When CONVICTS caught up with Jay Watson, the one-man band-man slash psychedelic foot soldier was battling a bit of a hangover. Jay decided to sweat out his sins before the Tame Impala show by playing a game of solo cricket in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.
In between scoring runs on himself, Jay spoke with CONVICTS about his trio of musical projects: Tame Impala, Pond, and GUM. Along the way Jay, explained the niches each of his projects fill, the challenges of performing solo, and why it’s damn near impossible to avoid a hangover when visiting New York.
Hey mate. How’s New York been treating you so far?
Oh man, it’s been really nice. We’ve just been having too much fun. I’m struggling a bit today.
Sounds about right. What have you been up to?
Last night we played Tame Impala here, the night before I played the GUM stuff over in Manhattan. We have so many friends here who we haven’t seen in a year, so it’s really hard not to party with them.
Tell us a bit about your solo project; how would you describe GUM’s sound?
I’m trying to make each GUM album quite different. So the first one was kind of this shoe-gazey, guitarey sixties sounding thing and the second one was a turbo Beverly Hills Cop outerspace music-you know what I mean? That’s a description. The next one’s gonna be different again. I’m doing that now and trying to make a like, weird old soul soundtrack.
Right on. Can you explain differences between doing your own thing in GUM, collaborating in Pond, and playing in Tame Impala? Is it more rewarding to play your own jams?
Nah, it’s just a different frame of mind. With GUM, I get really nervous ‘cause they’re my songs and no one’s up there with me. Whereas with Tame I know they’re good songs. I’m not sitting there listening to Kev’s lyrics wondering if they’re good lyrics or not. But in my stuff every line I wonder: Was that shit? I don’t think it was shit. Is it a bit cheesy? Nah, it’s alright.
Is music always on your mind?
Yeah. Except for days like today when I’m really hungover, I pretty much think about my stuff all day. On Tame tour I’m obviously thinking more about the Tame show but yeah, this is my only hobby.
Do you keep writing music on tour?
I do a lot on tour. I used to just write songs on guitar or keyboard at home, but for the new Pond record I’m working on now, I’ve been sampling stuff. That’s fun and easy to do on a plane or on a laptop on tour.
What is it you’re searching for in music? Is feeding of a crowd’s energy or listening to a song you wrote or just stacking dollars in your bank account?
Kind of all that stuff. But for me it’s that feeling of doing something and instantly knowing in your brain whether it’s crap or not. If you’ve convinced yourself it’s objectively good- even though that’s not possible-then you can enjoy it. Once I’m done with an album, I just make notes in my phone writing down titles, what the cover art’s going to look like. I love finishing records.
Sounds good. Thanks again, Jay, and best of luck with the rest of the tour.