In the last few years, the isolated solo artist has became an in-demand collaborator, who's crafted hits for Travis Scott and Lady Gaga and spent a bunch of studio time with Mark Ronson. Oh, no, there's always that concern. This dichotomy is encapsulated in his songs, which can feel both intimate and enormous. Guesting On … Same emotion. What’s the vibe with him in the studio? Everything. I guess it was like 2018 or something? But this wasn’t that. STEREOGUM: Where did the concept for that song come from? Which is something very close to my heart because I’m rubbish at getting back. My main regret in those days was that I was the opposite of a brash young kid not giving a shit. He is a festival-headlining pop artist who makes dense psychedelic rock music. And then a short while after that I just decided to not get hung up about it. I like to think that if I could make Tame Impala music with other people I would. Their ocean-crossing summer tour has seen them play venues from beach-side festivals to muddy British fields; a clear indication of their undisputed status as a formidable live act. So it’s not worth going after.” But no, it was a happy ending. It's really important to me to feel like I'm on the verge of it all turning to shit. Is it tough to collaborate when you've got that urge towards solitariness? In December 2018, Tame Impala was announced for the Saturday headline slot at Coachella, which had just been vacated by Justin Timberlake. And then I walk offstage feeling like a pop star in the best possible way. He also informed their parents. I think that could be really good. But it didn’t show. We did a bunch of stuff, but as with all things, I’m not sure if any of that will surface. Here's the devastating plot twist: I said everything I've just told you when I finished [last album] Currents. Well, 'Is It True', weirdly enough. Which can go catastrophically wrong. I can’t speak for her, I don’t know. "It was around the time I was so inside my own head and just completely lacking in perspective," he says. That was one of the first big mainstream pop things you worked on. Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker explains his secret source of inspiration and how standing in front of a really really big crowd keeps you anything … I didn’t know what it was, ’cause I knew he had stopped making Streets albums in like 2009 or something? My manager reminded me just the other day, actually, when I was finishing up this album. For me it’s everything in a song. Which is different to music that is good". He is perhaps Australia's most famous rock star, but has spent most of his career hiding behind a band that doesn't really exist. Not just release [it], but let's go to the studio. So he wasn't going to play them. And I hate being stoned in public, right? How tough was it touring with only two new singles? But this might be the last album that I do like that. Fuck yeah, I’ll get the guy from Tame Impala and John Mayer on bass and guitar. It’s just choosing where to put beats and where not to put them. He bounced between them for a decade, at which point they briefly reunited only for things to fall apart again. Occasionally he’ll be bummed out by a calendar reminder on his laptop alerting him to which city Tame Impala should have been playing that night, but overall he’s been in good health and good spirits. Matt Fink ( Under the Radar ): The last time I talked to you, you explained that your songwriting process eventually breaks down over minute details that most listeners will never even be able to hear. So 'Posthumous Forgiveness' is one-sided in that way. I was working on a bunch of stuff, just kind of playing some clips of music that I had. It’s classic Mike Skinner ’cause it’s kind of funny, it’s kind of true and poignant at the same time. There was him, alone. When I became a teenager I got the shyness thing pretty hard. "There's no song that sounds exactly like I imagined it, because when you imagine it, it doesn't really exist. Because he wasn't courageous or he was only looking out for himself in a particular situation. But it took me a long time. STEREOGUM: How did you find out about this? And usually you just kind of press a couple buttons and give them whole sections, but I gave them every little bit of it. PARKER: No, no. So if I were the Strokes I might go, “Hey.” But the reason it sounded like me is because it’s the art form, making a knockoff of the song and making it sound as much like the song you’re trying to knock off as you can without it being a copyright infringement. Now Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker has weighed in, and he’s a fan. What’s the determining factor on how you approach it? Did you get starstruck back in those days being around celebrities? "There's no one in the world that I've felt as creative with as I do when I'm alone". The Slow Rush is released worldwide in 14 February. PARKER: I guess I was just using all my producer power to make us, a rock band, not sound like a rock band. Almost like a palate cleanser. But you could have that. So