When a French fan marched up to Kevin Parker after a gig one night and demanded to know his secrets, the Tame Impala frontman could hardly have suspected she would one day be giving his own band a run for its money in the ‘psych-rock album of 2012’ stakes.
Melody Prochet spied the Aussie musician at an aftershow party in Paris, asked him which guitar pedal he was using and handed him a tape of music by her band at the time, My Bee’s Garden. Within a week, she’d been asked to support Tame out on tour, and a few months later she was jetting off to their headquarters in Perth to record her solo debut as Melody’s Echo Chamber.
“I was there for four months,” says Melody. “It was such a different culture. They’re all nutty people and they’re not scared of doing crazy shit onstage, whereas in Paris it’s really uptight. We all record in these tiny apartments, whereas over there there’s so much space. I think that’s why French music is, well… I won’t say boring, because there are so many good things, but there’s not much rock’n’roll going on here.”
While Tame Impala go thrusting off into the great psychedelic unknown with boys’-own abandon, ‘Melody’s Echo Chamber’ is a different beast entirely. A sublime, drifting affair, the album recalls Broadcast and Stereolab in its blend of mind-warping textures and chanson-inspired tunes, and is lent just the right dose of scuzz by the aforementioned Parker (“He’s a real wizard of sound,” notes Melody).
It’s all a long way from Melody’s upbringing in the south of France, where she was a classical music student. “I studied viola for 12 years,” she says. “My parents didn’t really pressure me to keep on going, but they forced me a little bit, because I wanted to stop maybe 50 times through the years. It was hard, but I’m grateful now because it was beneficial.”
Indeed, Melody returned to her native Provence to lay down the vocals for the record (she was too shy to sing out in Perth) at her grandparents’ seaside holiday home. It all adds up to one hell of a trip, but then again, so does the record: “It has that roughness, that wildness of sound I’d always dreamt of.”
For Fans Of: Broadcast, Tame Impala
Buy It Now: ‘Crystallized is out now, with a self-titled album to follow on November 5
See Her Live: At London’s Cargo on November 6
Believe It Or Not: Melody’s dad was the bassist in an Italian 70’s rock band – she won’t tell us who, though