An album Stab digs: Pond’s “Man It Feels Like Space Again”
Story by Elliot Struck Heard of Pond? Even if you haven’t heard of ’em, you’ve certainly heard their music. It frequently modulates radio and music channels, and deservedly so because it is all colours of aural excellence. Perth lad Jay is the drummer and a driving force behind Pond’s sound, which is best described (by him) as […]
Story by Elliot Struck
Heard of Pond? Even if you haven’t heard of ’em, you’ve certainly heard their music. It frequently modulates radio and music channels, and deservedly so because it is all colours of aural excellence. Perth lad Jay is the drummer and a driving force behind Pond’s sound, which is best described (by him) as having a wonk to it. But you’ll find no genre shackles here, only adventurousness and transportation.
Pond drop their newest album, Man It Feels Like Space Again, on January 23 – and you should buy it, because it is very good and very emotive. They’re also playing the tour of St. Jerome’s Laneway festivals – a real good chance to catch one of the best live acts to come out of Australia in a fair stretch. Buy tix here.
Stab spoke with Jay about what it is to write an album in 2014.
Stab: Where do you even start?
Jay: I guess we do it the same way we’ve always done it with all our bands. It’s still in a very homemade, DIY way. It’s just that now we can actually pay people to help us out. I guess they’re always produced or whatever by us. A lot the stuff is just tweaking it afterwards. Then, Kevin Parker (Tame Impala) mixed this album, and I went and helped him mix it. It always just stays within the gang. We always use really talented people, but maybe not pros who are expensive, more just our friends or people we’ve met.
Traditionally you’d write an album, go record it, and then you get handed back this finished product. But now because of software accessibility and DIY attitude, everyone just does it emselves. Yeah, well I guess recently, over the last five years or so, people’s albums are sounding way cooler, and not necessarily more low fi, but just super original, because they’re doing them on tape machines or laptops. I think they sound cooler and weirder and more original. Because professional recording engineers – and there’s lots of great ones – have kind of little rules or tricks to make stuff sound clear or clear or big or warm, it often means every professional recording engineer on the planet’s records sound exactly the same. That’s where our stubbornness to do it ourselves comes from. Even if it sucks. And we’ve definitely made many shitty sounding recordings. But I’d take that over someone telling us what to do.
It’s a really varied album, sound wise. There’s stuff that references the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and the 90s… I mean, I hate thinking that cause it sounds so retro, but the 90s are my least favourite decade – I can’t think of too many records I like from the 90s. There’s definitely some cool music, like My Bloody Valentine. I was born in 1990, so I was a kid, but I was around.
I think you’re repulsed by the era you grew up in for a while but then you warm to it. Yeah, I guess it’s the actual sound of 90s recordings that I can’t stand. I used to think that about 80s recordings but now I really like them. I don’t think I’ll ever like 90s drum sounds though, they’re abhorrent. There’s lots of good songs, I’ll give it that. Nirvana were amazing. So much angst in the 90s!
It must be daunting to write an album at this point in musical history. It’s not like there’s four genres of music around anymore. I think that makes it more exciting. Even when our music isn’t very good, it doesn’t really sound like anyone else’s. I think? I hope. It might remind people of certain eras or something. It has a weird bend to it always. I find it really exciting because so long as it’s unique, people will listen to it.
Elvis Flaming Star is so excited then peels back so mellow, and then Holding out For You is really dreamy. It feels like the album’s really transparent with it’s moods. The only thing I ever care about in terms of compliments and criticism is that it’s not boring. I can take bad reviews for days so long as no one is saying it’s a yawn-fest. Anything that makes you feel strongly, positive or negative, is fine by me, basically. I don’t want to make middle-of-the-road music. We’ve made that stuff before but even then it’s a little out of tune or has some weird phrasing.
Do you ever write something and think, this sounds too normal. I think that wonk is more in the performance and the sounds and the production, though. A lot of those songs, if I played them on an acoustic guitar as a busker, they could all sound very normal.
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