Tame Impala

“Imagine a wizard with robes and a staff, like, eye to eye with an impala and it was frozen, tamed just for one moment, and then it was off again, wild and free.” Such is the experience when listening to the exploding guitar solo in Desire Be Desire Go, or the hypnotising groove in Skeleton Tiger by one of Australia’s foremost ‘psychedelic bands,’ Tame Impala.
Tame Impala is kind of just the recording project that I’m the boss of. I’ve had it for many years, with different friends and musicians helping me out,” stated the ‘band’s’ main-man, Kevin Parker. As to how the project is structured, he best surmised it as being composed of “…two halves: one half is the recording side which is very calculated and pieced together, and the other side is the live side, where we take what’s been recorded and turn them into live songs,” and that’s where Parker calls his friends from other projects to play alongside him.
As a live band, Tame Impala transform the songs through improvisation and the addition of their own things instead of trying to replicate the studio sound. Parker initially hated the way in which a live setting altered the songs, stating “I was just basically wigged out about that transition.” Eventually, however, he came to terms with it and began to enjoy the live setting, “…embracing the qualities of both.”
2008 saw the release of Tame Impala‘s EP, believed by many to be called Antares Mira Sun due to the cover depicting the Orion nebula. As for the songs, the EP saw Tame Impala‘s first intentional release. In an interview, Parker stated that “…the EP was not in anyway recorded for an EP. The songs that were on the EP weren’t even recorded at the same time, they were done over a bunch of years.”
In 2010, Tame Impala released their first album, Innerspeaker, which was recorded in a house “…a few hours south of Perth in the middle of nowhere on the coast.” Despite the limitations in sound and ideas, the songs put you under a pleasantly languid vibe. Parker, however, beleivs the songs to be “… delirious, alone music.” Also inherent within the album is a kind of restraint, wherein most of the album only consists of pop songs. “I was definitely really possessive of it being the first album, I was so focused on it matching what was in my head, I didn’t want to experiment too much away from that vision,” explained Parker in regards to his fear of creative deviation.
After Innerspeaker‘s release, Parker found himself with more time on his hands to record for the second album, Lonerism. Demos were made in various locations in the world and Parker moved into an apartment France in 2011, recording most of the album there in “a reclusive bunker.” Parker also co-wrote with another musician, Jay Watson of Pond, on the song Apocalypse Dreams, an experience which Parker said “…was… whoa… a huge thing for me.” Suddenly, every song is bursting with color in their lavish layers of busy instrumentation, showing Parker creating an album that is “…quite different, it’s a bit more decadent. It’s a bit more sonically decadent… There’s less holding-back of temptations of various kinds. I love fucked-up sounds, and I love pop melodies, and its kind of a combination of the two.” However, Parker dismisses the lyrical aspect of Lonerism as creating “…quite a childish album, almost like a persona who turns into the one from Innerspeaker.”
As for the future of the ‘band’, “It’ll be less of a solo project in the future, cause Jay and I are writing songs together and cooperating.” A third album is currently anticipated for release between the end of this year and early 2016, revealed to be encompass a completely different field of music altogether.
Whatever direction Tame Impala paves for itself into the future, you can be sure that Parker and his future band members will continue to create vibrant, multi-dimensional music that pushes boundaries and exceeds expectations, for each release under Tame Impala has only become better and better.