29-year-old Aussie behind the band Tame Impala, Kevin Parker, has made a career out of loneliness. Although the group brings its electro-psych to life onstage as a face-melting five piece, Parker has recorded nearly all of the band’s music himself, from 2010’s breakthrough single “Solitude Is Bliss” to 2012’s ornately trippy albumLonerism. This week, Parker and Tame Impala return with their third album, Currents, which hops from glitchy electronic to seductive slow jams while keeping true to the lyrical theme of isolation.
Despite Tame Impala’s quick ascent from small-print no-names to festival must-sees, Parker is keeping things quiet. “It’s was Friday night, I’m just at home,” says Parker as he rests up between busy spring and fall tours. “I’m doing interviews, so that’s cool.”
The rocker resists classification but has lots to say about the evolution of his music from Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles—despite being a vocal dead ringer for John Lennon, Parker says he’s never listened to an album by the group start to finish—to hippie-dance music for festival-goers in the digital age. Parker caught up with EW about getting into trance music as a kid, why the Beatles and Britney Spears have influenced him equally, and the reason that sometimes the trippiest art requires sobriety.
When Entertainment Weekly asked parker about his recent live album Live Versions focused on takes that differed from studio versions. How do you adapt your complex songs for the stage? Does that take some guts to change things up in that way?
Parker responded saying:
The more we look at it, the more we accept that it’s a completely different thing from the album recordings. The more that we just abandon the standard sort of approach, the more freedom we have. As long as we keep the essence of the song, the feeling of the song, then we can do anything with it and we can adapt it to the new world that it’s in, which is five dudes playing it on stage, rather than a guy in his studio multi-tracking forever. The live version of the song that ends up coming out is the version that would’ve existed had it been created that way.
Click here to listen to Tame Impala -Currents (First Listen)