With the release of their fourth album Beard, Wives, Denim, POND’s popularity has gained serious momentum. While their previous releases seem to have a steady progression in commercial appeal. Beard, Wives, Denim is the crescendo, garnering much well-deserved attention. Last March the young Australian band embarked on a month long US tour to follow the release of their new record. This tour included a successful performance at SXSW.
POND share three of their six members with notable Aussie psych band, Tame Impala. Fans of either band will no doubt love the other, yet the bands remain separate in sound, energy, and approach. Similarities and differences accounted for, both bands are talented and are making names for themselves world-wide. Glide caught up with guitarist, Jay Watson, before POND opened for Oberhofer…
So your in POND but you’re also in Tame Impala. Other than a slight variation of psychedelic sounds, what is a major difference between the two bands?
I think there’s like a bigger difference than people think, even with the songs and the sounds. The singing is quite different. I think on the album, the new POND album, because kevin from Tame Impala mixed it, it sounds more similar because it’s his kind of mixing taste. But the actual song writing- I mean, definitely the newer stuff, the new album we’re writing at the moment is a lot different to Tame Impala.
The new album for POND?
Oh the new Tame album is way different too, like it’s gone like this (gestures to show a widening increment). The Tame album has gotten a lot more- a lot less like POND.
Ok, how much input do you get in POND?
I’m one of the main songwriters along with Nick and Joseph. And it’s pretty much split evenly, like I’ll write a song and Nick will sing it, or vice-versa, or we’ll both write a song and Joe will sing it. I don’t know, it’s far more collaborative.
Far more collaborative than Tame Impala?
Yeah, that’s mostly Kev. Yeah. I wrote a song for the new album, I don’t know if it’s gonna go on there or not. You know, but like pretty much it’s just Kev.
Yeah. So, what inspires you to write songs?
Um, just uh- the only thing that really inspires me to write songs is the sound, the emotion you get from when you hear something pretty much. Occasionally I’ll be feeling some sort of- like I either write songs basically when I’m happy and they are usually about nothing, you know just like about partying, and then songs when I’m sad about girls or whatever, or like hating myself, or being paranoid or whatever. So it’s like, yeah, it’s either usually one or the other. The songs when I’m happy aren’t really like “I’m so happy,” I just don’t really care for like stupid songs about nothing. And then the sadder ones are more like how I’m feeling.
They’re thought provoking?
Yeah, more thought provoking. I think it’s good. You need to have like thought provoking– “Thanks man!” (he is receiving a handful of pills for his cold. They come with instructions, “this one is- don’t swallow it- it’s like a lozenge, suck on it.”) That’s awesome! Thanks bro cheers! But um, yeah I think it’s important in rock and roll to have thought provoking ones and ones that aren’t thoughtful. Because I don’t really like bands were it’s all just really surface level, but I also don’t like bands when it’s all like standing on a mountain top like singin’ about your breakup. I think that like with POND, you’ll notice the more heartfelt ones if there has been a silly song about like the big bang beforehand and then you’ll notice the like party-rocking ones if you just had to listen to two really earnest ones.
You’re right, definitely.
So it’s like the contrast is like what makes each of those things good.
Yeah, isn’t that true in life.
Oh yeah. The heavy parallels of life.
So your latest album, Beard, Wives, Denim, how is it a departure from previous POND albums?
The song writing is better and the recording. It’s the best sounding album we’ve had. But we did it two years ago in 2010, so the new one is like where we are at now, it’s not out, but I wrote the songs that I wrote on that album when I was nineteen. Already I kind of regret doing some things I did when I was 19. And I probably will when I’m 23 and 25, ya know? I still really like the album, but ‘I would do things different now. It’s a pretty silly album, it would be a bit more mature. But sometimes maturity isn’t a good, you want that youthful sound.
That’s true. Do you have a favorite song off the album?
My favorite like songwriting song is Nick’s one, “You Broke My Cool.” My favorite like epiphany one, like life affirming one, is “Eye Pattern Blindness,” and my favorite one of mine is that one called “Mystery” because it’s like a love song.
So what is the major difference between American crowds and Australian crowds? Is there one?
I reckon there’s not much of a difference really. Yeah, I’ve tried to think, like at SXSW and in Texas the crowds were wild. So I thought American crowds might go wild for POND, but the last few gigs it’s just been… I mean people are pretty similar in America and Australia. Each kind of demographic is pretty similar. The only difference I’ve ever noticed, a massive difference in crowd-ness, is in Japan. It’s really weird, they’ll like go mental and then like five seconds on either side of the song, starting or ending, they’ll all just be quiet and really polite. So they’re like “Whooo!” and then the whole audience stops dead.
But it’s out of respect?
Yeah, totally! It’s really nice and polite, but at the same time you kinda wish they were like yelling and whooping and stuff. But while they were like kind of allowed to they went nuts. So it’s like really weird. That’s the only crowd I’ve noticed that’s like weird.
Ok, this is your second-to-last show, and it’s the last of your US tour for this year, is there a venue or a city that stands out as most memorable?
The first show we played was in Denton, in Texas. It was this tiny little festival, and we were so excited to be here we just rocked super hard, and Nick climbed up on a bar, and some girl flashed us while we were playing. I was really wasted and it was really fun. And it was just a tiny cafe in Denton. So that was my most favorite.
Yeah yeah, any gig where you get flashed is pretty notable. I haven’t seen that since.
You haven’t, what a bummer! Ok so you play drums and guitar, how many instruments can you play?
Keyboard was like my first and still my main. I think I might be playing more keyboard for Tame. I play a bit on the albums with POND and live and stuff. Mostly just guitar and keyboards. I’m not even that good at drums because I haven’t played in a while. I’ve kinda lost it a bit.
When did you start playing, like how old were you?
I started playing music probably when I learnt drums in year six, which would be like when I was about ten. But when I was like four or five I played the keyboard. Like a little kiddy one, and I used to make up songs.I still remember the first song I ever made up.
Do you? What was it?
It was like- it just went “Do-do-do-do Do-do-do.” Which is pretty similar to how POND sounds now. Like funk music. Yeah, I’ve been playing for a long time, most of my life. My whole adult life I’ve been playing like professionally.
Music being exempt, what are you most passionate about?
What am I most passionate about? I don’t really know… other than my girlfriend. Probably like trying to change my personality.
Trying to become like a better person, is my main kind of day-to-day obsession, instead of being an idiot all the time, or like being rude. I don’t know, I like eating food.
That’s a good one.
Yeah, I’m not like a connoisseur or anything, but I like eating food. Eh, I wanna get a suit when I get enough money. Like a blue suit with white clouds on it… a real tight one-sharp, perhaps a real real thin suit- blue with white clouds on it. So yeah, that’s it. I don’t know, I’m a music obsessive. That’s kind of my one and only. I feel like I’m gonna get sick of music one day or in the next ten years. I can’t paint or anything, but I think that would be a good thing to do.
Alright, last question: if you could sum up your life in one word, what would t be?
Uh, I don’t know. Can we just do boring slash exciting?
That’s my life, yeah.