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From Led Zeppelin to Tame Impala: Kevin Parker names his 9 favourite drum sounds


“Some drums make you want to dance, some drums make you want to strut.” – Kevin Parker

Tame Impala’s creative force, Kevin Parker, has revealed the nine favourite drum sounds that have helped him forge his own material over the years, a sound which has matured and developed with every growing record.

“People think I’m joking when I say I spend 90% of my time on drums when I’m working on a song but it’s dead true,” the Tame Impala man said in his new feature with Pitchfork. “It’s like me chasing the dragon,” he added. “I love drums sounds that are fuzzed out and destroyed sounding but I also love the opposite of that.”

Previously speaking about his songwriting process, Parker once said: “Once I’ve got something that I feel is strong, if I get long enough to think about it, it’ll turn into something. I’ll start thinking about the drums – what the drums are doing, what the bass is doing. Then, if I can remember it by the time I get to a recording device, it’ll turn into a song,” it what is a clear sign of his preparation”.

He added: “Songwriting has become such a big part of what I do that emotions and the melodies that accompany them blur into one.”

Parker, who is now the sole driving force behind Tame Impala, has taken his role as a multi-instrumentalist to new heights, detailed how bands such as The Flaming Lips and Portishead had a direct impact on his own work, pointing out specific sections which made it onto his own records.

When speaking about Led Zeppelin and the pioneering drummer John Bonham, Parker said: “Obviously no discussion about drum sounds and drum playing would be complete without talking about John Bonham and the Led Zeppelin drum sound. I feel like most people got the wrong idea. There’s this idea that Led Zeppelin songs are super powerful and solid.”

“People say he hit like a bricklayer but I don’t think that’s actually true, I think there is a lot more a delicate way that he played,” he added, before detailing Bonham’s pioneering style further.

With the likes of Portishead, The Flaming Lips, Beck and more, see the full list and video below.

Kevin Parker’s favourite drum sounds:

  1. Silver Apples – ‘Program’
  2. Led Zeppelin – ‘Good Times, Bad Times’
  3. Stevie Wonder – ‘Living For The City’
  4. Serge Gainsbourg – ‘L’Hotel Particulier’
  5. Portishead – ‘Mysterons’
  6. The Flaming Lips – ‘Race For The Prize’
  7. Beck – ‘Chemtrails’
  8. Queens of the Stone Age – ‘Go With The Flow’
  9. Tame Impala – ‘New Person, Same Old Mistakes’

See the video, below.