when I was recording this album, I intentionally did that. A band, in the time-honoured meaning. And, duly, two singles arrived: blissed-out funker 'Patience', and 'Borderline', which sounded like ELO covering Pharrell. The Number Ones: Genesis’ “Invisible Touch”, The Number Ones: Simply Red’s “Holding Back The Years”, Shut Up, Dude: This Week’s Best And Worst Comments, Eve 6 Guy Is Spilling The ’90s Alt-Rock Tea On Twitter, Boy Band Why Don’t We Sample Smashing Pumpkins’ “1979” On New Single “Slow Down”. In our interview, we hopped and skipped across his career, discussing various superstar collaborations and bizarre twists in the Tame Impala story. It's always the most exciting when there's risks being taken. Pre-order it now here, Styling: James Sleaford | Styling assistant: Rosalind Donoghue, Grooming: Andrea Gomez Anzola using ClarinsMen. PARKER: Mark was producing the album, so he’s not into that as a format anyway. So yeah, there I was in the studio with Rocky, playing along to my own song for the first time. PARKER: I don’t know, man. That sounds depressing but it's not". I didn't watch TV. That's not to say it wasn't fun and fulfilling. Parker has the ability to induce a kind of collective mania which makes you doubt the veracity of your memories. They taught me so much about storytelling in songwriting and having such a strong personality in your music. STEREOGUM: And then he came out and performed with you at Coachella. But like I said, me playing my music to other people is a time of the sun coming back down to earth. I know producers release their stems and say, “OK, remix my shit,” but when you talk about “stems printing” — I didn’t realize that’s something that could be high or low quality. Yeah. Choosing what rhythms to play. Take 'Let It Happen', the breakout single from his breakout 2015 album, Currents. Rather than not go outside, I went, OK, I'll go to the shops or try and do some grocery shopping. And that’s not indicative of a regular Australian person. I feel like my perspective of being in the studio changed after that. There was four of us, really, ’cause it was BloodPop. The idea of me writing pop songs that I didn't sing was extremely alluring to me. Ahead of the album's release, Tame Impala's auteur Kevin Parker sat down with Zan Rowe and opened up in an in-depth interview about the many aspects of his third full-length album. This was notable for … Distorted guitars and hip-hop sometimes go well, like Kanye and Mike Dean, and they can also be a disaster. So he ended up taking the drums from a different song and using them in that one. Like I honestly thought it was hilarious. PARKER: He was, he told me he was too — “I’m really happy we’re doing this because I’m a fan.” He’s an extremely articulate guy, extremely. That’s kind of just how I want to approach it, just not being self-aware. It's not like it was explained to you. We were particularly closed off. I never have. Your first gigs start soon. STEREOGUM: I don’t know that much about the art of production. But yeah, Rocky came through a few days before, and it was such a good vibe. In hindsight, he even regretted putting those singles out. This content is imported from YouTube. "It took over almost instantly from me playing with Lego. And extremely intelligent, which admittedly I didn’t expect. ", Back to the studio it went, to be reworked, polished, remixed and remastered, until he got it close enough to the platonic version that existed in his brain. In our interview, we hopped and skipped across his career, discussing various superstar collaborations and bizarre twists in the Tame Impala story. A couple of his albums were such important albums to me growing up. His parents – both emigrés, his father a Zimbabwean accountant, his mother a free spirit from South African – divorced when he was four. I wanted people to hear this hilarious version. Have you done work besides, you know, massive international success? Everyone was telling us, “Don’t bother going after them because in China copyright law is heaps more loose. That's important to me. [Note: These are extra portions of our interview with Kevin Parker, quotes that didn't make it into our main print article on Tame Impala.] But it won't stop me trying. I thought that was cool. PARKER: He actually made contact a lot sooner. Which is different in how you go about it, but mentally it’s exactly the same. I really, really hope that we are given an opportunity to finish it and release it. That song was about one minute long until midnight, 21 November. It’s been attempted many times before, so it’s kind of a challenge: “We gotta try and do this, and do it well.”