POND The X-Press Interview

Perth’s favourite sons, Pond, will be releasing their eighth studio album Tasmania this Friday, and will celebrate its release at The Astor Theatre on Sunday, March 3. KIERRA POLLOCK caught up with band member Jay Watson to discuss the new album, working with Kevin Parker, experimenting with instruments and what punters can expect from the show.

This is Pond’s eighth album! Was the process of creating this album different to the others and in what ways?

We recorded this album in the exact same way we that we did The Weather, the last one, because we felt that it had worked out so well and was probably our most comfortable recording experience to date. It was the same time of year (Christmas/Summer), same studio (Kevin from Tame Impala’s) with almost the same personnel. James Ireland wasn’t in the band until this record actually, so it was great to have his input, he actually ended up co-writing a bunch of it. Of course our cache of equipment is constantly mutating and expanding so there are a bunch of new sounds and recording techniques on Tasmania that we hadn’t tried before too.

How did The Boys Are Killing Me come about?

To get the full insight into the song lyrically, you would have to ask Nick, but my interpretation is that it could be about or represent a bunch of things. On a personal level it could be the pressure of hanging and being with and behaving like ‘The Boys’, on a larger scale it could be referring to global positions of power in certain industries. Again, I’m not really sure though. But that’s the interesting thing with art and music – interpreting it yourself.

The album seems to focus on a theme of despair or shame at the world’s current state, and maybe even a bit of anxiety about the future, is this something that you feel? And why did you guys think it was an important message to convey?

I think everyone feels a bit uneasy at the moment, obviously to different extents and on different scales. We have it easy ourselves but it’s hard not to get bogged down with the state of things globally, and at home. I guess that’s one of the beautiful things about music is that it’s a relief from thinking about all this stuff internally 24/7.

You worked more closely with Kevin Parker on The Weather and now Tasmania, and you have all famously worked on many other projects together too, what is it like having such a close friend produce your albums?

It’s fabulous, he’s always been a great ally of the band and almost like another member. The thing I’m most proud of about all our bands is the lack of ego when it comes to working with each other, and each other’s ideas. The best idea wins, no matter who it comes from and we aren’t precious (most of the time…)

There are some amazing sounds on this album, what instruments and synths did you guys like using, and did you experiment with any new instruments that you haven’t used before?

We’ve always got new bits and bobs to play with – mics, synths, pedals etc. We used the Uilleann Pipes on Daisy, a traditional Irish instrument that Joe hadn’t played in a while, that was cool!

Now that you have eight albums, and so many tracks that are fan favourites, is it difficult coming up with your setlists? What’s that process like?

The process is always a balancing act of trying to play songs that you want to perform, and songs that the audience wants to hear. The two sometimes don’t conflate! I think we’re gonna try and play about half of the new record live, at least initially, and then maybe work some other songs in over the next two years. We’re not deliberately obtuse with setlists, we always try and play as many of the ‘fan favourites’ that we’re comfortable with playing, although some haven’t aged too well!

POND haven’t played this big a headline show in WA since Fremantle Prison, what are you looking forward to the most about playing at home again and which tracks are you most excited about playing live?

I can’t wait to play in Perth again, it’s always so much fun and so rewarding to get to try and put on a show in your hometown. I’m looking forward to playing the three or four songs of the new record we haven’t tried live yet, the album comes out (close to) the day of the Astor show! I think that Hand Mouth Dancer and Daisy are gonna be bangers live.