Many music fans know about Australian psych-rock band Tame Impala—but they probably don’t know about Pond, even though the band has featured and continues to feature various members of Tame Impala.
Here’s the current breakdown: Pond’s frontman is former Tame Impala touring member Nick Allbrook, and the band includes Tame Impala member Jay “Gumby” Watson. Other Pond members are Shiny Joe Ryan, Jamie Terry and Ginole.
In between performances at Coachella on Sunday, April 16 and 23, Pond will be playing at Pappy and Harriet’s on Monday, April 17.
During a recent phone interview from Australia, Jay Watson told me why so many bands from Australia have made a splash in the United States over the last decade.
“If you think about it proportionately, (the number of bands to find success) is probably the same as it is in the United States,” Watson said. “There are, like, 23 million people here. I know it’s kind of easy and fun to think of it as this obscure place.”
Both Tame Impala and Pond are known for melding psychedelic music and rock. Watson said it’s not really a challenge to mix the two together.
“We just try to make stuff that has melodies we like,” he said. “… I guess we like stuff that sounds weird. That’s why it sounds psychedelic, or whatever word you want to use. We always try to make it sound weirder and have stronger songwriting at the same time.
“I guess we haven’t thought about making something sound psychedelic. … We just listen to a bunch of stuff and then squish it all together. If you’ve been listening to a lot of old Brian Eno and a lot of the new Rhianna album, (our music) is probably going to come out somewhere in between,” he said with a laugh. “I think it’s a really transparent process to where we’re digging on things, and it finds its way into the music.”
A new Pond album, The Weather, will be released on May 5.
“It might be a bit more conceited,” Watson said about the new album. “… We didn’t just throw in every idea that we had, which Pond has been known for in the past. I think (the new album) covers a lot of ground. There’s rock ’n’ roll stuff on there; there are samples from old records, and even hip-hop stuff, and electronic stuff, and it’s really freaky noise. I think it jumps around a lot in 40 minutes. It feels like longer.”
Considering Pond’s recorded music includes all of those aforementioned elements, the band members must find ways improvise during live shows.
“It’s kind of like covering your own songs,” Watson said about performing live. “When we record our albums, two or three of us record all the instruments. On some of the songs, I might be the only person on the song. On some of the songs, it might be Joe as the only person on the songs. As a five-piece (performing live), we kind of delegate parts of the songs. We even have electronics on tracks, like the horns, saxophones and trombones.”
Watson said he enjoys touring in the United States.
“I find it interesting that you go through the middle of the country,” he said. “In Australia, you wouldn’t go through the middle. That’s always intriguing. But there are a lot of nice older venues in America. I like the theaters, and they are some of the nicest theaters in the world. It’s kind of like Australia in that (the U.S.) has a wide range of landscapes. You don’t have tropical, but you have the desert, and you have the Pacific Northwest. Over a month, you get to see a bunch of different landscapes, which is interesting.”
In addition to performing on Sundays at Coachella, Pond will perform with Nicolas Jaar and Floating Points at 8 p.m., Monday, April 17, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are currently listed as sold out. For more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit pappyandharriets.com.