. To be honest, this is another thing that I dragged myself kicking and screaming into doing. Around the time that he died, I was still pretty young – he died around 10 years ago. New music is here. Because he had such a big pressure. When I'm working on something that I've written myself, and no one in the entire world has heard it, I feel like the first person who does is gonna burst into tears of joy and tear off their clothes and run into the ocean. He developed an almost chronic shyness, for which music became a kind of balm. You have to shake the snow globe up. But even at larger scales, you can sense his aura. The psych project mastermind made the comments to Australian radio station triple j … Like it came from a part of me that wasn't calculated, where I don't know where that came from. In a decade, the psychedelic rock torchbearer and musical flagship of Perth, Australia, polymath Kevin … We just have really similar perspectives on music and taste. There was so much pressure on him to deliver an album that was going to perform the way it did after Birds In The Trap. There was no band. But it has to be on my terms. In the time since that album dropped, with a boost from creative and commercial level-ups like 2012’s Lonerism and 2015’s Currents, Parker has gone from an obscure retro psych enthusiast to one of the gods of the modern festival-scene. You know? PARKER: What’s funny is I didn’t know who anyone was. I spend by far the most amount of time on drums and rhythms of my songs than any other part. Not always taste-wise as in being into the exact same artists, but we just think the same things are sick. He has amazing insight into things. In March, when it became clear most people around the world would have to hole up for a while to combat the spread of COVID-19, the Tame Impala mastermind and his wife, Sophie Lawrence, were faced with a significant decision: Stay in LA or make a break for Parker’s native Perth? It had been four years since the last album and no one announces a festival slot, and a world tour, without something new to promote. You just forgive them because they're human and they fuck up, you know? So he was probably stoked to be there with Kevin Parker. Like making brush strokes on a canvas and feeling satisfied with them. It turns out that this is how Parker has made every Tame Impala record, since 2008's first eponymous EP and up to his next album, The Slow Rush, which is due on 14 February. And we programmed a bunch of other stuff. STEREOGUM: What are some things you saw eye-to-eye on or connected on? 'Posthumous Forgiveness', which is kind of the lynchpin of the new album, is about the relationship with your father, right? I just put a lot of care into it. So I think in Travis’ sort of grand vision of everything, he’s like, “Oh we’re doing SNL. Which is what I fuckin’ love about him. PARKER: He had most of the lyrics done, and he was like, “Can you sing something over it?” So I just sang the first thing — and it was funny because it’s such a cheeky thing for a song. He wrote every chord, recorded every hi hat, mixed every vocal line. They're not asking for it, but you are able to give it. That's difficult. I mean, I don't tell them to fuck off. A year or so before this rekindling, Parker's father had discovered he was smoking weed with his friends and banned him from ever seeing them again. anyway in a lot of settings. There’s some bits and pieces on top of it that I played, which was funny because I hadn’t played along to a recording of that song since InnerSpeaker, which was like 2010. In December 2018, Tame Impala was announced for the Saturday headline slot at Coachella, which had just been vacated by Justin Timberlake. PARKER: No, they voluntarily compensated me. I didn't actually intend for that to be on the album. That might actually just be because he's a softly spoken Australian who's partial to a joint and who's written some of his best songs stoned out of his tree. STEREOGUM: Before this Saturday Night Live performance you worked on Travis Scott’s Astroworld album. So I love it when someone’s reinterpreted them as kind of barebones. He is a sought-after collaborator who literally cannot write music with anyone else in the room. Hopefully one day, but I’ve been saying that now for years. He wanted to have new songs to play, but they weren't ready. And I get really hard on myself. Tame Impala's Kevin Parker on His Pop Ambitions: 'I Want to Be a Max Martin' Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker used to prefer solitude. And he is a self-confessed anxious, self-critical loner who's rarely happier than when he's stood on stage in front of thousands of people. I heard a soundalike of “Someday” by the Strokes on the new Ricky Gervais After Life trailer. A new tour is pending. What's your role when you're in a room with, say, Mark Ronson? PARKER: There’ve been some really nice ones. You could probably mark quite clearly where I started learning drums because I stopped playing with Lego. Not like a beat like a rhythm, but like where to hit and where not to hit. All the songs that I've worked on with people have been things that I've started on my own and brought to them. Something we both care about deeply is making relevant music. “I think five years ago,” says Kevin Parker, the man who to all intents and purposes is Tame Impala, “the thought of sitting in a room being dissected by journalists would have horrified me.” But we’re both retrophiles and audiophiles and all that. The last sort of two or three weeks of making the album was just nonstop. There was a song, 'Is It True', that was only half-finished at about midnight. Which was odd, because a year earlier, things had looked rosy. 2020年2月14日、待ち望んでいたTame Impala(テームインパラ)の新アルバム“The Slow Rush”がリリースされた。 