To those who know the Australian psychedelic rock band Tame Impala, you are in for a sweet treat. In earlier Tame times, you could see him rocking out on the drums – but now, Jay “GUM” Watson stands stage left of one of his best friends, creating interstellar vibes from the synthesizer and backup vocals.
During his limited spare time, Watson plays everything from guitar, bass, drums, keys and synthesizer for the Australian psych-rock band Pond, which often shares its band members with Tame Impala. Along with that he has somehow found the time to record two solo records; “Delorean Highway” released in 2014 and now “Glamorous Damage,” released Nov. 13, 2015.
I recently had a chance to talk to Watson about his newly-released second solo album “Glamorous Damage.” Watson just toured with Mac DeMarco, his first show with backing tracks. On tour, his friend Jenny joined him and played guitar. To a listener’s ear, Watson combines traditional guitar riffs with ‘80s synths and electronic sounds to create an entirely unique sound he nicknamed, “Glam Dam.”
Q. “Glamorous Damage” is very funky, atmospheric and super synth-y. Take me through the recording process. Did you do anything different for your second album compared to “Delorean Highway?”
A. I wanted to make this album a bit more of a concept and also give it a deliberate aesthetic that you could trace through the whole thing; the artwork, the photos and everything. I recorded half of it in London with my friend Jerome Watson and half of it wherever I was living at the time, Melbourne, Perth and London.
Q. What inspired you to make “Glamorous Damage?” Is there anything that listeners should know about such as fun facts, etc.?
A. I was inspired by loads of things while I was making “Glam Dam”. Brian Eno, Prince, Kurt Vonnegut, Suicide (the band), Chrome, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, The Beach Boys, Todd Rundgren, Quentin Tarantino … the list goes on.
Q. What was your favorite part of recording “Glamorous Damage”?
A. Feeling like I’d done something objectively good (even though this isn’t possible), like the bridge of “Elafonissi Blue,” or the outro of “Ancients.”
Q. A huge congratulations to Tame Impala on the GRAMMY nomination. “Currents” was nominated for “Best Alternative Album.” You guys were nominated previously for “Lonerism” in the same category. What are you most looking forward to at the 2016 GRAMMY Awards?
A. The GRAMMY Awards don’t mean very much to me, but I’m happy for our management and label and my good mate Kevin [Parker]. I guess I’m looking forward to seeing [Justin] Bieber and Drake and Kanye [West] and those guys in the flesh.
Up next for Watson will be more touring with Tame Impala in Europe and then in South America. Also in the works is a new album with Pond.