Your music is often described as “psychedelic”—do you think that’s accurate? What does this term mean to you? Does it have to involve drugs?
I think psychedelia is subjective. It has nothing to do with drugs, flared pants, long hair, head bands, being thin or being spaced out. I think Leonard Cohen and Dr. G Yunupingu and Joni Mitchell have provided me with some of the most transcendental moments of my music listening career. I remember being brought close to whatever "god" might be listening to Blonde by Frank Ocean, and watching Bon Iver at Primavera. I have had more psychedelic experiences in the ocean, or in my bed when I can't sleep, or walking alone in the bush, or in Matisse's Chapelle du Rosaire, than I ever had from dropping a tab and listening to The Jefferson Airplane. So, I guess each person decides if something is psychedelic or not.
You’ve just put out your seventh album, The Weather. How has your sound developed since the start?
We've gotten more comfortable with being ourselves. We want to make something that expresses us honestly, instead of trying to emulate heroes and be "prolific" and cool... it's just about being happy and fulfilled and energetic and inspired.
The new album tackles some pretty heavy subjects. Any truth to the notion that troubled times make for better art?
There's a lot of evidence—from historical precedent—for that being the case. The Cabaret Voltaire couldn't have begun without WW1 refugee crisis. Gil Scott Heron's work was born from the pain of oppression and civil right movement... but I really do think humans can and will make beautiful art no matter what—good or bad—and if we can all one day love and live happily in the utopia of peace we all want deep down, then the creative output will be more magical and colourful than we've ever imagined.
Your live show is renowned for getting raucous. What can Bangkok expect? Will there ever come a time when you just want to mellow out?
Oh there definitely will! Everyone gets old and creaky. But usually I just feed off what's happening in the crowd, and I feel like I'm gonna be so damn excited to play to a Thai audience that it'll get lit anyway. Then again, I've had a fucked up rib the last couple weeks so that's kept me more still than usual. It'll be better by then, don't worry. We'll fuck the place up together.
What's the best thing about being on the road?
Honestly, the fact that I have one job and one purpose, and not time to even think about doing anything else. It's messes with my nerves every day, but then the release of being able to sing and look at peoples faces smiling is incomparable.
You guys are all involved in various projects. Is it ever hard to separate these different creative outlets?
It can be... right now I have some songs, and I don't know if they're gonna be Pond songs or just me songs, or maybe keep something for another project or another person. But I like the process. It keeps things flowing.
Thailand has a long history of psychedelic music that combines folk, funk and noise. Do you guys listen to much “world music” or pick up obscure stuff while you’re on the road?
World music? I always thought that was just Westerners way to say "music that isn't in English" or something. If that's the case, then yes I listen to a shitload of "world music"! I don't pick up stuff on the road much anymore—coz i can't be bothered carrying around fragile records in my bag—but I used to, and it's certainly introduced me to a lot of stuff. I wanna hear some of this Thai folk, funk and noise music! Gimme gimme gimme!
What's the #1 reason anyone should visit Perth?
The beach and the space and the sky.
Finally, does it frustrate you at all to have your music constantly compared to Tame Impala’s?
Nah, it's all good. I'm happy being me and Kev's [Tame Impala's Kevin Parker] happy being Kev. People can say what they need.
Pond will perform at Nakarin Space (399/1 Srinakarin Rd.) on Nov 21, supported by Bangkok-based experimental producer Koichi Shimizu. Tickets are B2,000 available from Thaiticketmajor.com. Ahead of the gig, check out some of Pond's psychedelic sounds below: