Kevin Parker, your favorite artist's favorite artist and the man behind Tame Impala, recently gave fans a rare insight into his creative process on iconic record producer Rick Rubin's "Broken Record" podcast. The conversation, which was recorded remotely while on quarantine, extensively revealed his early musical inspirations, the reasoning behind the Tame Impala project, the difference between his albums, and even shared a candid voice memo of a skeletal demo never heard before.
Growing up, Parker was inspired by listening to the albums his father, a hobby musician, would play him. Bands like The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, and Dungen really affected his formative years. When asked why Parker chose the moniker Tame Impala as opposed to his own name, the reasoning was because he wanted to give the impression it was a band versus just a solo project.
“In fact, the record label when they signed us didn’t even know it was me that was playing drums and guitars and bass and multi-tracking,” said Parker. “I outright lied to them when we met up. The contract that we signed was for three of us. I didn’t want to say it was just me, for a number of reasons. Number one, I was kind of shy. Looking back, it’s like, why the fuck didn’t you just own it?”
Divulging more into why he represented himself as a group, he explained it was due to the musical environment that he grew up in. In Perth, the scene was much more communal, filled with bands jamming with one another. The lie began "eating away" at him, knowing that it wasn't the real truth. “I wanted people to know that it was more of a solo recording project because I realized solo artists get away with completely changing their sound a lot more than bands do,” said Parker.
Throughout his musical career, Parker's sound has gone through a few changes. This is especially evident between his first two albums versus the last. Parker knew that by doing this he would piss people off, but Rubin shared his insight that by changing early on, he gave fans the chance to accept these new sounds.
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Also shared during the hourlong installment was a demo for a song from his voice memos, a process he still utilizes today when coming up with new musical ideas. “It’s like flicking on the radio… [when you flick on the radio] it’s not like starting the song. It’s like coming in halfway through a chorus. And then I do my best to get to a place where I can record it before I forget it… It’ll be like two bar, or a one bar piece of music,” he explained.
Listen to the full interview below.
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