tame impala

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  • Ausbalia's Tame Impala led by Kevin Parker. have taken the classic psychedelic sounds of cream and '77le ~~hite Album era Beatles , rombining them with elements that
  • 'll!s. that's the ~me one. That'~ the DJ tone I U'>C for a frw I diflt.rent songs. It'~ JU\t an Mremc OJ fuu \Ound wanted to ask bo t h . .


    0 u t e 7-lnch nngle Sundown 5yndrome."

    It was going to go on the album. but for som~ rea son we left it off. I love the lounge-y Byrd~ songs. WP tra ked 't h

    c. 1 Wlt Li.lm Watson at loc Rag [TapeOp UlS, 8B], we !ned new things, like a double-tracked kalOo for the solo. He's got 3 bunch of crary reverbs and echo units. One has a microphone at one end and a speaker at the other. He's got one of those origmal plate reverbs the size of rl door, which we ran the kazoo though. The label asked us to try recording rn a studro to help us get the feel for it. [in anticipation of] a future album. We were domg a double Aside. I've always been a massive fan of l.tam Watson. He's recorded Fabienne Delsol. and I loved his work with The White Stripes. Liam is one of my idols.

    So you had your first positive studio experience? Yeah, you could say that. I trust Liam, so I was more

    wiUing to just be "the guitarist and singer." The only reason I even stood over his shoulder at all is because I was curious to see what he was doing. Mic placement, drum compression, and the rest was up to him. I felt so out of my league; I was in absolutely no position to question him - I just let him do the Liam Watson thing. [Tame Impala drummer] Jay (Watson] and I just played the songs - I was in good hands.

    Then came the lnnerspeoker album, which you recorded in a beach shack? [in lnjidup, south of Perth]

    We were expected to do a debut album. I wanted to do it at home, but the label said I'd have to do it at a different location. They didn't want it to sound like the EP again! It had to be better. It took a while to convince them that I was going to make it sound somewhat professional. I asked my manager to get us some kind of shack by the beach. I figured we might as weU get some sort of romantic place. We booked it for six weeks, with a week in between. Since we had to step up the quality, we borrowed some preamps and compressors from a friend who owns a studio. We hauled aU of it down south in my car and a van, and set up in the living room of this holiday home (Wave House]. The little window-viewing area became the control room, and the rest of the living room was the tracking room. There actuaUy wasn't much need for a control room, since I was playing and the guy operating aU of the shit. There was a stone room downstairs. I had aU these intentions of recording some drums down there, but I never actuaUy got around to moving them. The main room was quite spacey and echoey. There were a lot of glass panels on one side, and plenty of wood.

    Dicl you have to do anything to treat the IJMIGe in particular?

    I thought. ''Ok.Jy, w~ miqht ~swell " I'm rr.~lly thankflll Tim was there with sugrJ~tions. I h~rl been using t11o microphones for the drums. and llhouqhl il w~s ~uit.c hi-fi. He wa, Li~e. "Um, no. [Give th~m) more th~'' th.1l, and run t~m through t~ Nevr~." If that guy hadn't been therP. lhr album would havr, ,ounded a whole lot cru~t iPr than it dors. I ran't r~corrl vor.1ls wilh othr.r pt'opiJI itnJund, l:wc.aus.'! the house '1/rJr., .o opm, Dom IDormmr Snnper ba;, and 'JUit>lf) and Tim wrrt always around, ,o I did those l hontf'.

    What did you end up doing for the drums?

    We had [Shure] SM57\ on the toms, but I don't thrnk Wf' u~ed them much in the [final mix]. The mam drum mic that I used was an AKG 0190. l put that right on th~ side of the snare shell and compressed it in a way that sounded good. If you put a mic there, record. and play it back. rt sounds horrible. If you don't set the right attack and release. it sounds horrible; but when you reach the sweet spot. it sounds like the most perfect triphoppy, Portishead sound. It's really nice. Because the compression ends up being heavy - high-ratio and low threshold - it picks up the whole kit. Then, from there, you just put a bit of kick in. I was kind of spooked out about having a top mic on the snare that I wouldn't use. It just made me feel a bit apprehensive, doing the take; but since then I've teamed that having a mic on top of the snare is quite a useful thing for adding attack. An SM57 was on the kick, but as far away as possible. I hate that top-end attack that you have to try to get rid of. I prefer to not have it there in the first place. The kick drum had two heads on it and barely any [muffling]. It was a very lively room.

    What did you record to? I tracked to a Boss [multitrack] unit again - a BR-1600.

