Even before he became famous, Kevin Parker, Tame Impala’s sole member, had no time for rock and roll showboating.
“The bands that rose to the top were always the crowd pleasers,” the multi-instrumentalist says of the scene in his hometown of Perth, Australia, when he was starting out in the mid ’00s.
“I always thought that was so lame.”
That stubborn refusal to please other people has never left Parker. When he released the first Tame Impala album, 2010’s Innerspeaker (opens in new tab), what psych-rock scene there was existed largely underground.
Yet the album launched him on a journey that has seen him become a bona fide pop star and the collaborator of choice for everyone from Kanye West to Lady Gaga.
From the start, Parker envisioned Tame Impala as his thing and his alone.
Creative autonomy gave him the freedom to experiment with sounds, styles and structures, without the hassle of compromise.
Some of the music he was writing was progressive, and some of it was more pop, but it was all heading in broadly the same direction.
By the time he released 2012’s Lonerism (opens in new tab), this weird project he’d cooked up in a bedroom in Perth had inadvertently helped instigate a full-blown psych revival.
“[The term] psych was something I cringed at, because it was thrown around so much with my music,” he says.
Things have changed. He’s not just happier with the term these days, he says, but feels more connected than ever to his roots, something evident on Tame Impala’s latest, 2020’s The Slow Rush (opens in new tab).
“The Slow Rush reminds me a lot more of that kind of free-flowing music that Innerspeaker has,” he says.
“Knowing now just how little of a clue I had with a lot of what I was doing [on Innerspeaker] makes me realize that maybe I have come a long way after all.”
Browse the Tame Impala catalog here (opens in new tab).
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