Kevin Parker Recorded Over 1,000 Vocal Takes For One Tame Impala Song
Written by Sam Murphy on 21st April, 2015
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Apart from hearing the first two songs from Tame Impala‘s forthcoming album Currents, frontman Kevin Parker has remained tight-lipped about the LP until now, revealing details about its making and some of the songs set to feature on it.
In an interview with Under The Radar (Via Stereogum), Parker called the record Tame Impala’s “most musically diverse”, and detailed the weird and wonderful ways it came to be. Here’s what Parker said about some of the songs set to feature on the record.
Let It Happen
A few weeks back we were given our first taster of the album in the form of Let It Happen. Parker says some of the vocals were recorded only days before it was mastered and originally recorded part of the song “singing gibberish”. “I do that a lot when I’m demoing and fleshing out ideas, because I’ve got the emotions in me, but I haven’t turned it into words yet,” he said.
“I was just doing that [on Let It Happen], and then I left that for months and months, always planning to go back and re-record it with real lyrics. And I only did it a few days ago, a week before mastering.”
Listen: Tame Impala – Let It Happen
‘Cause I’m A Man
While his barefooted onstage demeanour would suggest otherwise, during the interview Parker revealed some of his perfectionist traits when it comes to recording an album. He talked about doing hundreds of vocal takes for one singular song, even hitting four digits once. “In the recording program I use, it counts the takes you do. It will say ’18 audio’ or ’18 vocal one.’ And I looked back, and it was like 1,003 for this one track!” said Parker.
One song that was an exception to this is ‘Cause I’m A Man which features Parker’s most forthright vocal yet. “I’m really putting myself out there vocally more than I have before. I usually bury my vocals and sing quite ethereally and stick in a laser beam melody washed in reverb,” he said.
“Here I just forced myself to put myself out there and really try something more than what I would feel comfortable doing with a vocal performance.”
The track is intended to be a tongue-in-cheek portrayal of how “pathetic” men are, according to Parker. “The song is about how weak men are, basically, and how we make all these excuses but really we’re just these odorous male members of the animal kingdom,” he said.
Listen: Tame Impala – ‘Cause I’m A Man
Yes, I’m Changing
While Parker went into detail about many of the songs he’s created, there’s one that he has no memory of ever making. Of new track Yes, I’m Changing Parker said, “It was like it was someone else made the song. I had no memory of imagining it. I don’t know where it was or when it was. All I know is that I had this demo on my laptop and I was listening to it going, “This is really good. I wonder why I forgot about it.”
Another song set to feature on the record titled Eventually is “about knowing that you’re about to damage someone almost irreparably, and the only consolation you get is this distant hope that they’ll be alright eventually,” Parker says.
The song came to him on the back of a scooter, he says, and while he explained what the song is about he said for the most part he likes to keep the meaning of his songs open-ended. “I hate to say that a song is about this and you must interpret it this way, because one of the cool things is to hear someone’s interpretation of one of your songs that’s completely different,” he said.
Less I Know The Better
Less I Know The Better “has this dorky, white disco funk,” according to Parker.
“The lyrics are pretty dorky and groove is pretty dorky,” Parker said, adding that he’s “been obsessed with disco for the last year or two,” Parker said.
We still have no release date for Currents but all this new information has us hoping that it comes to us very soon. We’d think it would drop some time before July, or at least in time for Tame Impala’s appearance at this year’s Splendour In The Grass.
Image: Tame Impala Live At Big Day Out 2014 Melbourne / Photo: Anwar Rizk