Tame Impala Interview: Kevin Parker On Swapping Psych-Rock Licks For Daft Punk-Ish Dance On New Album ‘Currents’

He’s had enough with ‘Lonerism’, and Kevin Parker is growing up and going out. Three years after the release of Tame Impala’s hugely acclaimed second album, the 29-year-old says he’s made their first all-out party record. “I wanted to make something that from the sound of it could be down at the club,” he says of forthcoming third album ‘Currents’. “I just realised that I’d never heard Tame Impala played somewhere with a dancefloor, or where people were dancing. Listening to it was very much kind of a headphone, solitary experience. Which is cool, but I’ve moved on from that. I’ve always loved listening to music on my own, but there’s another side of me that is just fascinated by… like Goa trance for example – just a rave on a beach in India, you know? Where there’s not an artist to be worshipped, just someone that’s spinning the music, and it’s just this free flowing continuous energy. It was a front that I wanted to conquer, because I had conquered the solitary.”

He “conquered the solitary” of recording his albums alone by touring ‘Lonerism’ solidly for almost three years, until November 2014. He then returned to his new house in Perth, Australia to start work on its follow-up, creating songs in his home studio, and putting together accompanying visuals simultaneously in an adjacent lighting room. Did he feel under any critical pressure? “My brain has a weird way of turning pressure into other things,” he says. “I make a point to myself of shrugging it off – of going the other way and doing something for myself, wanting to do something better. For example, I know that I could have made ‘Lonerism 2.0’ in a day, but it wouldn’t have satisfied me.”


The first songs to emerge over the spring – free download ‘Let It Happen’ in March and first single proper ‘’Cause I’m A Man’ in April – suggest a funkier, more melodic take on Perthadelic psych rock and another new track, the strident psych pop ‘Eventually’, was premiered at last week’s Levitation festival in Austin, Texas.

“First show of the tour, it was crazy,” Kevin says of the event, also known as Psych Fest. “I didn’t know we were headlining until a couple of hours before, and I was flattered to know that we were held in such regard in the psych world. It’s always been a privilege to be a part of psychedelic music – it means people who get stoned and put on music, choose to put on your music! We were just happy to get through it without anything catastrophic happening. We literally started learning the song a few days before. It was pretty fresh.”

Reflecting the dramatic shifts Tame Impala’s success has brought to Kevin’s life, the tracks on ‘Currents’ all share a common thread of personal advancement. “It’s someone finding themselves in this world of chaos,” he explains. “At different times in life I’ve felt like it’s time to say goodbye from some form of myself that’s been hanging around for a while, you just feel this urge to move on, like a herd of antelope. They’re just standing there in a field eating grass for however long, and then all of a sudden they start moving. You feel like that as a person sometimes. Where it’s just time to move on.”