We Spoke To Tame Impala (Again!)

Just because they're probably the best band, ever.

Photo by Claire Martin

After catching up with Tame Impala for another installment of Noisey Meets, I decided to catch up with them again ahead of their sold out London show at Brixton Aacademy, because I'm kinda in love with them. But this time I got to quiz musical polygamist, Kevin Parker, about, umm, impalas, Serge Gainsbourg and having small children sing music you've written back at you.

Noisey: Hey! So, in the last Noisey interview, you said you’d be down for working with Outkast. If Andre came to you now and said he wanted to do it, what would you say?

Kevin: After about a minute of dribbling I’d probably say yes. We’d be making "Hey Ya Part 2".

Would you go for the hip-hop edge?

Yeah, sure. I’d get him to do everything and I’d make some crazy chords to go under his freestyle. I wouldn’t be doing any rapping myself.

So, if you’re not the white guy wannabe rapper guy in the band, who is?

Nick's really good at freestyling for a white guy. He wouldn’t do it for you now though. You’ve got to be in the zone don’t you? Half drunk and getting rowdy.

If you had to pick someone from the pop world, who do you think could bring something to Tame Impala's sound?

Ummm, probably Britney Spears. If you put loads of crazy effects on her voice it could be amazing. She’s a good singer and whatever they do to her voice, it sounds really good. If they kept fucking with her voice with some crazy psychedelic effects it would sound even better.

Sweet. There’s a whole bunch of animal themed bands – Arctic Monkeys, Wolfmother, etc – If the Impala had to mate with one animal, who would it be?

I dunno, a phoenix.

The band Phoenix?

Oh no, I wasn’t even thinking of the band! I was just thinking of the animal, they have wings and talons.

What type of music would they be making?

I guess the logical answer is really tight precise dance floor friendly psych rock.

Do you think? I don’t know if a phoenix/ impala hybrid would be that good at making music.

Then, it’d probably be a badger with glasses.

Like a little techno badger! If you could assign an animal to everyone in the band, who would be what?

Can I do breeds of dog? I think Dom is like a husky or something and I’m like a cross breed… actually… I dunno. This is a really difficult question.

It’s quite difficult. Last animal themed question, who is the impala of the music world?

Urm….Pond are like the rabbit or ferret thing. I don’t know. I would say us, but, I don’t know. This animals thing is getting weird.

You’re right, let's move on. In another interview you said that you didn’t understand the association between Impala and people getting blazed. Where does your inspiration come from?

It comes from wanting to make music really and to express things and if you’re a musician that’s going to come out with music.

Didn’t you say Lonerism was the contents of your spit valve?

Haha, right. Yeah, I’m just going to plagiarize myself here. Music is just whatever is left over that you haven’t already talked about. It’s whatever has been bottled up inside of you.

Is it more personally written than your first record?

It’s more personally based, definitely. I felt confident enough to expose parts of my personality and not to feel shy about it. I always thought it was uncool to sing about insecurities and whatever. But, I started listening to Serge Gainsbourg, and he’s the type of guy that exposes himself and shows the world how much of a creep he is. That gave me confidence. I still have the same complexes that I had before writing this album. It’s therapeutic to write songs about terrible dark feelings, but yeah, the reaction probably does help a bit.

Agreed. Also, the Perth music scene seems pretty hectic, what do you do to get away from that and chill?

Music has been part of our lives for so long now, and it’s so deeply ingrained that we don’t bother thinking about much else. We’d put on cartoons or whatever to chill out.

Cool. You record and write all the parts yourself, how does that all come together in the live show? Do the other guys get to put their own spin on things?

In the live thing it’s half and half. We get together and work out how we’re going to do it. So, everyone naturally gives his own bit to it. We sort of listen to the recorded version, and even I’ve forgotten how to play half of the parts by the time we get to that, so half of the time I’m always like, alright Jay, you can do what you want.

So you’re trusting the parts to them?


Lastly, I saw the video of the school kids singing your song, did that freak you out?

It was pretty surreal and moving. At first it didn’t really feel like it was my song and then I realized it was and I was just like, “Jesus”. You never expect people on the other side of the world to be doing things in response to something that you did. You don’t expect them to react in the way that they learn the song and all the harmonies, it’s fucking crazy.

Indeed it is. Cool, thanks Kevin!