Apple Music/Beats1 host Matt Wilkinson had the chance to sit down with Tame Impala mastermind Kevin Parker in a recent interview. Chatting about recent collaborations, live performances, and the band’s upcoming album, Wilkinson dives in to give us a picture of the frontman’s post-Currents life.
Parker talks about the possibility of new music from Tame Impala. Without giving too much away, the Australian artist notes that he would be “very disappointed” if there was not a new Tame Impala album out by this time next year. While the details remain hazy, and the direction that the band will take its music unknown, recent collaborations with ZHU, Miguel, and Mark Ronson may suggest a continuation of the accessible yet psychedelic dance-pop sound explored on Currents.
While Kevin Parker’s part-introvert, part-socialite personality allows him to lock himself away in an oceanside cabin to complete a project, it also means he can be a fervent collaborator. He spent time in the studio with SZA recently, and while rumors swirl about a full length project from the pair, he notes that he “can’t really do anything more than hope” that the music will come out, though he suggests that at least one track, titled “Back Together,” would be the most likely to emerge. Parker also speaks on some brief studio time with Travis Scott, though no concrete material seemed to surface from that session. On the other side of the spectrum, the frontman said he would be happy to collaborate with the Arctic Monkey‘s frontman Alex Turner, a pairing that would surely set the indie world on fire. While we haven’t received any new music from Tame Impala today, Kevin Parker’s busy schedule and vast reach in the world of music should have fans of the band looking forward to the next few months.
Earlier this year, ZHU and Tame Impala released “My Life,” one of the most anticipated and acclaimed collaborations of 2018. Looking to add even more intrigue to the psychedelic track, the artists have now released a stunning music video featuring none other than Willow Smith.
The video begins with Smith at the scene of a fatal car accident before flashing back to the story of her relationship with the victim. A picturesque tale of two romances unfolds, leading the timeline back to just moments before the crash.
The emotional video comes at the same time as an seven-track remix album for the heartfelt song, featuring Kyle Watson‘s dark house take on the collaboration. Artists like Just A Gent and KRANE each give the song an energetic electronic flair with their remixes, while Klangstof brings a subtle indie vibe into the mix. With a slew of remixes and a powerful video, this new-classic will have some serious staying power for years to come.
Zhu has officially announced phase one of his upcoming “Dune” tour, which kicks off this fall and will be making stops in LA, Brooklyn, Toronto and more. In tangent with the first wave of tour dates, he’s also released part 1 of his upcoming album — and bringing 2.5 tons of sand on the road with him to make for a truly unique live experience. In this case, part 1 is in the form of snippets that serve as background music under a voicemail by manager Jake Udell (who doesn’t seem too happy about the idea of touring with all that sand in the trunk).
Sources say the EP is set to release on April 26th — although they say Zhu himself will not announce it — and tickets will go on sale Friday April 27th. However, fans can get more information on pre-sale tickets in the meantime by texting “dune” to 773-8BL-KLZT (825-5598).
Hopefully ZHU and Kevin Parker have more shared work stocked away on a hard drive somewhere, because one single may not be enough. The Tame Impala frontman and enigmatic Mind of a Genius producer were slated for a new joint effort in 2018, and they’ve finally delivered their hotly anticipated new collaboration, “My Life,” a top-notch piece of indie-dance excellence that plays upon both artists most venerable qualities in a seamlessly complementary fashion.
It’s dreamy and palatably psychedelic, carried by Parker’s characteristically sublime vocal work — and while the composition isn’t ZHU’s typically cool, after hours-ready warehouse fare, the step outside of his comfort zone is certainly commendable. “My Life” leans more progressive house, at times even revealing a subtle trance inspiration, driven by its understated percussion arrangements, pronounced keys, and fluttering vocal loops.
Tame Impala’s last output was 2015’s Currents, though Parker has kept busy between records working with the likes of Mark Ronson, Lady Gaga, and SZA. ZHU on the other hand is continuing a white-hot output streak following 2017’s Adidas partnership and his newly inked deal with new Chinese dance label Liquid State. Hopefully a quick stop to smell the roses on “My Life” turned out more than just a single tune though, because Kevin Parker and ZHU make a quality pairing.
During a recent performance in China, Zhu took the opportunity to officially confirm to fans that the collaboration does in fact exist and it is underway, and later confirmed in a statement by the “Waters of Monaco” producer’s management team.
