Tame Impala have risen to become one of the hottest alt-rock bands of the moment. And it makes all the difference. I’m honestly not a great singer, but I do what I have to do to make it sound good. It's really important to me to feel like I'm on the verge of it all turning to shit. It had been four years since the last album and no one announces a festival slot, and a world tour, without something new to promote. He wrote every chord, recorded every hi hat, mixed every vocal line. In March, when it became clear most people around the world would have to hole up for a while to combat the spread of COVID-19, the Tame Impala mastermind and his wife, Sophie Lawrence, were faced with a significant decision: Stay in LA or make a break for Parker’s native Perth? Silence. He wanted to have new songs to play, but they weren't ready. Because with programming things, it has nothing to do with how good you are at playing the drums. 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Matt Fink ( Under the Radar ): The last time I talked to you, you explained that your songwriting process eventually breaks down over minute details that most listeners will never even be able to hear. STEREOGUM: How did John Mayer become involved in the SNL appearance? And I guess it proved to myself that I care that much about my albums, because of how much I wanted to have an album finished by then. It was quite abrupt.". Which is precisely why Tame Impala is such an astonishing thing to experience in the flesh, ideally shoulder-to-beer-soaked-shoulder with thousands of fellow apostles. STEREOGUM: Working with Ronson is also what led to the Lady Gaga record you worked on. Do you actually feel this way, or is this just the post-album emotional hangover? Which is wild to think about. I never have. Slow Fitness Is The Best Way To Train In 2020, Louis Vuitton's Master Watchmaker, Michel Navas, Netflix's 'The Eddy' Is A Slow-Burn Gritty Drama. Uh, yes? That’s especially true for a notorious studio rat like Parker. Her label got in contact and asked if they could have the stems because Rihanna wanted to do something with it — which, I was amazed. When I'm alone, there are just different things that come to me. So there was no back-and-forth. All the songs that I've worked on with people have been things that I've started on my own and brought to them. I can't emphasise enough how important it is to me to feel like I'm just outside my safe zone. Which is obviously never true. I knew I had to do it that way. PARKER: He was, he told me he was too — “I’m really happy we’re doing this because I’m a fan.” He’s an extremely articulate guy, extremely. But I know in my heart that the music would suffer. I'm not going to tell them to ram it. I just have a different, I guess, way of thinking. He also informed their parents. They were like, “We wanted a copy of it, so we just did this, and we’re really sorry.” And they paid me whatever I would have normally got paid. He likens it to Lego, the idea of "creating something from nothing." What’s the determining factor on how you approach it? But I know that as soon as I do play it to someone my expectations will lower a bit. ‘Cause I’m not. I feel like there's a kind of a magical, mystical way of me making music that will just be, you know, easy. And I get really hard on myself. This sounds a very overblown way of saying it, but it took international success for me. There was no working on any music at low volume. It has to be good, which is what makes it difficult. I've never snapped into it. But in terms of people who were big on Fallon — I didn’t know who Jimmy Fallon was. Some people hate doing that and I'm one of them. “I just go to the studio every day and do my thing.”. Watch The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon highlight 'Tame Impala: Borderline' on NBC.com So if I were the Strokes I might go, “Hey.” But the reason it sounded like me is because it’s the art form, making a knockoff of the song and making it sound as much like the song you’re trying to knock off as you can without it being a copyright infringement. So 10 songwriters in a room spitballing ideas, I don’t think that’s something she would be into. Music had already saved him once, in the wake of his parents' divorce, first when he discovered drums at the music school they sent him too and then when he started dabbling with the guitars that littered his father's house. Which is what I fuckin’ love about him. He’s not afraid to axe an entire part of a song, which I think is amazing. At the time of our call, he’s been more or less in his element, spending his days alone in the studio working on recording projects he’s not at liberty to discuss. 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