A pre-show conversation with Nick Allbrook from POND
interview by kat harris
I got the privilege of interviewing Nick Allbrook from POND, a psych-rock band from Australia who is about to start the American leg of the tour on Monday. POND overlaps members with Tame Impala- Nick collaborated with the band from 2009-2013, and Kevin Parker was a former member of the band (and still works on production for POND). Although it was a fairly brief interview, I was able to understand more about POND and their music – where they draw inspiration from, the impact of international touring on their music, and what their music expresses. Because of their music, they are able to experience the world and take from that their own subjective interpretation and make it into music. Nick was honest, open, fun, and thoughtful, and made me increasingly excited to attend their concert on Monday.
KAT: What’s the biggest thing you want your audience to take away from POND’s music?
NICK: I don’t want anyone to take away anything that I dictate… because it’s all whatever art or music or literature or film or anything that is entirely subjective. It’s always seemed to me a bit didactic for an artist to command their audience to take it in a certain way. It seems to negate the entire purpose of making something in the first place.
KAT: Who has been your biggest musical influence?
NICK: Probably… Outkast and Andre 3000 has had a really big effect on me. Um… Prince… I mean all the stuff in the early days when we were just coming out of high school I guess really formed my musical identity… like listening to all of the classic guitar magazine type rock. I was really into T.Rex and Bowie … you know… that stuff you listen to when you were really young. It really does stick with you, the things you consume when you’re in your early twenties. It really builds the foundation and any other influences after that seem to be a façade built on top of this guitar rock base… for better or worse.
KAT: How did y’all first gain attention as a band? It’s kind of a broad question, but were there any specific tactics y’all used such as touring or social media that helped put y’all on the map?
NICK: I think being able to write formally with Tame Impala really helped. I mean … fuck… that was a big part of it. I mean shit is moving exponentially at the moment so when you think about that… when we started POND like nine or ten years ago, I didn’t have a phone. We didn’t have internet in our house. I mean we didn’t have any tactics because I had this real morally steep idea of being like a modern Luddite, like not getting involved in technology, in the bullshit swirl. So, yeah, I didn’t have any tactics.
KAT: A lot of your music videos include global cities such as Tokyo. So how have your international tours influenced your music?
NICK: Oh, massively. We are from this very small, isolated part of the world, and it’s given us the opportunity to get out and see more people and meet more people. It’s just had a massive influence. We’ve lived in different places. We’ve had dear friends and collaborators from different countries who speak different languages. Other countries have been more than just for touring, they’ve become big parts of our lives, like in creativity and love and travel and family and all this stuff – the stuff that informs everything you do when you’re making music. It is our lives, and if making music is a projection of our lives, that’s what it is.
KAT: Do you have a favorite city?
NICK: My favorite? I don’t know… I always get a real kick – I think everyone gets a massive kick – out of Japan, especially when you’re a Westerner. When you’re a loud, irreverent, annoying Australian and you fucking go to Tokyo and all of sudden everyone is unbelievably polite, clean, beautiful, and well designed. I think everyone when they first go to Japan has their mind blown. But I love the more tropo-loony parts of the world like Mexico and Buenos Aires.
KAT: Because of y’all’s international tours and the influence it’s had on y’all’s music, how would you describe the evolution from when y’all started 10 years ago to now?
NICK: I suppose it’s gotten more considered, more concise, and more honest about us. I think we’re better able to convey what we feel and what we enjoy, like dig close into ourselves. I think when we’re younger we’re just watching other people do stuff and taking lead and doing stuff in sort of a ramshackle way because we don’t really have much to say, we just don’t know shit. Like when we were that young we were just sitting in Perth… in Australia. We’ve just gotten better at it. None of us have really listen to any form of psych-rock in the past 5 years, so yeah we’ve completely changed.
KAT: So that leads me to my final question… in POND’s music videos, I love how y’all’s personalities really show. Do you feel like y’all’s personalities and true, honest messages are showing in your music? Do you have anything else you try to express?
NICK: Well in the last album, I felt like I was really negative, like really cynical, about the world. This thing that’s really, really over-pedaled by everyone. Especially by people of my demographic, you know, sort of white left-wing people who think ‘oh the world’s so bad.’ I’d really like to get away from that and not just be one morbid yes-or-no voice of billions. I think a bit of joy and enjoyment of music and other humans and water and nature would be more of a thing I’d like to get across.