Whooping, quivering, curling, crunching: Pond’s unique brand of attack on the eardrums does it all, while still leaving meditative room for the four-piece to ask plenty of questions of their own. We spoke to frontman Nick Allbrook about the Perth group’s latest full-length, Tasmania.
Tasmania really has become this ‘last bastion’ kind of place. Do you have a favourite spot in Tasmania, in which you are going to Doomsday Prep your future existence?
I don’t. But I think a lot of people have thought about it, which is pretty f–ed. It’s scary that this is a real thing that people think about. I don’t know the place really well. I’ve been there quite a bunch, but I haven’t gone very far out. I’ve been down to the southernmost tip, Cockle Creek. I think that image of being pushed by noise and heat and overcrowding, being pushed to the very very last rock, is kind of powerful for me.
So part of its attraction is that you don’t know it very well – it’s a bit of a mystery?
Yeah. Exactly. But in the same way, it is likeable, it is a really pedestrian, Australian place where people swear at the telly and get pissed in the early afternoon and, you know, pull the pokie machine and read the papers and all that sh-t. But for some reason it’s gained this utopian status for a lot of Australians. Actually, I’ve been away for a while, and I got back and three separate friends have bought property in Tasmania. I feel incredibly proud of myself. Smug and validated.
Hand Mouth Dancer is a very fascinating song; there’s static in the middle and then a synth-rippling, flute-trilling fantasy land. Its outro is very beautiful and rich. How much of that section was pre-planned?
I just had a demo for it, that kind of isolated along for a little while. I think Jay [Watson] had the idea of extending that particular chord and bassline. I suppose, once he’d done a good drumming take for the song, in the outro he tried more and more ridiculous sh-t, just to see if it would work. He’s like, “Well, I’ve done the song now, I may as well just throw in some really f–ing over-the-top, ambitious stuff.” And, as usual, that stuff was a bit more fearless. It’s actually really, really cool. I think Kev [Parker, producer, of Tame Impala] just turned the crunch up in one of his Kevin moments of thinking for some reason, ‘I think this will be cool.’ And it is.
The album is the ‘perfect length’ of ten songs. Did you try very hard to keep it to that length?
It actually was longer, and then in the lead up two songs got left off, for better or for worse. But I’m pretty sure the whole ’ ten track album’ kind of sticks in my brain. I can’t dislodge it. I suppose, in my formative early-20s, I was probably really appreciating albums like [David Bowie’s] Station to Station, which I think has nine or ten tracks on it or something.
Those two that didn’t make it, do they get completely shelved (as in, on the shelf, not the other meaning)? Or do you keep them in your mind to come later on?
They can come back in, yeah. But, often they just get shelved and disintegrate in the lower intestine.
Sixteen Days contains the lyric: “Now I know how the f-ck it feels, sh-t I’ve got to call my Dad.” Did you call him?
I don’t think I did. I remember being in a very sad, desperate place, and I don’t think I did call my dad ‘cause I don’t want to sound like a sook sometimes. Yeah, like, life’s good. I’m a very privileged boy and I shouldn’t really complain about anything. And, we’re all going to be crowded in Tasmania.