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Psychedelic Electro-Piece Tame Impala

The Aussie quartet, signed to Modular, on supporting MGMT and having almost finished off work on their second album already

Growing up in the world’s remotest city must have a bearing on any child. The contradicting duality of being surrounded by a mass of people, yet being so totally cut off, is quite a thing to comprehend. To turn that comprehension into a stunning debut album is something which goes way above our heads, yet Kevin Parker’s Tame Impala have done exactly that with debut album 'Innerspeak'. Given this context much of their music takes on a more precise meaning and tracks like ‘Solitude is Bliss’ suddenly make begin to make sense. We caught up with Parker before the band’s sold out show at London's Cargo to see what it was like touring America with MGMT and how he thought their debut had been received.

Dazed Digital: Describe your sound.
Kevin Parker: The sound is meant to be a kind of dream pop. I have a fetish for melodies that weave and are melancholic. It’s mainly a recording project that we do at home and occasionally play gigs as a band!

DD: How have you found the reception to the album?
Kevin Parker: It’s been really good. It wasn’t as polarised as I thought it would be.  When I finished the album I thought everyone would have the same opinion of it but it’s turned out that everyone hears it in their own way and that’s relieving.

DD: How’s the tour going?
Kevin Parker: It’s pretty cruisey. It’s just over two weeks long too, so it’s not a marathon tour but we’re playing a lot of different kind of shows – its not like when you’re supporting a band and you’re doing the same thing every night. We’re playing festivals, doing our own shows and going to places like London and Belgium. It’s quite multi-layered.

DD: Do you prefer playing your own shows to supporting?
Kevin Parker: To be honest, I think we prefer supporting. There’s no expectation or pressure you know? We just go on and do our thing and if people like it then good and if not then too bad. We have nothing to lose. When you’re headlining people turn up to see certain songs and if you don’t play them then they get upset.    

DD: Was it like that supporting MGMT?
Kevin Parker: That was the best. It was our first time in America and we were just experiencing the American way of life around every corner. We were thoroughly spoilt  - when most bands go to America for the first time, or Australia or anywhere, you’re going round in a van and eating whatever food you can get your hands on, and then playing to about three people. But we’d roll up to big arenas packed full of people already excited to see MGMT and a lot of them really got into us which was crazy.

DD: Is it true you’ve nearly completed the second album already?
Kevin Parker: It’s getting there. We’ve got all the songs – I’d say, realistically, about 70 per cent of the music is done. We’ve just been recording at home, because there’s not really much else to do. It’s cool though, with the first album I was very uptight and wanted everything done in a certain way but at the same time was unsure of what I wanted. I had all these rules but now there aren’t any and I can just open up and let go. I’ve got quite a nice studio set up now too so I can cook up a cosmic storm whenever it’s required. I’m so unbelievably excited about this next album

DD: How different is it from 'Innerspeak'?
Kevin Parker: It’s quite different. We’re using a lot more toys. I don’t want to give too much away but it sounds ten times more cosmic than the first album. They way I’m recording now is a lot better. I’ve got such a better grasp of how to make things sound really out there.

DD: Are you still involved in producing the bands artwork?
Kevin Parker: I drew the picture for the bands EP and the idea behind the album cover was my idea. I couldn’t execute it because I’m not a graphic designer. I didn’t think I’d be involved in that kind of things but when we signed the contract for the recording deal and things started to happen I realised there was so much more creativity involved in the whole thing you know? It seemed wrong to leave an element to someone else’s interpretation, especially as the person who made the sound would be the person best suited to conjuring up an image of that sound.