We speak with the Australian psych band before their national tour begins tomorrow.
The words 'Beard, Wives, Denim' evoke the mental image of a hairy Canadian tuxedo-wearing dude in a polygamous relationship. Contrary to this, it is the name of the latest record from Sydney psych band Pond (which is out through Modular), whose Australian tour kicks off tomorrow. Made up of Joe Ryan, Nick Allbrook and Jay Watson (the latter two who also play in Tame Impala), Pond has three albums under their belt and have supported MGMT and played St. Jeromes. Today they released the video for 'You Broke My Cool'...
We caught up with Joe and conversed about recording in a farmhouse, the ambiguity of genres, the birth of album names and having a frontman whose got moves like Jagger.
Lucy Rennick: Congratulations on the album! What have you got planned in terms of celebrations?
Joe Ryan: Well, seeing as we finished recording it about two years ago, I guess we have been celebrating ever since. Also the actual recording of the album was a bit of a celebration in itself. I reckon we cut right to the chase on this album and recorded an accurate representation of our sound and our head space at the time, so even more reason to celebrate! But I'm glad it's out for all to listen to.
My impression of the Australian psych scene is that it’s quite limited. Is this true? Who are some Aussie psych bands that everyone should know about?
Psych? What really is the sound of psych now a days? It's hard for me to pin bands down under one genre, but I guess if you wanna astral travel while you listen or watch an Aussie 'psych' band you'd want to check out The Laurels (Sydney) and Mare Dardie (Perth). Badass!
Syzzurp – a concoction of cough syrup, jolly ranchers, Sprite and Hennessy – is listed as one of your influences on MySpace. Have you ever actually had syzzurp, and if so, what degree of musical enlightenment occurred as a direct result?
I think I remember trying it but it may have been the wrong stuff. And I guess if I can't remember it at all it may have been either really good or just left me with a clear unhorse throat. Thanks Lil Wayne.
Are there any other, perhaps non-medicinal influences you’d like to credit at this stage?
As always we'd like to thank the 'bigger groove' for the whole situation. The best way to describe the 'bigger groove' is relating it loosely to karma. We try to be good and have as much fun as possible and in turn good things happen to us like getting to tour with MGMT and the Flaming Lips. It's the old thing of, if you focus your energy hard enough on the thought that you might one day record an album with David Bowie producing, then it may very well happen.
Are there stories behind your album names?
I guess it takes a while to settle on a name for an album. Everyone just throws ideas at one another till someone says something that is right. Jay thought of Frond one day and everyone agreed it was right for that album. Nick thought of Corridors of Blisterday and I guess Psychedelic Mango was a group effort. Let’s just say that there is no meaning behind the album names that can be put into words. The next album's called Man, It Feels Like Space Again – that was my pearler.
The recording process for Beard, Wives, Denim sounds like a perfect epitome of what it is to be a rock star – chaotic, spontaneous and above all, really really fun. Can you tell us a bit more about what went on during those two weeks in your friend's farmhouse?
We rocked up to the farm gate in force, and as we drove up through the bush with kangaroos bounding around and cows grazing, we thought "by gawd this is going to be fun." When you start driving from the main gate it takes about two minutes to get up to the actual shack, but once you’re out of the trees you can see this huge ocean in front of you. I believe it's one of the only places in Western Australia that you can see the sun rise over the ocean. We really cut loose on that farm. Jamie, Kev and I were in tents for the first few nights, but a major storm took them out early in the piece. We all had to sleep in the one room shack after that. We recorded all the instruments live and because we were in such a small space we had to build makeshift sound barriers out of what we could find around. Good times.
Nick’s dance moves have been compared to those of Mick Jagger. Do you think this is this the best comparison he's ever had, in relation to dance moves or otherwise?
The man can move all right. I usually miss it because I'm trying to focus on my parts but I did see him as he became the human fly at the Norfolk one time, pressed up to the ceiling and crawling along, that was cool. What can I say – only he's our go-to man for bringing the frontman vibe. We've all seen the Flaming Lips a couple of times and those fellows just demolish the audience-band barrier. Now we don't have obscenely high powered confetti canons but I feel good knowing we have Nick killing it out front.
What’s next for Pond?
Next for Pond is the new album we've finished writing, which I was talking about before. Hopefully we can record it before Tame Impala get going again and hopefully it comes out a lot sooner than Beard, Wives, Denim did. There are definitely more albums to be made by Pond in the future. Dig em'.
POND’S BEARD, WIVES, DENIM NATIONAL TOUR DATES (Supported by The Laurels):
Thu April 19 – The Standard, Sydney
Fri April 20 – Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane
Sat April 21 – Great Northern, Byron Bay
Sun April 22 – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
Tue April 24 – Ed Castle, Adelaide
Sat April 28 – The Bakery, Perth
Introduction: Melissa Kenny
Interview: Lucy Rennick