Tame Impala is the psychedelic music project of Australian multi-instrumentalist Kevin Parker. In the recording studio, Parker writes, records, performs, and produces all of the project’s music. As a touring act, Tame Impala bandconsists of Parker (guitar, vocals), Dominic Simper (guitar, synthesiser), Jay Watson (synthesiser, vocals, guitar), Cam Avery (bass guitar, vocals), and Julien Barbagallo (drums, vocals). The group has a close affiliation with fellow Australian psychedelic rock band Pond, sharing members and collaborators, including Nick Allbrook, formerly a live member of Tame Impala Concert. Originally signed to Modular Recordings, Tame Impala is now signed to Interscope Records in the United States and Fiction Records in the UK.
Did Tame Impala break up?
Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker has reacted to Daft Punk‘s surprise split, likening it to the emotional impact of a death. The Parisian duo left fans shocked on Monday (February 22), when they confirmed their split in an eight-minute video.
Reflecting on their split, Parker told Apple Music’s Matt Wilkinson how he first came across their music while watching TV as a child. “I think I was sitting in front of the TV as a kid watching like Saturday morning video clips,” he said.
“In fact, definitely. I think it was ‘Da Funk.’ I almost remember the first time. I wasn’t really into that kind of music then, but it definitely stuck in my brain. I was like, what is this?”
Parker added: “It was almost like when you hear about someone that’s died. “I know it’s obviously not nearly as tragic as when someone dies, but that kind of shock.
My phone blew up. I messaged Dom and Jay, the old group, going… Yeah. I mean, good on them for being able to… That must take so much guts to do, and not just say, ‘Someone might offer us a billion dollars for a show next year. Maybe let’s just hold out.’ You know, to just say, ‘This is the end.’ I think it takes a lot of guts.”
Parker’s tribute comes after the likes of Nile Rodgers, The Weeknd and The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas all hailed the duo in the wake of their split.
Speaking to NME, Welsh techno-pop star Kelly Lee Owens also said that the duo’s music was “like a door being opened for me”. Streams of Daft Punk‘s music have also risen dramatically following the duo’s break-up announcement.
What does the name Tame Impala mean?
“The name ‘Tame Impala’ is just a reference to the African animal really, from a perspective of coming into contact with a live one, one that you’d come across in nature and having this real brief, unspoken moment but with some level of communication between yourself and this wild animal. Then the next minute it’s gone returning to where it came from.”
What is the musical style of Tame Impala?
Parker’s decision to make the music for Tame Impala lyrics in the studio by himself is a result of Parker liking “the kind of music that is the result of one person constructing an awesome symphony of sound. You can layer your own voice 700 times for half a second if you want, and I just love that kind of music”. However, Parker has to translate his music to a live setting with the band, and the band doesn’t play the songs until they have been recorded. “The only jamming that’s done as a band is done a long time after the song is recorded for the sake of the live environment. It’s good for us, because we can take a song that’s been recorded and do what we want to it: slow it down, speed it up, make it 10 seconds or 10 minutes long. It gives us a lot of freedom.”
Some favoured and often-used effects by Parker include phasing, delay, reverb and fuzz. Experimentation with different effects pedals such as Roland RE-20 Space Echo, has led to Parker creating new and unique sounds. “If you make an effort to not put the pedals in the order you’re meant to, then you’ll end up with something new sounding. We don’t have any things that we got from another planet or anything, it’s the same things everyone else has used.” “People have a distortion pedal and then a reverb pedal. A reverb is meant to make it sound like it’s in a cathedral or something. If you put it the other way around, it won’t sound like a guitar being played in a church, it’ll sound like a church being stuffed inside a shoebox and then exploded. You can do different things just by treating things differently.
How did Tame Impala explode?
By the end of 2010, Parker had earned four ARIA Music Awards nominations, Innerspeaker was selected Album of the Year by Triple J, and he already had the bulk of his next record in the can. In 2012 he released Lonerism, which would catapult the band’s popularity even further with songs like “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” and “Elephant,” which went platinum in Australia and became the band’s biggest single. Triple J, NME, and Rolling Stone picked Lonerism as their album of the year, before the album earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Alternative Album.
Parker spent the rest of the decade honing his signature style, firmly rooted in the warm retro sound of analogue equipment and old school recording technology, while continuing to build a massive following. Tame Impala tour quickly became a global phenomenon, touring constantly to perform at sold out shows in South America, Europe, Australia and North America. Tame Impala’s first big tour had them opening for MGMT, but by 2019 fortunes had flipped and MGMT was now opening for Tame Impala.
The band became a summer festival staple, performing at Coachella for the first time in 2012. Parker also became an incredibly in-demand producer, working with major pop acts including Kanye West, Lady Gaga, and Travis Scott. Rihanna released a cover of Tame Impala’s single “New Person Same Old Mistakes.” Kevin Parker had officially transcended into a new realm of massive popularity.
By the time 2019 rolled around, Tame Impala earned top billing at iconic music festivals like Glastonbury and Coachella on a tour that included back to back sold out shows at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Still in the band’s lineup were Dominic Simper and Jay Watson, albeit on different instruments. Those festival crowds numbered somewhere in the 200,000s, a far cry from that sweaty night in Brooklyn back in 2008.