Kevin Parker Celebrates 10 Years of Tame Impala’s ‘Lonerism’:’ I Felt Free to be Ambitious, Weird, Pop, Experimental’

Ten years is a lifetime that goes by in the blink of an eye. Just ask Kevin Parker, the production maestro behind Tame Impala.

A decade ago this week, the Australian creative whiz dropped his sophomore full-length album, Lonerism (via Modular Recordings). And from that point on, everything changed.

Parker today takes a trip down memory lane, pulling recollections and photos from the vault.

Lonerism is 10 years old today. Difficult to sum up what the album means to me at this point,” he writes on Instagram. “It was a pretty special time for me making the music (it wasn’t an album yet at that point). In a way it’s when I truly discovered myself as an artist.”

Prior to Lonerism, Parker had dropped his 2010 debut Innerspeaker, a and batch of EPs and singles under the Tame Impala moniker, including 2008’s bluesy “Half Full Glass of Wine.” As a side-gig, he played drums with prog-rock act Pond.

“Coming off the back of Innerspeaker I had this new sense of purpose…calling… whatever you want to call it. I had finally given myself permission to let music take over my being completely… to become totally immersed in my own world of recording music,” he continues. “So I had this new sense of creative freedom. I felt free to be ambitious, weird, pop, experimental, whatever, and didn’t feel judged because I was finally just doing it for myself and believed in myself. For the most part anyway.”

Parker admits he struggled when the album was released out in the wide world.

His confidence “came crashing down and I thought the album sucked and couldn’t even imagine people enjoying it. As it turns out I was wrong… the album dropped and exceeded all my expectations and my life changed massively again, and I slowly realised the music was pretty good, again, which gave me a new sense of purpose, and the cycle starts again.”

He needn’t have stressed. The album reached No. 4 in his homeland, cracked the top 40 on both sides of the Atlantic, won a brace of ARIA Awards, including album of the year, was nominated for a Grammy, and scooped the J Award for Australian album of the year.

Staying in his reflective mood, Parker shared several images from the time, including the unadulterated cover art from Lonerism, which the Western Australian had snapped in Paris.

Lonerism, we learn, was actually titled Loner Pop right up until it had been mastered and sent off for production. “I was sitting in the courtyard outside my apartment in Paris having finished the album a few days before, which is always a pretty spaced out feeling, kind of like… “what do I do now??” Parker recounts. “I was happy it was done but not completely satisfied as I didn’t think I got the title quite right. Suddenly the word lonerism popped into my head and it was obvious that was the one.”

Calls were made, the presses were (mostly) stopped.

“The CDs must have already gone into production because all the first pressings say Loner Pop when you put them in a CD player,” he notes.

Tame Impala has gone on to become one of the hottest properties in the music world. The act’s fourth and most recent album, The Slow Rush, led the ARIA Chart, and peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and Official U.K. Albums Charts.

Lars Brandle