Day Tripper

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Nicholas Allbrook of Pond (second from the right) chats with Cream about pot smoking, psyche rock and K-pop. Photography by Matt Sav.

I’ve poured myself a coffee before the call comes through from Nick Allbrook of Pond fame (and previously of Tame Impala). The mug I’ve poured it into is one of my faves – stamped with the faces of The Beatles from their Revolver album cover. I notice milk and coffee suddenly leaking from a hairline crack in the mug, just as I start speaking with Nick on the phone.

Now my phone is crackling, and Nick and I are hearing echo effects coming through both our receivers. I look at my mug, now spurting a second leak, George Harrison’s face looking like its marked with a henna tattoo. And I’m glaring at my distorting phone, now wanting to smash it. The whole scene seems like something out of a warped Pond video.

“One second, Nick,” I say, frantically wiping the swirling milk and coffee so that it doesn’t get into my laptop while precariously trying to balance two other pieces of technology currently failing me. “I’ll try linking my phone to an external speaker; see if that’s clearer.”

“Sure thing,” he says, “because, Jesus, there’s some freaky noises coming from this thing.”

I appreciate his patience. In seconds, all is fixed: speaker on, George’s mug wiped, technology working again. And so, to the great subject of music we turn…

 

I love the connotations of the psychedelic and the dreamy on a lot of Pond records. Where does your taste for psychedelia come from?

To be honest, I’m not too concerned about creating a psychedelic genre; it’s sort of just what happens when we make our music.

 

Are you okay when a radio announcer says, “Here’s some psyche-rock from Pond”; okay with others classifying it as such?

Of course. People can classify it as whatever they want. It’s helpful for people to have genres and definitions otherwise it’s going to be really fucking boring and arduous every time you introduce someone.

 

What sort of music did you listen to growing up?

In high school, I totally got into the old-guard of psychedelic classic rock-type shit. That was a huge part of my teenager-hood.

 

Pink Floyd? Cream? Tangerine Dream?

Yep, all of those.

 

Did you wonder how in the hell those bands created the experimental music they did when they were so limited with technology?

I suppose. I guess they just had limitations, and were better musicians for it; better at shredding [playing guitar intricately], jamming out, being Eric Clapton, or whatever.

 

Do you ever wake from a dream and suddenly want to write a song?

That has happened before, but usually our songs stem from loose and weird concepts anyway.

 

Where does your desire stem from to keep pushing the boundaries of sound?

I guess it just comes from imagination, and then support from friends who like a similar sound, as well as other players in the band. We wanna be as new and different as possible. We don’t wanna be more psyche rock than the next psyche rock band. If anything, we wanna challenge those bands to get them more into pop music, or, if we become really ‘pop’ or successful, it’d be great to start challenging those people to get into industrial house or something else.

 

So, sharing the love for different genres is your main aim?

Yeah, I would love it if more people were less judgemental about scenes that don’t align with their own. Nothing gives me the shits more than people who consider themselves music aficionados, looking down on 14-year-old girls and 14-year-old-girl music, and then seeing that as an instant qualifier for it being shit music. That’s just incredibly close-minded and cruel to just say ‘anything you girls are listening to is wrong and bad’.

 

Give me an example of music so-called aficionados might be snobby towards?

Well, Beyoncé, of course. Or Travis Scott. Migos. A lot of Korean pop.

 

I’m guessing you get some of your video inspiration from K-pop?

Oh, fuck yeah, man. They’re incredible. I love that scene!

 

I want to know, do you ever dabble in certain substances for inspiration in songwriting and music-making?

Not really. It’s all pretty incidental. Like, it’s not really a direct inspiration. I think that would be a pretty pathetic inspiration for creativity if it was just from smoking a joint.

 

But your thinking is generally a little different when you’re stoned.

True. It’s definitely a nice thing to do, but it’s not an essential part. Like, I don’t remember, ‘Oooh, this was a song I wrote when I was a bit stoned’.

 

Even though you may have created it while you were stoned?

Definitely. [Laughs].

 

Pond Press Shot cream magazine

 

Have you ever laid down a recording while on the hooch, or sober, played it back later and thought, ‘What on earth was I thinking’?

Totally. But weed is an everyday thing for me. Usually if I’m looking back and thinking ‘Fuck, what the hell happened there?’ it was due to something more intense, like alcohol or, uh, whatever. For me, weed is like having a coffee. It’s just a lovely, healing and nice kinda thing to have. But I could look back on something I’ve done drunk and just be horrified with myself.

 

Yet that’s the darned legal drug.

Yes. Very, very strange, indeed.

 

Would you like to see pot legalised?

I guess so. That seems to make a lot more sense.

 

You’ve worked with other projects and bands, such as Rabbit Island and Tame Impala. Do you find fans get confused with where you’re at sometimes?

I think some sort of anonymity is good for everyone.

 

What about when you get the accolades from international media; do you wish you could have less anonymity then?

It doesn’t affect me too much. I try not to read a whole lot of [media]. Sure, it’s a bit strange when you get misrepresented, but I just figure that’s their job.

 

You just love making music at the end of the day, whatever project you’re working on?

That’s right.

 

Pond tour Australia in September with special guests Body Type and Reef Prince.

Dates, venues and ticket links below:

Sep 15 The Gov Adelaide, Australia Tickets
Sep 16 Fremantle Prison Fremantle, Australia Tickets
Sep 20 Corner Hotel Richmond, Australia Tickets
Sep 21 Corner Hotel Richmond, Australia Sold Out
Sep 22 Corner Hotel Richmond, Australia Sold Out
Sep 23 Enmore Theatre Newtown, Australia Tickets
Sep 24 The Triffid Brisbane, Australia Tickets