Kevin Parker Talks Tame Impala Album Delay, Changing “Patience” After Its Release, And Why He’s Just Starting To Come Around To “Elephant”

Earlier this year, Tame Impala put out two new songs, “Patience” and “Borderline,” performed on Saturday Night Live, and headlined Coachella. Logic would dictate that a new Tame Impala album was right around the corner, perhaps in time for this summer’s extensive tour dates, but it still hasn’t materialized.

In a new interview with Huck, Kevin Parker sort of explains why. He doesn’t directly address the album delay, but he does talk about the creative control he’s been given over his music can also be both a gift and a curse. “The more power and control I have over the music, the more freedom and respect I’m given by my record label, then the more I don’t have them going like, ‘Right, you’ve got to fucking finish this.’ So that is an issue,” Parker says.

The interviewer brings up Kanye West’s newer habit of altering songs after they’ve already been released, starting with The Life Of Pablo, and Parker said he considered doing a similar thing about putting out “Patience”:

It’s dangerous. When I first heard that he’d done that, I just went, ‘Oh, no! That’s gonna be me.’ When [new single] ‘Patience’ came out, I can’t tell you the number of things I wanted to change. I held myself back… well, actually, I didn’t. I asked if we could [make changes]… so that’s deadly. But at the same time – and this is me enabling myself even more – the way we release music has changed so much. What’s inherently wrong with an artist changing a song after it’s been released? Are there rules that we’re not able to look past because we’re stuck in our ways? What if releasing a song was fluid? What if there wasn’t this set period of time when an artist works on a piece of art and they pick a day to share it with the world and it can’t be changed after that?

Further hammering home his perfectionist tendencies, Parker talks about how he’s just now starting to appreciate one of the band’s most popular songs, 2012’s “Elephant“:

I put it on [Lonerism] as a kind of joke, as filler, because the rest of the album was so wishy-washy emotionally and I just wanted to have a psych-rock stomper. It almost didn’t make it on the album. But the label was like, ‘No, no, this is definitely the single’; everyone who listened to it was like, ‘Dude, it’s a single.’ I just said, ‘Okay, if you say so.’ Even now I’m like, ‘Oh, that song is so meat-headed’. But, actually, you know what? I’m just starting to come around to it.

Read the full interview here.