Aug 29, 2014 5:16PM

Newsflash! Tame Impala's Kevin Parker Is A Big Crybaby

But he won't admit it.

At the time of our Skype call, Tame Impala's Kevin Parker is holidaying in the Italian Riviera after another European tour with his best friends and bandmates playing songs from Innerspeaker and the Grammy-nominated Lonerism. He's too nice a guy to get jealous of, but if you do have the need to feel superior to him, I'm pretty sure he cried over a Caribou song at a Berlin rave recently… Scoop!

Amber Fresh: Hello! Where are you right now?
Kevin Parker: In Monterosso, which is part of the Cinque Terra region in Liguria something… Liguria is something that means something about where we are [laughs]. Anyway, we're in this little village in Italy.

Do you know what it's famous for?
No… Wait, is there something that it's meant to be famous for?

No, I'm asking you!
Oh! I dunno. Er… some sort of cheese?

How far are you into finishing your new album?
It's really hard to say, because the way that I do it I have no idea how close it is to being finished until it's just suddenly finished. I don't do it in any particular order; I work on all the songs at once … And then all of a sudden it's pretty much finished and I didn't see it coming.

So in terms of the feeling of an album, is that something that happens really gradually too?
Of course, yeah. I just always assume that I'm going to have a better idea later down the track, so I've got to this point where unless I really feel something strongly I don't lock it in. I wait until I think of a melody for a section that really grabs me, that really makes me emotional, and that's the only time I really know that something fits, something belongs there, because I've had a moment with it. It can be quite an emotional experience, it can be really moving…

Hey, can I tell you something embarrassing?
Yeah sure, I just said something embarrassing! Now it's your turn.

Well, I was listening to Lonerism today and I started crying a little bit.
Awww shit! Well, you know what? That's the best compliment I can get. That's so good!

Out of the millions of bands you've been on tours and festivals with lately, can you think of anything that's moved you?
Well, I was at this festival with some friends in Berlin the other day… It was more like a rave, actually. We were all really high, pretty out of our heads, and this new Caribou song came on. I didn't really think this song was amazing when it first came out, but being in that setting where everyone's dancing hard, going crazy, it suddenly had this really euphoric kind of emotional element to it…  Ah, that's not actually a very relevant answer to your question!

Nah, that's cool. You don't have to say you actually cried or anything.
I didn't cry! I didn't cry!

How have you moved on from the last album to what you're doing now?
I wouldn't be able to do the same thing twice. I think because it's just me doing it, evolution can be a lot more erratic, a lot faster. When you're working with a lot of people in a band it's like, for a band's sound to change, everyone's got to change in the same direction. It's like this slow, slow migration of sound. But when it's one person you can suddenly decide to do something completely different the next day. Which for me is completely a luxury – if I want to do a different kind of sound altogether for one song I just do it.

What about in terms of the persona — the personal place you're writing from? Is that different this time?
It's hard to describe how it's different but yeah, definitely. I kind of have no choice but to totally put my personality in the music. The two of them represent each other – the music represents my personality and my personality represents the music. So I think this album definitely feels more personal. Back in the day I used to do music and pretend I was a different person, just because I was too self-conscious to air my soul, but each time I think I become more confident to present myself — the last album, Lonerism, is definitely the most personal. So each time I do that I reap the rewards: making music that's really personal for me and hearing that people connect with it, that it has something to do with their life. It's one of the most fulfilling feelings I've ever had. And then I feel confidence to do it to the extreme even more the next time. But there's always the sense of apprehension about it because you're like, "Do people really want to see this side of me? Do I really want to bare my soul to that degree?"

But that's why it's good: because there's a risk!
Exactly. And so you kind of just have to stride boldly, which is as exciting as it is nerve-wracking.

Did you just say "stride boldly"?
Yeah, stride boldly… at the same time as you step tenderly.

This issue is all about Australians, so I wanted to ask you if you feel Australian.
Weirdly enough I've never really felt extremely, profoundly Australian. The only time I feel extremely Australian is when I go overseas. Like, when you see other Australians and you realise they're doing the same thing as you, it's kind of like, "Yeah, we've got something going on." For better or for worse.

What kinds of things?
Like, when you're somewhere where people are drinking and a bunch of Americans or other people are like, "Oh shit, does anyone have a bottle opener?" and we'll just be like, "Oh yeah, bung it over here, we'll use the end of this water bottle," and pop it off like that, and everyone just goes, "Woah, man! How'd you do that?" and we're like, "What do you mean, 'How'd you do that?' I just used the water bottle, that's what you do." And then you suddenly realise that's an Australian thing — we're masters of opening beer bottles with things. Those kind of things are inside of you — unintentionally.

Text: Amber Fresh
Photography: Matt Sav

This interview appears in Oyster's 20th Anniversary 'Down Under' Issue — out now!