2016年度グラミー賞の最優秀オルタナティブミュージック賞にノミネートされ、Tame Impalaがワールドワイドな人気を獲得するきっかけとなった前作“Currents”から5年。 Which is kind of like my M.O. It’s not the kind of thing I waste my time on or can even stomach. I gave a shit. I mean COME ON guys at least put some effort in. And the more albums [I make], I realise how important that kind of shaking it up is. She’s obviously a busy person, so no, I didn’t chat with her. Thus far hospitalization has not been necessary. Slow Fitness Is The Best Way To Train In 2020, Louis Vuitton's Master Watchmaker, Michel Navas, Netflix's 'The Eddy' Is A Slow-Burn Gritty Drama. I think he loathes and detests that format. I guess that’s how Kanye works, he just takes bits and puts them where he wants. He can lean out from the edge of a stage and make tens of thousands of people feel like he's singing just to them. STEREOGUM: Mayer’s a big fan of yours. At the end of the day, I think it was right at the time when SZA’s career was taking off. Silence. PARKER: Yeah, something like that. Which takes a lot of work, and you have to have high attention to detail. Mark is someone I've been super close with for a long time now, so it's much easier for me, but the big difference is because I've never been able to separate creative time from social time, I know that I piss Mark Ronson off sometimes. We have old-fashioned tastes, but care about nothing more than making relevant music. That hook you sing, “I was gonna call you back” — was that something he had already that you built off of, or what? Because with programming things, it has nothing to do with how good you are at playing the drums. So it is somewhat ironic when a member of security demands Parker’s … Which was surprised everyone. Has success brought more confidence or do you worry about how things are going to be received? PARKER: Yeah, we did a studio session together. “We were like, what do we do, what do we do?” Parker recalls. He posted a few years ago about Currents being his favorite album of the past few years. That sounds really depressing but it's not. Is it important to have that sense of chance when you're writing songs? We would literally be hanging out in our backyard listening to old music constantly. I can't emphasise enough how important it is to me to feel like I'm just outside my safe zone. “The health system in Australia is really good,” Parker reasons. There's no one telling you to just release it? But that's why I desperately wanted to have the album out because I wanted to play new music. But I felt like they overstepped. I'd wake up at nine in the morning and go until midnight and then go to sleep. But it kind of struck me how I discovered something about my dad after he was dead. They were very clear about it, actually. We only listened to it at like max volume. It’s one of those things that… I literally can’t deal, or whatever it is. So the last bit of the song is meant to suggest this idea that when you forgive someone who's dead, you don't forgive them because they were suddenly able to explain themselves. It just struck me that he was just a regular old person who does shit things sometimes. He has a new approach to life, as well, which embraces success rather than fleeing it. For anyone that's a fan of me, to hear that they would probably think that's ludicrous, you know? I haven't written a single chord progression in the company of another person that made it in the actual song. Then, nothing. Fuck yeah, let’s do it!” You know? PARKER: I realized I wanted to have that kind of attitude in the studio, like, “Fuck yeah, we’re doing this!” And not, like, doubting everything constantly, going like, “Let’s not try this,” or, “Let’s not go ’til five in the morning.” Like fuck it! I hate my voice too much, and my producer brain just immediately wants to flood it with sounds and noises and drum sounds and shit. I always saw being solitary as a necessity, because I didn't know how to make [music] with people. When I'm kind of uncomfortable, that's when I think of melodies. I've always loved disco and I've always loved primitive house music. Has that changed anything for you? Oh, and he does write songs like 'Posthumous Forgiveness', the centrepiece of his upcoming fourth album, The Slow Rush, in which he laments the failings of an absent father before offering him exoneration (although unlike the Biblical Son, Parker's comes backed with pillowy synths). ‘Cause we played a medley of my song and another song, and the other song was one that John Mayer played on. It would also make sense of their fervour, which seems religious in its intensity, as though they're experiencing his music as something more than music, something transcendental. No, that would be my own brain. He had no producer, no engineer, no session musicians, sometimes not even friends to