“Wait, who’s Kevin Parker? Let me check Wiki… Oh, the Tame Impala guy. But he’s not even a drummer!” Exactly…
Kevin Parker and his one-man project called Tame Impala had a serious impact on me as a musician since their beginning. It’s been almost four years since I first listened to Innerspeaker and I still carry the record everywhere I go. No, it’s not my favourite record of all time but is certainly a piece of music that I praise a lot.
Back to the “not even a drummer”
thing: In my opinion, we drummers care a lot about what we do. We sweat it. Sometimes too much though… It’s safe to say that most of us have been in a situation where we bust our head off to find the right pattern to accompany a rather simple riff. You ‘re thinking:
“Yea that riff is so good but it sounds rather simplistic.. Maybe I need to spice it up”.
Enter confused bandmates: “Yo man you ‘re certain you wanna go that way? I mean, ye it’s fine but maybe we try to keep it low this time, I got a strong melody”.
You know what? Screw them.. but they ‘re right. Making music is supposed a natural procedure. I think Kevin Parker knows that.
What I’ ve learned from him:
-Keep it loose
-Let the melody breathe and speak to the listener
-There’s always a way of throwing influences in the most unexpected places
Let’s hear some examples:
1. Let loose. Almost like you dont care
2. Let the melody speak. Respect the songwriting. Hold back with you patterns.
3. You like hip hop but you ‘re playing in a psychedelic rock band. There is always a way to use that and don’t mess up. You just have to aim right and on time.
Now, soundwise you can accustom your ear to a “little” thingy called compression. If you ever had questions about heavily compressed drums look not further.
PS. Yes, of course I am familiar with Ringo Starr and I bet Kevin Parker is too. I could recite Ringo in every post I make but I wont. Different music context gives a different meaning to everything.
PS2. In many cases, the Tame Impala kind of drumming is based on looped drums. I think the same principles apply.