GETTING HIS GROOVE ON
They’re internationally renowned Aussie psychedelic rockers, but Tame Impala aren’t afraid to explore new directions, as new album Currents, a boppy affair by creative controller Kevin Parker, attests
Kevin Parker should be dancing. Disco dancing. The Tame Impala creative controller has unexpectedly made their third album Currents a mirrorball-friendly affair, a record one might expect from Daft Punk rather than Australian psychedelic rockers who have become one of the most in-demand acts on the planet with their facemelting jams.
Parker doesn’t think he can dance but jokes he is not ruling out choreography for their upcoming Splendour In the Grass or future gigs.
“I’m not ruling out dance classes,” he says, chuckling.
“I think there is a theory that people who know how to create grooves are good at interpreting them. But have you ever met a drummer who can dance? Do they exist? Can Dave Grohl dance? I am probably going to get a heap of responses on this. Oh, Sheila E, she could dance.”
It may be the only musically inclined talent he cannot claim. Parker wrote the songs, played the instruments, recorded, produced and mixed Currents.
In between finishing the world tour for Tame Impala’s acclaimed second album Lonerism, Parker hooked up with his mate, English producer and DJ Mark Ronson, to contribute to his Uptown Special album. The Australian musician ended up on three tracks including the single Daffodils. He also worked on Man It Feels Like Space Again, the sixth album from his friends Pond.
Parker then decamped to his West Australian base to make Currents. The 29-yearold artist has always preferred the isolation offered by Australia’s west coast, recording Tame’s 2010 debut record Innerspeaker in the “tree house” with enviably stunning 180-degree views of the Indian Ocean. Lonerism sessions also happened back in Perth and Paris, the home of his now ex-girlfriend Melody Prochet, of Melody’s Echo Chamber.
He prefers to create in a bubble of his own musical imagination and doesn’t seem keen to explore how Currents rides the dance Zeitgeist. “I feel more insular about my musical notions, whether that’s true or not,” he says.
“I like to believe that ideas for songs and sounds are internally home ground rather than I heard this sound and I want something like that.
“For me, it’s all on a subconscious level.
“I have always been a huge Daft Punk fan and disco music in whatever form but I guess I never fully embraced it as something I could stand by. There’s always been that stigma against dance music or disco – I’m a guitar player, you know.
“But this time, I embraced all things. I love to see what would happen. You get to do that at this point of my life.”
This point of Parker’s life is all over the lyrics.
His relationship and breakup with Prochet informs half the album, while the rest appears to be addressing the big questions to be faced by a young man contemplating adulthood in his late 20s.
And like all good late twenty-somethings attuned to this phase of one’s life, Parker did some reading on the Saturn return.
For those who missed that chapter in their adult development course, in astrology, the first Saturn return is when that planet comes back to the position it was in at your birth, which is roughly 29 years, marking the end of youth.
“I came across that term halfway through working on the album and I guess I was going through a lot mentally, revisiting how I think about life, love and the universe,” Parker says.
“I am not astrologically minded, although I was into the zodiac in high school but I got over that when I started studying astronomy and you can’t believe in both.
“Maybe there is some science to it, a reason that people in their late 20s have this sudden rearrangement of their perspectives on life.
“I came really close to calling a song Saturn Return because it seemed all too perfect.”
Tame Impala's Kevin Parker was inspired by his own angst to create the band’s latest album,