ask for feedback. At least to my knowledge. He’s not afraid to axe an entire part of a song, which I think is amazing. I can’t work on music at low volumes — it’s like, why am I doing this? Tame Impala have covered Edwyn Collins’ 1994 single “A Girl Like You” for Australia’s Triple J Radio in Perth. PARKER: We bonded on everything from like ways to mic a drum kit to weird ’60s songs. PARKER: At the end of the day, it’s the same. The best beat makers in the world, they have exactly the same software that some kid in their bedroom does. What's the process of turning music you've made on your own into something you can take on tour? And that might be because it was a song that I spent the least amount of time on, which actually now that I'm thinking about it, is actually quite profound. So I think it was only ever going to be really homegrown with Mark producing it. In that same interview, Parker said that his biggest takeaway from making both the previous Tame Impala album, 2015's Currents, and this one was to trust his gut instincts. Exactly. That kind of search, the quest — we were both on this quest to recontextualize old music and make it relevant. Nothing. But he's definitely been reborn. When I'm alone, there are just different things that come to me. It's a little bit daunting because I never consider my music as something that needs to be performed live for it to fulfil its potential. And I used to be the biggest Streets fan. I think I looked away as fast as I could because of how cringey it was. Hey r/tameimpala!My name's Austin and I run the website for We Write About Music. But hey, fuck it, I'd love to work with Daft Punk. From about midnight to eight am was when I completed the rest of the song which was writing, recording and mixing. We were just starting out, young guys from Perth, all fairly socially inept, so everything was pretty intimidating — which I wish it hadn’t been. You’ve just got to have some restraint because hip-hop is about making space in the mix, having things behind you but also keeping space. When he joined bands later, using music as a way to make new friends, he struggled to draw the lines between fun and work. It was so much fun. But the thing is I'll do whatever it takes to get to a spot where I feel like the music I'm making is inspired. So there was no back-and-forth. If you play that, there’s a soundalike of “Someday” in there. I was also, I think I was a bit offended by the choice of, like, everything. But I know in my heart that the music would suffer. It's usually the stuff that I do in between working on the music that I'm passionate about, like, just fucking around the studio is kind of what I do. He still does. 86.0k members in the TameImpala community. STEREOGUM: Like you were willing to try more things? For me, the music I imagine making is for people listening to by themselves. Yeah. We’ve Got A File On You features interviews in which artists share the stories behind the extracurricular activities that dot their careers: acting gigs, guest appearances, random internet ephemera, etc. How long does it take before you're comfortable enough to just snap into it? Is that part of that? I was like, 'You're fucking worthless, you're pathetic', but I guess the fact that it is me doing it all, there are more ways that it can grind to a halt. I'm one of those people that's infinitely curious about things, as well. STEREOGUM: Have any other covers of your work stood out to you as particularly interesting or changed your perspective on your own song? It can be extremely lame. Him being my father, I worshipped the ground he walked on, I never assumed that he could ever put a foot wrong because he was my dad. PARKER: I saw something. I don't just mean on my own, but working that intensely. Yeah. Tame Impala have risen to become one of the hottest alt-rock bands of the moment. I know it’s ruining my hearing, I’m damaging my hearing because I work at high volume, but it’s worth it because it carries you to the finish line of finishing music, loving the music more. Which is precisely why Tame Impala is such an astonishing thing to experience in the flesh, ideally shoulder-to-beer-soaked-shoulder with thousands of fellow apostles. He had his own room set up, and we’d be writing lyrics in one room and recording some music, and we’d send bits of music in to BloodPop’s thing, and he’d chop it up and sort of play around with it. I guess it's like artistic fulfilment. I’d love to — that song was fire, so I hope that there’s some way we can. There's a part of me that wants to run back to the dressing room and there's another part that's like, 'Come on, Kev', just dragging myself on stage. They come to me when I mentally just want to kind of escape, or mentally fill a void. STEREOGUM: Did you ever talk to her or meet her or discuss the track at all? I'm not going to tell them to ram it. Which at the end of the day is the same whether you’re playing drums or programming them. Some of this sheen could be attributed to the And probably is. 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