We chat with Pond
There’s more to Pond than just being Tame Impala’s fantastically explosive, psychedelic alter-ego. For starters, Pond’s bassist, Joe Ryan, insists they’re not actually a psychedelic band. “I don’t really feel very psychedelic,” he laughs. “I feel tired”.
It may be midday in Perth, but Ryan’s voice has the charming mumble of someone who has just woken up, and admittedly, is “still waiting for the coffee to kick in.”
Despite the swathes of sprawling guitars, occasionally absurdist lyrics and the fact that the band’s first album was entitled Psychedelic Mango (2009), Ryan vehemently defends Pond from being thrown into the all-encompassing label of ‘psychedelic’.
While it may be partly due to the limiting nature of such arbitrary descriptors – the concept of which fundamentally contradicts the fun, free-spirited, ego-less philosophies painted through Pond’s music – he claims it’s simply because, aesthetically, “it just doesn’t seem appropriate. We don’t have crazy projections or play that kind of music.”
A veritable supergroup of the ever-collaborative Perth music scene, Pond’s current lineup includes members or Tame Impala, Mink Mussel Creek, The Silents and The Growl. While elements of each of these bands can invariably be heard within Pond’s aural delights, their predilection for melding sensible pop melodies with flamboyant glam structures and ferocious guitar riffs, is entirely their own.
Following the success of 2012’s Beard, Wives, Denim (the group’s fourth LP), the Perth band played larger venues for their East Coast tour. With both audiences at their sold out Melbourne show at The Corner Hotel and Sydney’s all ages romp at The Metro getting a taste of tracks from “a new album that’s pretty much finished,” says Ryan.
The recording of Beard, Wives, Denim already holds a well-established position within Australia’s rock’n’roll folklore, for having taken place in a shack on a farm, somewhere in the isolated Western Australian wilderness, as well as the adventures that would inevitably arise in such circumstances.
Ryan admits that the recording process for the new album was far more conventional. “We were originally going to do an EP called Hobo Rocket, but we decided that because we’ve got so many songs that would take ages to unburden ourselves of, we’d just make an album instead. We went to [Wasteland Studios] in Fremantle owned by the guys from Eskimo Joe and we did it in three nights. We think it’s going to have eight tracks in the end and it’s still going to be called Hobo Rocket.”
Ryan describes Hobo Rocket as being “a pretty sonic album with a lot of feedback and crazy shit,” and we can expect many tracks to be “heavier; more like Earth or one of those kinds of bands”.
Inevitably, the rising success of Tame Impala may have partly contributed to the broadening of Pond’s audience, but it was ultimately the sprawling psychedelic-glam anthems (complemented by the interspersed musical discussions between tracks) of Beard, Wives, Denim that really caught the attention of music lovers around the globe.
“Our albums before that are pretty bloody weird,” laughs Ryan. “It’s no surprise that they weren’t going to get much attention except for around the Perth music scene.”
The album’s early success also gave the band the opportunity to tour Europe and the US. Ryan reveals that there was one particularly rowdy night in Nottingham that stands out. “The club was way over capacity and the crowd was getting wild. Pints were getting thrown everywhere and all of our equipment got saturated with beer. Our keyboard blew up and our PA was getting smashed around a lot. It was pretty wild and raucous.”
As well as their shows in Sydney and Melbourne, Pond also marched their (non) psychedelic stylings to Newcastle’s Fat As Butter Festival last weekend, alongside a varied lineup that included Good Charlotte, Wheatus, Mystery Jets and Eiffel 65. A lineup that Ryan admits he “heard any music by,” encouraging that being a Newcastle virgin, he was “looking forward to just obliviously wandering around and whatever catches my ear, I’ll just mosey on over to.”
It seems like the next few months are going to be pretty eventful for Pond. “We’ve got this album finished, the next album written and ready to rock in the studio, and we’re just going to keep on trucking.”
While nothing has been officially confirmed regarding a release date for Hobo Rocket, Ryan estimates “around the end of the year or the start of next year. It just takes a little while because people need to be satisfied – not us. People we’ve never met need to be satisfied.”
Beard Wives Denim is out now through Modular.