Zhu’s exciting news didn’t stop there though. The aforementioned performance in China came as part of a launch event for a new Chinese electronic dance music label called Liquid State, which will host releases from Zhu, Alan Walker, and burgeoning Chinese artists, among others in 2018. Liquid State is backed by Sony and Chinese streaming and tech powerhouse Tencent Music Entertainment. The new imprint will develop dance content with the intent of leveraging Tencent’s streaming services QQ Music, Kugou Music, and Kuwo Music to distribute said content. The move was effectively sealed by a reported 10% equity swap between Tencent and Sony’s licensing partner, Spotify, in December. Tencent, by comparison, boasts nearly double the users as Spotify across their three platforms.
Last summer at Governor’s Ball — during Kevin Parker (Tame Impala) and Mark Ronson‘s DJ set — the DJ duo premiered a collaborative single with breakout R&B pop star SZA. Since then, Parker and Ronson have played a slew of DJ sets together, and Tame Impala has stayed out of the limelight, save for a Currents B-Sides release and festival announcement at Madrid’s Mad Cool Fest.
As far as strange sonic pairings go, sometimes musical opposites really do attract — just ask Elton John and Eminem, Kanye West and Bon Iver, or Aerosmith and Run DMC, among many others. Now, possibly the next artistic convergence to to join the odd collaborations ranks could be Zhu and Tame Impala, as they’re rumored to have linked up for an upcoming project. This set of rumors reignited speculation that first began circulating on the internet in late 2017.
Zhu took to Twitter to fan the flames, leaving a perfectly nondescript message that will either leave fans scratching their heads, or salivating for a first listen. If this materializes, will Zhu’s enigmatic electro-noir style complement Tame Impala‘s buzzing psychedelic rock fare? Only time will tell, though all signs point to a hit waiting to happen. Fingers crossed.
Freddy Kennett and Robby Hauldren aren’t your average producers. Already conquering a large portion of the world on a number of tours, collaborations with multiple artists and a fanbase that grows exponentially, the two have experienced enormous growth over their years in music. Rising from bedroom producers to international success didn’t come overnight, but these two made it look easy.
Better known by their stage name, Louis The Child, the boys demonstrate their own unique workings of future bass and continuously find ways to transcend their positivity and love for life into their music — a remarkable feat that not many can achieve. They draw inspiration from some of the leading names in dance music, like Flume and Madeon to forge their own unique sound, undergoing exceptional growth throughout the past two years as a result. From performing on stages at some of the biggest festivals across the world to their colorful touch on their remixes of Miike Snow’s “Genghis Khan” and Ty Dolla $ign’s hip-hop anthem “Blasé“, global musical domination is not far from their reach.
Their nation-wide ‘Last To Leave’ tour is considered by many as Louis The Child’s most successful tour yet, with the duo having brought out a multitude of friends and rising artists to open for them. Ashe, Joey Purp, Lauv, Point Point, Louis Futon, Prince Fox, Party Pupils, and Win & Woo offer different musical styles as they join Hauldren and Kennett for the ride. Currently traveling across North America in the midst of this tour, they took some time to chat with Dancing Astronaut after their Toronto show, where they dig into the depths of their past tours, ways to stay inspired and connecting with their fans, and more to reveal the personalities beyond the happy-go-lucky Chi-town boys that one sees on stage.
From the multiple tours you two have embarked on over the past few years, what has changed about your shows, and your stage presence?
Freddy: We’ve gotten a lot more comfortable and a lot more clear with what we wanted to present to the people at the show. I think also we switched from CDJs to Ableton Live recently, and that’s been a big change in helping us grow the set in a way. We have a lot more possibilities now, and I think in general our connection with the crowd has grown every single night that we play a show. We’re always looking to improve something with the show every single time that we play a show, and it feels like every show just keeps getting better.
Robby: I think also our stage production has gotten a lot bigger and crazier. Now that we’re playing in bigger rooms and stuff, there’s kind of an expectation to bring more production and to put on a much bigger show with lights and video, and I think we definitely stepped up to the challenge and really brought it up another notch with this tour.
Freddy: Also, we’ve kind of gone from at the start of thinking of about being DJs, to now where we really just want to put on the best show we can rather than solely a DJ performance or a musical performance.
Besides having your photographer document your shows, we learned that you also have given out disposable cameras at shows to collect shots from your fans perspectives. Where did this idea come from, and how have the results turned out?
