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Album of the Year:

Tame Impala Lonerism

Interview by Hazel Cills
We fell in love with the bittersweet psych-rock of Tame Impala's Lonerism, and so made it our Album of the Year. Here, Hazel Cills talks to Kevin Parker and makes sure he's ok.

What's your favorite part about touring?

I would say...the drinks after concerts. [Laughs] Well, especially the first one because you get back from the show and you're all sweaty and you just sit down and you feel like you've really done something that's worth having a drink for.

On Lonerism, there are a lot of songs on the album that focus on feeling alienated or being alone. Even the title echos this whole feeling of social anxiety. What sort of place, socially, were you in when you wrote this album? Like, I just wanted to know if you're okay.

I think it was varied, but for whatever reason I think the mood I was in when I was writing the songs was sort of reflective of all the times in my life when I felt pretty separated from what's going on around me. If anything, the last year of touring and being around people constantly just reminded me of growing up and sort of feeling exclusively that way. There's always people around me but for some reason I've never been able know, truly feel like I'm a part of it. So for whatever reason, all the songs seemed to carry that same core of my personality.

You saw that video of school children singing "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards" right? How'd you feel about that?

It was pretty surreal. They have amazing voices. I had a hard time sort of acknowledging that it was my song. Not that it didn't sound like my song, it sounded exactly like it, but the fact they were singing my melodies in this whole gymnasium full of kids was just surreal. I just kept thinking it was someone else's song.

Yeah, it was super adorable. You should do a song with them.

Well I mean, they've done so many other bands I feel like they're kind of more famous than us. [laughs]

Are there any dream collaborations you want to do?

One day I'd love to make a hip-hop album.

Really? I didn't expect that!

Yeah, totally. I would just rap over some crazy beats and things like that. That would be pretty fun. But I don't know if that will ever happen, I think it's just sort of my fantasy at the moment.

So it's less about being alone by yourself and more about feeling lonely in a group of people.


Do you have a favorite song off of Lonerism?

Oh no, no I don't. Especially not these days.

What do you mean by not these days?

Well, when you're working on the album your favorite song is the one that's most recent. One song will have been written two years ago and one will have been written last week. The one that was written two years ago, you're not bored of it but the weird magic of it has become something else inside your brain whereas the new one is still sort of mysterious and magical and unexplainable. So these days it's kind of like asking a mother to pick her favorite kid, because they all have something

Tame Impala is always getting compared to classic psychedelic acts from the '60s and '70s. I've heard a few people say that you guys are "better than The Beatles." But exactly how retro do you want the band to be? Do the comparisons to John Lennon ever get tiresome to you?

Well, I mean they're only tiresome if you choose to read them all. I try not to. But I hate when people say it sounds like the ‘60s. That really confuses me because when I listen to it and even when I made it I wasn't thinking of a single thing that was remotely from the ‘60s. I kind of feel the ‘70s thing, not to draw a big line between them, a lot of those bands I can sort of hear coming through. You never really know what influences you until you make it. I was hearing a lot like Supertramp, which is sort of like a late ‘70s stadium pop band. But the whole ‘60s psychedelia thing doesn't make sense to me. I don't know why people think that. Maybe it's the delay or the weird fades or something, but nothing I was using was actually from the ‘60s. In fact all the synths that I have are from the ‘80s. It confuses me when someone hears something that was invented in the 80's to them it sounds like the 1960s [laughs].

You know, but that's just what people here. I'm never going to like, argue that kind of thing.

Would you have a totally new hip-hop persona, or would you just be Kevin Parker from Tame Impala as a hip-hop artist?

I would be...actually, my current producer name is Crack Ronson. I'm mixing the new Ponds album and they always give each other pseudonyms so mine is Crack Ronson, which is a mix between Mark Ronson and a crackhead.

Is there anything you're looking forward to in 2013?

I'm looking forward to having a house, at least. I've been sort of homeless for the past six months. Just to have a home where I can stuff all my shit and make songs again, which I haven't really been able to do outside my laptop for the past six months. And I guess I'm looking forward to going around the world again [laughs] It will be such a good contrast.

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