Tame Impala: Recreating the sound
Tame Impala is a renowned Australian psychedelic music project fronted by the talented multi-instrumentalist Kevin Parker. The project began in the early 2000s when Parker started experimenting with music production and songwriting in his hometown of Perth, Western Australia. Drawing inspiration from the ’60s and ’70s psychedelic rock, Tame Impala’s signature sound blends dreamy melodies, intricate instrumentals, and introspective lyrics. Their debut album, “InnerSpeaker” released in 2010, marked the beginning of their meteoric rise to fame, captivating audiences worldwide with their unique sonic exploration. Parker’s distinct sound has become a staple in pop culture, producing for the likes of Travis Scott, The Weeknd, Kanye West, and several others in addition to the Tame Impala project. Let’s explore the essential components that contributed to the distinctive sound of Tame Impala. As we delve into the gear used, we’ll examine the crucial elements that helped shape their unique musical identity. From the instruments utilized to the production techniques employed, we’ll uncover the secrets behind their captivating sound. So, let’s take a closer look and discover what makes Tame Impala’s music so special. The information for this article was gathered from sources such as LivingRoomGD, AudioHaze, and Tame Impala’sYouTube channels.
One of Kevin Parker’s favorite synths is the Juno-106, a 6-voice polysynth. Despite its relatively limited synthesis capabilities, the Juno-106 compensated with an impressive sound quality that left a lasting impression on him. Notably, the built-in chorus effect of the Juno-106 became highly coveted and even inspired the creation of a standalone effects pedal. With this treasured instrument, Kevin incorporated its unique charm into the material that followed, adding a distinctive touch to his evolving artistic expression.
The DBX 165’s remarkable versatility allowed Parker to infuse his sounds with unparalleled tonality. The allure of the Tame Impala drum sound owes much to the 165’s influence, working hand in hand with mix engineer Dave Fridmann’s adept use of the Shure Level-Loc.
Kevin Parker prefers to use two Boss multitrack recorders(the BR-864 and BR-1600) instead of your traditional DAW. Today, affordable DAW-less recording options exist, such as the flexible Zoom LiveTrak series, allowing musicians to explore innovative recording methods.
Roland Chorus Echo RE-501
The Chorus Echo RE-501, which showcased Roland’s expertise in echo design, is a crucial element to the Tame Impala Sound Roland’s journey into echo technology began with Ace Tone in the late 1960s before the company became the legendary entity it is today. The RE-501 and SRE-555, released in 1982, represent the final tape-based echo units ever produced by Roland. The authentic tape echo offers a unique charm that remains unmatched in the realm of effects processing.
Boss Blues Driver
During the time of recording “Inner Speaker”, Kevin Parker’s setup was relatively straightforward, featuring a Fender Deluxe Roadhouse Strat plugged into a Vox AC-30 amplifier, which was mic’d with an SM57. His pedalboard was equipped with various Electro-Harmonix pedals, including the Small Stone Phaser, Fuzz Face, and Holy Grail Reverb, contributing to the band’s unique sonic palette.
From experimenting with vintage equipment to incorporating various effects, Tame Impala’s music remains a testament to Kevin Parker’s innovative approach to sonic exploration, making his unique sound essential in contemporary music. It’s safe to say that the sound of Tame Impala has cemented itself as a testament to the might of creativity.