Robby: I want to say it was around last fall when we toured — I believe like someone brought it up to us that they heard of someone else doing it a while back, and we thought, “Damn, that’s a really interesting idea.” Give people in the crowd a disposable and see what they capture and what it’s like to be in the crowd at one of our shows. Obviously, we’ll never know what it’s like to be in our own crowd, so I think it’s really cool to give the people attending the show a camera and say, “Hey, take a photo and pass it to someone else.” It’s really cool to see what people capture. We posted a bunch of the photos we got from past tours, and it’s just cool to see what moments people want to capture and what about the show connects with them. Whether it’s a funny selfie, or if it’s a picture of one of us getting real close to someone in the crowd, or whatever it is, it’s nice to see the perspective of someone attending the show and we continue to do it. We don’t really always get the cameras back, but when we do, we love developing them and checking ’em out.
Have you guys had any photo that specifically stood out to you?
Robby: One was of someone’s middle finger. Nothing crazy, it’s all just the vibe we’re looking for in the crowd.
Freddy: A lot of people just being happy, that’s the one thing I noticed. A lot of people just smiling and looking like they’re really enjoying themselves, which is exactly what we want from our shows is for people to be together and enjoy themselves, and enjoy the company around them.
Speaking of photos, Robby, you also have your own Instagram account for your photography. Do you have any specific inspiration when you’re out shooting?
Robby: Capturing whatever’s around us, really. I think we live an interesting life and this stuff’s really only gonna happen once, so I think it’s really important to capture it. I’m a big fan of rock memorabilia, so I always love taking cool photos, seeing old merch from my favorite rock bands, for example. The only way to really keep that going is to take it upon yourself sometimes, and go out and capture what’s happening aroundyou.
Tell us about life on a tour bus. What have you both learned about each other, after being stuck on the bus for hours at a time?
Freddy: It’s kind of like summer camp for us. I kind of learned that this last tour when we were on the bus with Imad Royal and our photographer Collin Miller — just all of us together waking up at the same time, and making music. Because we have speakers on the bus, we can make music ’till whatever time we want; sometimes it’s 4:00am, sometimes it’s 9:00am. The bunks are all pitch black so you can just sleep until whenever and just play the show, then make more music the next night. That’s really fun for me cause I stay productive and creative, and work on making new, fun music while on the road. Touring has been really fun and the show aspect of things just gets cooler every night. After like 4-5 shows in a row, you get tired and it’s just normal now. You get a little tired, you get the rest stage, then you’re excited to get back to doing shows.
Robby: Like a cycle almost! You do 4-5 shows in a row, and you feel tired as fuck after that and then you have like two days off, and by the second day off you’re like “I wanna do a show again”. It’s nice to kinda always be on and always be doing something.
That’s great! Have you guys learned anything about each other, like particular habits, that you wouldn’t have known before, from being on the bus?
Freddy: I mean we’re all growing and adding on new habits and trying to be the best selves we can be, and be the most creative so we’re all kinda just inspiring each other. We all went out and got practice pads to practice drums and a bass guitar, so Robby’s practicing bass and we’re all constantly writing and freestyling together, trying to improve on all fronts musically. Also, I’ve just been meditating and reading a lot of books and trying to stay active in all ways.
Robby: I don’t know, there aren’t really specific habits for this tour that I’ve learned about Freddy or anyone. It’s almost the same — we’ve been doing this for so long together that we have a very good understanding of each other, and it’s nice to have that.
Freddy: Also with everyone on tour is very loving. No matter who you are, we can get along with you very well. Who cares about your habits? As long as everyone’s in a good mood and loving each other, we can provide the best tour and have the best time all together.
We saw that you guys had dressed up as Rick and Morty for your set at Voodoo Fest – did you guys get up to any shenanigans this Halloween?
Freddy: We were in New Orleans!
Robby: Yeah, we were in New Orleans for that. We went to a cool warehouse rave that Fatboy Slim was playing at, after we played in New York. That was definitely a shenanigan.
Freddy: The Rick and Morty costumes are really funny though, we all have some inside jokes now from the voices and we did some interviews in character. But yeah, it was just really fun. I like Halloween a lot.
Was this your first year being on tour for Halloween?
Robby: Yeah we did. We’ve definitely done our fair share of Halloween shows and played on Halloween.
Freddy: I’d say we’ve only played like one or two years of Halloween shows, but they get better every year especially as we grow.
