“I WAS EXPERIMENTING WITH SOUNDS IN A WAY WHERE I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW WHAT I WAS DOING.”
used it until my mum felt sorry for me and brought me a real kit. And then I practiced all day, every day.” His parents had divorced when Parker was a toddler, and while he practiced drums at his mum’s house, he learned to play guitar at his dad’s: “He showed me chords, and I’d play rhythm parts while he played lead.” A couple of years later, he started writing his own songs. Parker is a solitary dude by nature (hence Lonerism), and he says that in his early teens, songwriting seemed to help him connect with other people in a way that felt more natural. “I’ve never been a very socially engaging person,” he says, though one-on-one he’s quite relatable. “When I was younger, I felt like I didn’t really have much effect on people. I wasn’t able to get kids to like me or get chicks to think I was interesting. So I guess I grew up with this desire to affect people. For me, that’s a big part of what songwriting is: the ability to get inside someone’s head and move them.” But, as dedicated as Parker was to writing and performing music, he says that learning to record is what truly ignited his obsession. At around age 16, he got his hands on an old computer with a program that allowed him to make crude multitrack recordings. “I was experimenting with sounds in a way where I didn’t even know
what I was doing,” he says. “I put my microphone through a wah-wah pedal, like, What is that? That sounds crazy!” Parker has a considerably better set-up nowadays. The home he owns in Perth includes a two-room studio where he recorded the new album. There’s also a room he turned into a lighting studio, because he has now taken on the responsibility of creating Tame Impala’s live light shows — as if he didn’t have enough to do already. “You could have a lighting person who understands the music,” he reasons, “but they could never understand it as intimately as someone on the stage, as someone playing the music, someone who wrote and produced it.” Tonight, Parker will fly back to Perth and finish work on the album’s last two tracks. A few days after that, he’ll turn around and jet back to Los Angeles to rehearse with the rest of his band for their upcoming appearance at the Coachella Festival, and a subsequent series of shows. He and his girlfriend have been talking about settling in L.A. for a while, but Parker remains ambivalent about it. “I don’t care where I live, to be honest,” he says. “But now that I’ve almost finished the album, I just wanna experience the world again.” Currents is out now. ■
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