    I had become so quick with those that I decided to get the next model up. I knew there were better quality options, but because that format was so familiar to me, I went with something intuitive. It didn't sound as good as the BR864 for some reason. Maybe they downgraded the 0-to-A converter or something.

    How do you typically mic guitars? The typical SM57 in front of the amp, but nowadays I

    barely use any amplifiers. I just DI guitar. unless I can be bothered to set up an amp. I always have trouble with amps. 01-ing a guitar adds this other layer of top-end presence that I find I'm always trying to get with an amp, but can't, even though I love the sound of a tube amp. I go from my pedals into a Seymour Duncan DI, which sounds amazing. and then into the mixer. I love the sound of bass through an amp though. When we were at Toe Rag the bass amp was the best I've ever pl.lyed through in my entire life, by far. It's the Selmer Treble 'N' Bass, like Spacemen 3 used, going through a Selmer Goliath lxlB [cabinet]. I've got a search going on eBay for a Goliath in the year I've been looking, haven't seen one come up. I've got a Treble 'N' Bass. There are quite a few of them floating around, but the Goliath is rare.

    Not ~ea~JN. At one stage we couldn't isolate the kick drum enough, so I ended up putting a quilt over the ,AlGie kit, eccept for the kick drum. nm Holmes [of Death In Vegas] was with us, encou~ging me ~ illt 111018 pufessional methods, like runmng the m1c t;.:~ ...... Neve preamps and running the ~ass and

    You have~ame disorienting claaic delay 10und on the rec:ard. Do you u1ually do thOH in the box, or do you u ..

    tbrDugh an (Empirical Labs] Distressor. outboard eftedl?

    CJ!r.'.Jr wt.:-'JOII Q 'hr

  • he I thing that would work for me. It has was t on Y faders and EOs. I'm at a surface level when it c_omes_ to stuff in the studio, and I loved mixin~ on a thmg Wlth giant knobs. So I carted it around WJth me for a long time. 1 went to Paris and recorded there and I took that giant Onyx mixer with me. Since then, I got a MOTU Ultralite, which is my new love. We've got three of them on stage at the moment.

    What do you use them for on stage? We've got two MIDI keyboards playing multi-samples, so

    that's the interface for both of the computers. .And you're using Ableton Live, live? Yeah, live live [laughs]. The third is for the drums,

    because we mix them on stage to try to get the same roomy, crushy sound. [Nowadays] there's an infinite amount of people that want to stream your live show, and they do their own recording of it. There's nothing I hate more than playing a festival and having some guy in a van next door taking aU the feeds from the stage and mixing the drums different from how your front-of-house guy is doing it. They take all your tracks and spend about two minutes mixing them, ship that out. and then it's aU over the Internet. The gig you played was fucking rocking because it's loud; and then there's this YouTube mix where the drums sound like someone's tapping cardboard boxes. My way of battling that is mixing the drums on stage before they even go to the [front of house]. We've got mics on the kick, snare, and overheads; but there's also a mix going to the floor that's in stereo, and has a Distressor and a stereo Ranger on it.

    An you still using the Boss unit on stage, by chance, for that guitar fuzz thing that you're doing'?

    feah. We have two of them on stage actuaUy, one for Dom and one for Jay. I got obsessed with the way the guitar sound was, and I ha1e less and less time for guitar ar-,ps these day:;. I lo1e the sound of DI guitar, but I

    ~ave a 'lot (AC30] on stage too. You did a vocal take on an airplane at

    some point. How did that happen?

    How did Toclcl Rurulgren get involved in remixing one of the 10ngs? . .

    It was a record label thing. Wheneller there's a II!ITJ1X, it's nat us doing it. Some of them rum out awesome, ~ ~ sound like the per.;on only spent 45 minutes knocking it up.

    Presumably you have to agree to it? We do; but at this stage, I'm not too fussed. That's one

    battle that isn't worth fighting. Everyone knows that remixes exist, and now they happen even without the record label knowing about it. lf someone has access to the parts of a song, they can fuck with themselves and put an unauthorized remix on YouTube. I enjoy some of them. If they're really good, they might be better than the original song. imagine you're a fan of Rundgren though, and that he doesn't do remixes like this often.

    Right. This was one of those times when I was like, 'What? Todd Rundgren is going to do a remix?" The remix part seemed insignificant. Just the fact that he was going to be interacting with our music in some way was the big thing for me.

    Lonerism is much more synth heavy. How did that happen?

    I had some access to digital synths, and things in Ableton, but I never thought I'd use them. Then I was at my friend's sbJdio in Sydney and he had a rack of synths with a Sequential Circuits Pro On