You wouldn’t be able to tell that POND considers their band a tongue-in-cheek affair if you just listened to their music. Throughout their six-year run they have made some of the hardest hitting psych-rock to come out of Australia. Touching on influences as far reaching as AC/DC and Outkast (with some Bowie sprinkled in for good measure), POND is a microcosm of all the members’ interests and tastes. Outside of the sonic sphere though, their most telling communal interest must be Spinal Tap (the 1:26 mark on “Whatever Happened To The Million Head Collide” is the very definition of ‘Turning up to 11.’)
“We had that idea that we wanted to be like the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll cliche band.” Frontman Nick Allbrook told a Tame Impala Fanzine in 2012. Since then they have done a perfect job of keeping up the cliche and rolling with the joke. Just a look at the band’s wikipedia page is a hell of day brightener (particularly the ‘Members’ section.) While we couldn’t get in touch with founder Jay “Wesley Goldtouch/Wirey B. Buddah” Watson or former member Kevin “KayKay Sorbet” Parker, we were lucky enough to catch frontman and founding member Nick “Paisley Adams” Allbrook for a quick chat over the phone before he boarded a plane to Mexico. We discussed the importance of jokes, the subtleties of scotch and the daunting size of space.
Feature by Ziv Biton
GG: In a 2012 interview you mentioned that POND was supposed to be a cliché band. You had planned out the entire trajectory. Frond was supposed to be your breakthrough. Beard, Wives, Denim was supposed to be this “going back to your roots” album. Where did Hobo Rocket fall into that? Where does Man, It Feels Like Space Again fall into that trajectory?
Nick Allbrook: I think after the cliché perfection of Hobo Rocket we were just getting stupid and cynical. Saying, ‘this is just the time where we are old and fat and boring.’ Which is why we always planned on making a record called Excalibur. It’s going to have a great CGI Eagle holding a sword on the front and its going to be our washed up old shit album. But then we realized that Jeff Beck did exactly the same thing, also called Excalibur and I can only assume it is also washed up and fat and boring.
GG: Jeff Beck made an album called Excalibur?!
NA: Yea! And it was exactly what we were planning to do as a joke!
GG: You’ve mentioned that POND was always supposed to be sort of a joke. But considering how much success you’ve had has the joke come full circle?
NA: It’s all a joke, yea of course! But I think we have realized that there isn’t much distinction between jokes and any other sort of pursuit. Like reality or importance. The whole thing is a joke, the whole pursuit of anything is a joke. It can be a very pleasant and inspiring joke as long you don’t try to include a necessary punchline.
GG: The pursuit of anything is a joke. Like at all?
NA: Yea, and this is exactly what I mean. You say that as a quote, “the pursuit of anything is a joke” than that carries an inherently negative thing. Because people see jokes as somehow less worthy and that is complete bullshit. Jokes are as important, if not more important, as anything else. Saying the pursuit of anything is a joke is not at all negative. But, I have probably taken this analogy too far [laughs].
GG: Can you tell us a little bit about the album title Man, It Feels Like Space Again?
NA: It started when Joe was just running around like a psycho one time after consuming some… consumables that send you momentarily looney. He came back, after a couple of hours, and he looked around and said, “Man, it feels like space again.” And we thought it was really funny because we were like, ‘when was the last time you went to space, buddy?’
GG: But, it seems like you recently went to space. Your last video for “Midnight Mass” is amazing. When you wave before boarding the ship, that was incredible! Could you tell us a little bit about making that video?
NA: We went to the this airfield, like an aviation museum and they just had like a couple of ships and we picked the one that looked the most retro-scifi. They gave us permission to go in it and we just took it from there.
GG: Do you guys have a fascination with outer space?
NA: Well, I am not as dedicated as other people. I don’t think I am so, like, knowledgeable about space and shit.
I think it is actually a little overwhelming. Like the sense of space and isolation you get from standing in rural Australia is fucking dwarfing. Just looking into the sky out there and realizing that you are HERE. And then thinking about the fucking enormity of planets!
Then people throw figures at you. Like, “the matter that we consider reality is only 3 percent of the matter in the universe,” and stuff like that. Like, fuck off! I can’t even put that into any frame that makes sense.
So yea, space would be inspiring but it is too fucking big.
GG: Did you ever go on that whiskey tour through Scotland?
NA: Yea I did!
GG: How was that?
NA: It was fantastic. I went by myself actually. Rode a bike up the Spey River for like 10 or 12 days. Just did really lovely things. Just me and a couple of cows on the top of a mountain. Running your hands through icy cold streams. Seeing deers. Talking to the Olde mates about whiskey. Staying in Bed and Breakfasts in tiny towns. Getting black pudding in the morning from the same guy who was serving beers the night before.
GG: That sounds awesome, man. Did you find any scotch that became your favorite after the trip?
NA: I was really swept away by Cragganmore. The stuff that they do is great. Mainly because [the distillery] had such a homely vibe. It was so much less sterilized than some of the breweries I went to, like Macallen. [Cragganmore’s] still seemed like a family run thing. And, of course, their whiskey is so perfect. Especially the much older ones. Those really start getting refined and sophisticated.
GG: So, whiskey is more your drink of choice? Not so much into beer?
NA: Oh, I love a beer. Especially in America. Like, when it’s so hot, like here in Los Angeles, and someone hands you a cold Pacifico. I like that. I can also definitely be guilty of enjoying those super-moose-double-digit IPA things. It is really fun being here and not knowing anything on the menu and just asking like, ‘give me something ridiculous.’
GG: Are you guys playing in LA?
NA: Yea, we are actually playing a Halloween show.
GG: [too excitedly] No way! That will be awesome! Are you guys gonna dress up on stage?
NA: Yea, maybe. Everyone seems to get really into it over here.
GG: Costume idea?
NA: I think I am going to dress up as a Jar of Vegemite.
POND play the Echo on Halloween! Get tickets here.
Man It Feels Like Space Again – Album Track listing:
1. Waiting Around For Grace
2. Elvis’ Flaming Star
3. Holding Out For You
5. Heroic Shart
6. Sitting Up On Our Crane
7. Outside Is The Right Side
8. Medicine Hat
9. Man It Feels Like Space Again
POND TOUR DATES:
Oct 20 – Petit Campus – Montreal, QC
Oct 21 – Lee’s Palace – Toronto, ON
Oct 23 – Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL
Oct 24 – High Noon Saloon – Madison, WI
Oct 25 – Turf Club – St. Paul, MN
Oct 29 – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR
Oct 30 – The Independent – San Francisco, CA
Oct 31 – The Echo – Los Angeles, CA