"I’ve never heard music played that loud in my life, and possibly never will," says the Tame Impala songwriter who worked on "Skeletons."
Tame Impala's Kevin Parker has recently found himself engulfed in a number of sessions with prominent rap and R&B artists. In a new interview with Billboard, he's shared some insight into the making of Travis' "Skeletons" from Astroworld, Kanye's "Violent Crimes," his unreleased collaboration with SZA, and Rihanna's cover of "New Person, Same Old Mistakes."
One interesting moment in the interview comes when Parker details the extreme volume of the music played at Travis' sessions. "[I]t’s the loudest shit I’ve ever heard," he says of the "many" sessions he did with Travis. "I’ve never heard music played that loud in my life, and possibly never will. I’m talking huge speakers. These studios have these speakers that are like, 12 inches each. And they were blowing out. Your eardrums rattle. Even the hi-hats kind of make your ears rumble a bit. That’s fuckin’ intense. After about a half-hour, I think your ears close up a bit so you can deal with it more."
To Parker, it was exactly how Astroworld was meant to be heard. "It was everything I’d hoped it would be," he said of Travis' studio setup. "Even listening to the album for the first time, hearing a lot of the songs I hadn't heard, I had immediate flashbacks. I could smell the blunts. [Laughs.] The air was thick with blunt smoke. It was such a potent vibe that I just had full-on flashbacks. Even listening to “Skeletons” now, it feels weird to listen to it at moderate volumes, because it was so eyeball-shakingly loud for all the times up until then."
Later, when asked about Rihanna's cover of Tame Impala's "Same Old Mistakes" on Anti, Parker said that Kendrick had told him SZA introduced Rihanna to the band. "I did a session with [Kendrick] once, and he was like, 'Oh, do you know how Rihanna got on to your stuff?' I was like, 'No.' He was like, 'Oh yeah, SZA played it to Rihanna late at night at my session.' She was like, 'You’ve gotta check out Tame Impala.' I guess that’s how she knew," Parker recalled. The Tame Impala songwriter went on to say that he had imagined a "female R&B voice" on the record as he was writing it, so he's happy with Rihanna's version, though he's still never met her. Also, he's not made about the royalties it generates: "I got 100 percent of the publishing, so I was like, 'Fuck yeah!'"
Read the full conversation on Billboard.