You both update your Soundcloud daily with tunes from your friends and other artists, but tell us about both of your current, go-to songs when you guys have time to chill out.
Freddy: I know we both love Knox Fortune, “Lil Thing” and that it’s one of our favorites from this year. I have a playlist of about 300 of my classic songs from all across time that I’ve always been shuffling through to stay inspired, but I love modern indie, electro-pop, kinda more indie like Polish Girl, Neon Indian, Passion Pit, stuff like that.
Robby: I’ve definitely been listening to Billy Island lately, their song “Ocean Eyes” fucking kills me. In a good way. Patient 99 by Blaise Railey is also a jam and a half, I love that track.
Freddy: But Knox Fortune is one of our favorites lately.
Speaking of songs, in your “Candy” mix you guys put out, you have an endless goldmine of unreleased tracks. Will any of those officially come to light in the future?
Freddy: I’d say maybe a few of them might come out with some of the artists we’ve worked with. I think we’re constantly working on new stuff, but we’ll probably put out new Candy tapes, or maybe call it a different name. We’ll probably be putting out a good amount of beat tapes every so often. I really like that we put out Candy and it has the visual companion, it kinda separated stuff that we’ve released on Spotify and iTunes from these ideas and these cool ear-candy that you can listen to elsewhere, so there’s a bunch of different types of things that you can get from Louis The Child. I like having songs on Spotify that are real songs, but also having separate releases that might be things that please or excite you for the next release.
You said that you were looking to release more Candy mixes in the future?
Freddy: Yeah, I dunno if we’ll call them Candy but we’ll definitely put out new installments of some beat tapes.
Robby: Yeah, we definitely haven’t slowed down on our music-making so I’m sure that if you give it some time, we’ll probably regroup and be like “Shit, we have all these lil things, let’s make another one.”
Freddy: But no plans on it.
Robby: No plans, but if it happens naturally, that’s the best way.
On that note, your Last to Leave tour has been wildly successful and it seems that your fanbase only grows at an exponential rate. Besides some new music, what do you guys hope to accomplish in 2018?
Robby: We definitely have a couple more releases planned for 2017 that we’re really excited about. In 2018, we’re going to do a lot more touring too and get to a lot of places that we haven’t been to before, which is really exciting for us. We’re slowly but surely working towards an album, and I think the goal is definitely to put out an album in 2018. It’s still very much in the beginning phases, and we’re still really figuring out everything about it, but we definitely want to.
Freddy: It’s in the beginning phases in terms of adding things, we’re still working on the arranging of the album, but it’s not in the beginning phases in terms of like, we have like 30 ideas in a folder that we’re thinking for it and we’ve already tried to take a few out of it to try and put it together, and we still have a good amount. It’s coming though.
Robby: For sure 2018 an album, and venturing to a lot of new places to perform.
ITtowards the end of your shows lately, when you guys play “It’s Strange,” you both take a moment to sit down on the stage. Why is that?
Freddy: It’s a mixture of the idea naturally coming to Robby. Originally he would do it but after a few shows, I ended up sitting down with him and it kinda created a really cool moment. When she starts talking about “letting down your walls” we’d do it, and I feel like it’s a really close moment where I end up looking straight at the front-row and everyone in the crowd. You can kinda see them react to it, and it feels really close between the crowd and us.
Robby: I think another thing too is that it’s the last song of the show, and at that point there’s nothing really left that we have to do. We don’t have a next song that we have to think about transitioning in, it’s kind of a moment where we can sit down and be like “Alright, these are the last few minutes of the show, we want to spend it as close to you. We want to give you our full attention, ’cause after these last couple of minutes, this whole thing is done.” It’s nice to do that, and a way to really give our full attention to the people our in the crowd.
Freddy: And a good final moment; a good send off.
Lastly, Robby, why exactly do you take your shoes off when you guys perform? Is it that much comfier?
Robby: Yeah it’s a comfort thing. I used to DJ in my room and I wouldn’t wear shoes then. I just started doing it on stage a bit, and it started to turn into a thing where people noticed and we’re like “Whoa, Robby doesn’t wear shoes!”, and I was like “Well, guess I’ll keep doing it!”
Freddy: It’s a funny thing cause ever since we first started playing shows and there was no one there, he’s always done it.
Robby: It’s also one of Fatboy Slim’s rules of DJing, I guess you can say I try to follow.
Tickets for the rest of their Last To Leave tour are available online.