I’m making my way through the backstage catacombs of Manhattan’s Beacon Theatre, a stately concert hall that often hosts classic rockers like the Allman Brothers when they want to charge more than $100 for nosebleed seats. While climbing up endless Escher-style stairs, I get lost and find myself staring blankly at a bunch of the venue’s grizzled employees cradling out-of-date computers. I tell them I’m here to interview Tame Impala; they have never heard of the psychedelic rock band, but one stout lifer offers an anecdote about that time he had to fetch Eric Clapton an emergency sandwich.
Eventually, I find frontman Kevin Parker, swaddled up and nursing a hangover in a space that looks like a tastefully carpeted broom closet. Though he’s surrounded by the ghosts of rock’n’roll legend, he seems somewhat weightless and without expectation; he’s most concerned about getting the night’s lights right. It’s late last year, and he talks about the solitary mindset that he’s trying to inhabit while creating Tame Impala’s third album, Currents. The meeting is brief and somewhat shapeless, though one thing seems clear: The guy is very much in his own head. After a while, he picks up a call from his girlfriend, and I leave.