Published Jan 22, 2015If Aussie rockers Pond had their way, the world would have heard the band's upcoming album, Man It Feels Like Space Again, back in 2013.
"Hobo Rocket came out of nowhere," guitarist Joseph Ryan tells Exclaim! of the 2013 record that put the band on many fans' radars.
But Man It Feels Like Space Again and Hobo Rocket were acutally conceived of concurrently, and as Ryan explains, "It looked like we were only going to have four days to record, and we definitely felt like we needed more time to do Space Again properly."
The group, which also includes drummer Jay Watson, singer-guitarist Nick Allbrook and keyboardist/bass player Jamie Terry, finally found time last September, spending two weeks in a studio "behind a bar in Melbourne" recording to one-inch analog tape.
An unintended consequence of cleaving the records apart was that most of Allbrook's songs ended up on Hobo Rocket, leaving the bulk of Ryan and Watson's tracks for this new record.
"I'm the ballad captain and he's the party chief," says Ryan of his and Watson's writing styles. "I think of chords and then a melody and all the rest, whereas Jay is the riff king."
The extra time in the studio — something the group have never had due in part to their affiliation with fellow Perth group Tame Impala (Watson plays drums in that band and Allbrook was their bassist until 2013, while Ryan handles their onstage visuals) — allowed them to create a more nuanced recording. "It becomes a lot less cluttered, and we have a bit more space on the recording, which is easy to lose."
Hobo Rocket was heavily influenced by Black Sabbath's massive riffing, but Watson and Allbrook's interest in Brian Eno gives Space Again a more glam rock feel. "Anything after Hobo Rocket will sound like triple ply toilet paper," he jokes. "It was really abrasive."
The division of songwriting labour also created a more diverse listening experience. "It's not just one genre or mood."
The relationship with Tame Impala — they also share a sound guy and tour managers — has hindered the group's ability to tour on a regular basis, but a set of festival dates in South America last year offered a template for future tours. "They'd be on super late and Pond would be on super early. So you have to get a few tequilas down to loosen up a bit for Pond and then have a few more to get into the mindset of techy Tame Impala."
Even if things don't always go their way, Ryan says Pond are content to continue on their current course. "It doesn't feel broken, so why fix it?" Man It Feels Like Space Again arrives January 27 via Universal.
UPDATE: You can watch the new video for "Man It Feels Like Space Again" below.