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Snippet of Broken Record: Tame Impala Interview

From Audio: Tame Impala
Last Played: January 19, 2021
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Rick Rubin talks to Tame Impala's Kevin Parker about his newest release, The Slow Rush, and his creative process. Kevin shares key influences on some Tame Impala songs and also plays Rick a demo for an unrealized song from his voice memos.
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under to yourself. Listen to the Happiness lab wherever you get your podcasts. In the 13 years since Kevin Parker first posted tame Impala music on MySpace, he's gone from being a member of Perth, Australia. Psych rock scene to a huge Coachella headlining act in the States. And the process has developed the best of both worlds. The respect of all your favorite artists and legions of fans who dissect every lyric and sound on his albums. Like most of his past releases, Kevin did everything on the newest tame Impala album, the slow Rush himself. All the singing, playing, production, mixing everything, he tells Rick Rubin, is how he's most comfortable creating alone. But in the five years between his last record and the new one, he was busy collaborating with the weekend. Travis Scott, Kanye West, CISA and a bunch of other people have talked about wanting to work with him to everyone from dual EPA to Christine and the Queens. Kevin, connected recently with Rick on Zoom, has been sheltered in place back in Australia ever since the coronavirus interrupted his tour after two sold out nights at the Forum in L. A. He talked with Rick about how being perceived as a band, started eating away at him early and also asked Rick about making two albums. He loves Californication and Jesus. This is broken record liner notes for the digital age. I'm just in Richmond. Yeah, here's Rick Rubin and Kevin Parker, and you might hear roosters crowing in the background every once in a while. Unfortunately, sheltered in place sometimes means being surrounded by wild chickens. What was your introduction to music? What your first memories of listening to music is, kid. My dad was kind of a musician by hobby, like I loved music, loved playing music. They played like a cover band, just playing kind of sixties, you know, Beach boys, Beatles, Rolling Stones covers and say he would always have sort of guitars and stuff along on the house. Uh, I didn't end the garage, I guess, of your dad's music was the first. Your first memory of was off him playing music or of the music you listened to. I'll music to listen to it because he was, he would always have music playing in the car. In fact, it's weird because this is one song that I have this memory of always asking him to play. And I remember there was just every time I heard it was like, You know, I must have been about four years old, also as I did. I play this song and to this day I don't know what that song is. It's hot break. Does your dad still remember Hey, passed away about 10 years ago. So So, Yeah, I don't think I don't think he would have remembered anyway, though, but it's Yeah, I have a feeling It's the shadows song by the shadows. Do you feel like if you randomly came across the song in life, it would a light bulb would go off and you say There it is. It would probably trigger some sort of weird episode, you know, wherever I wasn't probably, you know, just sort of stopped breakdown in some way. But at the same time, I think it might be a song that I know at the moment by the shadows, because I have a feeling it was instrumental on. I know that it was really, like, touching and melancholic, which which kind of points directly to the shadows. And then what was your first music That was yours. Probably Nirvana. You know, like I just said I was. I would have been about 11 years old. My friend played in Havana because we were, like, the first kids in our class to get into the music. You know, like, I go around his house every Tuesday or something like that up to school, and we kind of, like, discover rock music. You know, it was kind of it was just like, epiphany. Absolute revolution of life. Just like jumping around the room that, you know, that that that whole, that whole kind of discovered that whole story, which is, you know, probably everyone, but yeah, I mean, Nirvana. Then it was kind of just a cascade of smashing pumpkins, silverchair anything with distorted guitar, anything with drop d tuning. But there was always the kind of part of that music that was kind of, um it wasn't just like angsty. It was kind of discovered the emotion in it. Like like like smashing pumpkins. Smashing Pumpkins Has that that really that really kind of sensitivity. So even though it's just like blaring wall of sound, you know what I mean. Do you remember when you first started, started experimenting with making music. Yeah, well, my brother played drums. So old, older brother or younger brother? Yeah, he's two years older. Um, so he had a drum kit, which I just thought was incredible. I like, sort of, you know, just watch him. You know, it was kind of wow. So obviously, I immediately wanted to copy him. Yeah, we had this tape deck in the music room, which was kind of just a room in the house with a tape deck. They had a microphone import, you know, those, like, kind of like, cassette cassette decks. And for some reason, they just be like a Koreans. Jack in the corner just has a microphone, you know, on De. So we plugged a microphone into it and just recorded ourselves playing drums just to sort of see what it sounds like on Then we had this