Just a few doors away from the Rockefeller Center, four young musicians from Perth dodge up Sixth Avenue amidst heavy Midtown people traffic to meet with us for a quick word. Each band member seems to have a very marked personality: Kevin Parker (vocals) being the more serious type, interjecting here and there when he sees fit; Jay Watson (drums), a gregarious, smiley lad that is happy to chat as much as possible; Dominic Simper (guitar), the quieter, meek Cobain type; and Paisley Adams (bass), who likes to make quirky remarks and stare off into the distance every now and then. These young men make up the four-piece psychedelic rock band, Tame Impala. Their tour has been a success thus far, selling out twice in New York City this week.
Jay: Doesn’t Dossier mean something like “important documents”?
Vanessa: Yeah, like a portfolio.
Jay: Like for Bond, James Bond.
Paiseley: Yeah (chuckles).
Vanessa: So tell us, what’s it like to be a young Indy band that goes from playing in Australia to quickly blowing up in North America and Western Europe?
Kevin: It doesn’t really seem –sorry to interrupt—, it doesn’t really seem that way for us. Because we’ve been touring for two or three years in Australia, traveling to Europe and the US seems like the natural progression for what we’ve already been doing. We don’t even really notice it.
Jay: Yeah, I don’t notice it much.
Vanessa: What is the first musical obsession that you remember having?
Jay: I liked “Peaches” by Presidents of the United States of America. That was my favorite. You know, the one that goes, “Moving to the country, I’m gonna eat a lot of peaches…moving to the country, I’m gonna eat a lot of peaches…” (smiles).
Paisley: Oh, well ,if we’re gonna go way back, then I would think that Michael Jackson was it for me. Yeah, Michael Jackson, I’d say.
Vanessa: What are some of your current musical fixations? Are you repeaters that play the same tracks over and over again?
Paisley: Maybe with albums…
Jay: I’m not sure about songs, but I definitely repeat albums. We played with a band called Warpaint in Europe just recently and they’re really cool. I think they might come out and meet us when we play in LA.. But yeah, I’ll definitely listen to an album over and over again.
Kevin: I’m definitely a song freak, even a chorus freak, where I listen to the first chorus and then start over again, and again.
Jay: I really like the last Spiritualized album and have been listening to that a lot. It also helps me go to sleep in like the best possible way.
Vanessa: What would you consider to be a kick-ass video?
Kevin: I’ve got lot’s of ideas, I just can’t remember any of them…
Paisley: There are a few things that I like…Things with artsy technology. There’s that Spectrum song, “How You Satisfy Me,” where the couple’s dancing around and you can see in the background all of that weird color fading in and out. That, I like.
Vanessa: Do you ever listen to your own album?
Dom: Yeah, I listen to it every now and then as a kind of reminder of what we’ve done until now.
(All nod affirmatively)
Vanessa: Did you have any odd day jobs before dedicating yourself full-time to music?
Paisley: I don’t know about odd. I worked as a checkout girl at a cash register for awhile, and then worked in the kitchen, frying stuff at a pretty reputable Italian restaurant chain with a bunch of loud, mean guys. I got fired from there for eating a shrimp. Well, I didn’t actually get fired; they caught me eating a shrimp, yelled at me for it and then when I went for lunch I just never came back (laughs).
Jay: Yeah, I only ever worked in fast food…
Dom: I studied a business diploma— (rest of the band laughs).
Kevin: I worked in a mine once.
Kevin: Yeah. It was pretty crazy, we went down about a kilometer.
Vanessa: What would you be doing now if you weren’t musicians?
Paisley: I guess go to uni. That seems to be what people do (Jay nods in agreement).
Dom: I’d like to go back to school as well.
Vanessa: While on tour are you also working on material for your next album?
Kevin: Definitely. We always have recording devices with us when we’re traveling. Jay’s still using Garage Band in fact (everyone laughs), and Dom and I use other programs like Ableton. When you’re in a tour bus you can’t really plug in a guitar and play, so we use the software and I sometimes use a midi keyboard.
Jay: Yeah, I’m not as sophisticated as Kevin. I still use Garage Band.
Vanessa: Do you get more attention in Perth than you do in other cities?
Jay: We’re definitely a lot bigger in Australia than we are here, but I guess that makes sense.
Vanessa: I wonder how such a remote place as Perth has influenced you. There are some great artists, performing and visual, from Perth, but it’s so isolated. How does that happen?
Jay: Perth isn’t all that small, so we manage to have a decent music scene out there. Also, it’s not like you ever drive to other cities, so you don’t really notice the distance. You just get on a plane and in like 4 hours you’re somewhere else, which is like going from New York to LA, I’d say, so we aren’t all that isolated, really. I don’t actually feel disconnected from the rest of the world. We’re still connected to what’s going on in other places.
Although Tame Impala has sold out in New York this week, their tour continues for at least two months throughout North American and Europe, with at least one pit stop in Australia. Catch them if you can. They put on a five star performance.
Above photo by Sofie Olsen