Tame Impala

In this week's Big Issue North (1117) frontman Kevin Parker tells Richard Smirke why his music is no longer tame. Here he talks about surreal encounters and more

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Whether he was nervous about how Currents would be received
I was, but not as nervous as I was finishing it. That was when the real nerves hit: when you have to make decisions. Once it’s out there, all of a sudden that responsibility vanishes. It’s a weird roller-coaster, but I wouldn’t have it any other way because the nerves and the freak-out are all just the product of it being something that you care about deeply.

The album production process

The way that I work is that the demos turn out to be part of the final song. The analogy that I use is that it’s like throwing a bunch of seeds in the garden and some of them sprout and turn into something and some of them just don’t go anywhere. The ones that turn into fully-fledged tress are the ones that I end up using. I’m just the one watering the garden at that point because the core idea has been planted. After that it’s just a matter of seeing which ones flourish and have their own identity.

Where he finds inspiration
It’s anywhere really. Sometimes I try and think of what the pattern is, because if there is a pattern I’ll put myself in that situation more often. But I’ve never been able to track down what that pattern is. It can happen at four in the morning or four in the afternoon, off my tits or having a cup of tea. Sometimes if I’m stoned, I’ll think of a song. But also if I’m not, I do as well.

Plans for the next Tame Impala album
I’m always thinking of ideas, but as for Tame Impala I’m trying to keep that out of my head as much as possible. I feel it’s too soon to start setting things in stone. I’m building a studio at the moment, which is almost finished, so I’m going to allow that to be the deciding step. It was my old house, but I bashed all the walls out, so it’s one big open space now. Instead of having everything at arm’s length, everything will be at lunge length. I’ve never really had a proper actual location that I can go and do what I do. It’s always just been the room next to my bedroom or my bedroom.

The grass is always greener. When I’m alone I’m like: “Jesus. I just wish I had someone else’s opinion here.” And when I’m in a room full of people I’m like: “God damn! I wish I was just going this alone right now.” I’ve always loved the idea of sharing my ideas with other people, but the challenge is to find the right people to work with and Mark [Ronson] is one of the easiest people that I have worked with.

Surreal encounters
Any time I have met someone that I really respect or have been a fan of for a long time is always a wake-up call. The first time I met Mark [Ronson] I was pretty star-struck. It’s funny how you get better at accepting these things. The first time I met Noel Fielding I was like: “Is this real?” Especially, when you’ve spent the last year sitting on a coach watching The Mighty Boosh. But these days you get desensitised to crazy things you never imagined would happen happening.

Richard Smirke

Tame Impala play Manchester Arena on 11 Feb

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