little keyboard sitting in The rooms are ill little Casio kind of thing. On day one day I was kind of just playing along to myself, playing drums with the cat. I didn't even know how to play yards, just hitting random notes. You know, it sounds like a nursery rhyme. Probably on I noticed in the room there was a second cassette deck with the same thing. So I stuck a mic into that stuff with Mike into that on, recorded myself, just hitting these keys over the top of your playing drums and listened back to that type. And it was me playing keyboard to myself. It was may playing two things at once. It blew my mind. Lower lead, Uh, still have been about 11. Amazing. Yeah. Yeah. Where did the idea of starting to do it with the ideas of making it for other people to hear. Start. Well, I mean, like, like every young teenage musician, I had, like, grandiose dreams of being a rock star, especially because my favorite band was Silverchair and they were only, like, 15, 16, and I was sort of, like 12 13. By that point, I was like, I was, like, their fucking like, 15. 16. That means I've got, like, 23 years to three years. I can I can still get to where there. They could be them, you know? Do you think it had to do with how young they were because they were such little kids. Yeah, for whatever reason, whether it was because, you know, because they were like young Australian boys or because, like, they're kind of they would have been a similar Headspace. You know, they're kind of like their approach toe would have been in the same realm. Assman. How did you decide to end up being a solo artist that's supposed to being in a band? Uh, well, I always played in bands the whole time in high school, like I was obsessed with the idea of playing in bands. But it also had the making music thing at home since before I accidentally multi track myself. That time I was playing in a band. It was kind of this thing music school that I went thio. We're like they teach you an instrument. Mom was drums. And then every Saturday morning, they get all the kids from different instrument like tuitions and put him and put him in bands. So I put me in the band. So I was in a band that age 11, which I fucking loved. I could not wait. I could not wait for Saturday morning to come around because it was like you know, playing music with other kids was just another mind blowing thing. But I also but And then So I sort of got better at that. And I slowly got better recording music by myself. And the two worlds never really met. Like even even with start of, like, tame impala. When I was sort of like 21 22 we were playing songs that I'd written for us to play live on. They were different to the ones I was recording at home. We even had on MySpace. It took a while for the two worlds to kind of converge. If that makes sense, because I just didn't know how I didn't know how to translate what I was kind of doing at home and like, expressing on my own because they that music was like, super kind of, I guess. I guess sensitive is the word Onda kind of nuanced and general s. But the music I was making in bands, I mean, like, that was music was more kind of like what we had listened to was a group that kind of more angsty like heavy kind of stuff. At the time that you started uh, making music with the idea of putting it up on my space. What would you say? The influences. We're what we're listening to. What might have been. Who do you hope to get to play with? For example, that was around the time that I was super kind of obsessed with sixties music. So it was kind of it was all like the doors Jefferson airplane. I didn't have a lot of kind of like modern day idols. Um, just because of like, that was the kind of last dollars leading and like I was living in a share house of the paper, we kind of just We were just permanently listen toe seventies, psych rock constantly. I mean, this is a band called Dengue in that I was super into I still am to this diets that still gives me goose bumps. You know, good Onda, like it's funny because I listen now and I can hear my first album all over, you know, it's something I didn't really notice at the time, consciously, but just like yeah, And then how would you describe how the second album differed from the first? Uh, it was It was 100 times more indulgent, which is what I wanted, you know, because I had this kind of, like, surge of confidence that I didn't have previously prior. You know, like when I made in the Speaker's is kind of like Sharp Stone, a kind of, you know, on do you know, like way had a lot of had a lot of success. The first album, we went on tours and always kind of stuff. And so I suddenly realized that, um it kind of validated my approach and my kind of like what I wanted to do, So I can't say loan tourism was kind of like just blowing that wide open. How did the third album, when that came? How is that different? Well, I mean, the second album, I still didn't fully know what I was doing. I kind of like I got a Bolton on guy and instead of just sort of it being the corner of my bedroom in a shared house that I made it. So the second album was like, Fuck it, I'm gonna dedicate to this, you know? So I set up a studio in a in a room in my share house it got? It's got It's my studio. Got its own full room for For once. Andi, I would just make hours and hours off. I just I, like, was using sense organs, fucking anything. You know, I was kind of it was kind of just that, you know, that kind of typical, uh, moment for a solo artist where they make their, uh, you know, their self indulged.
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