but when you want the vocals to have a particular effect melodically, you find yourself converging on the same singing techniques that people 50 years ago had when THEY wanted that effect.

You're currently on tour with MGMT. What did you make of MGMT's latest release?

We all really love it. And that was before we saw them play it live. They are chord MASTERS. Every chord change in their songs is unexpected but strangely expected. I'm still not sure if they're making a point genre-wise, but it doesn't matter because the songwriting is tip top.

Would you agree there's a lack of people doing your kind of thing at the moment?

I wouldn't call it a lack. I think I'm happy with our place in the spectrum of music. It would be nice if there were a few more bands who had similar melodies but no one has exactly the same vision of music so you just take what you can get.

What's next for Tame Impala? What can we expect from the next album?

We're in the middle of recording it at the moment. I've got my own studio and better equipment this time around so I can cook up a sonic storm anytime of the day. I'm insanely excited about it. Sometimes I just start shaking.

Tame Impala release their new album “Innerspeaker” on August the 23rd on Modular Records.