Interview :: Nicholas Allbrook on going solo & picking favourites
September 18th 2014
How does one describe Nick Allbrook?
Of course we can look at the facts: Nicholas Allbrook, born November 1987 in Fremantle, Perth (thank you Wikipedia). Musician, singer, songwriter, vocals, bass, drums, guitar, synth/keyboard, Pond, Tame Impala, Mink Mussel Creek, Allbrook/Avery, Peter Bibby’s band, etc. etc. – but that doesn’t even begin to quench our curiosities.
We’ve heard the whispers concerning him since he first hatched on the music scene. He’s been labelled as a “genius”, “crazy”, and an “addict” – which flared up massively with his exit from Tame Impala – where he said “get my head straight” many people read “get off drugs”. But after a short fifteen minutes of speaking with him (not to be confused with the long week beforehand of me being extremely nervous about speaking with him), I was proven right in my assumption that he does in fact have it together.
Okay, well not together together, not Kim Kardashian together… but once you get past his “crazy artiste” looks and onstage presence, there’s just a man. A widely talented, heart-stealing (mine), loves-what-he’s-doing man. And fresh off the release of his debut solo album Ganough, Wallis and Fatuna, I was privileged enough to chat to Nick about that record, the way he goes about creating, and who he would collaborate with, given the chance.
GK: Just to start off with some questions about your debut album Ganough, Wallis and Fatuna, can you sum it up in a sentence for us?
NA: Well, my friend Joe [Ryan] said it sounded like Justin Timberlake if he was a crack addicted retard, and I quite like the sound of that. [Laughs]
What’s your favourite track off the album?
Uh, there’s a song called ‘Did I Just Arrive Here?’ that goes for around a minute, and that’s good. Nice and short. And Evelyn Morris, the Pikelet lady plays really great drums on it. It’s a pleasure to listen to.
Your latest single, ‘100k’s Round Carmel’ has a more amorphous, sort of jumpy feel to it, can you take us through the creative process?
I recorded most of it in this big old former-boarding-house-cum-share-house I lived in, in my room. I would think I would have been wearing a giant sheepskin coat that I had taken to wearing after we got our first winter electricity bill -that I had kind of been a part of blowing up in the time before that. I don’t know, I recorded a bunch of shit for it, just too much, and then just gradually took everything away. Which was a revelation. [Laughs]
And I have to ask. The video clip for ‘100k’s Round Carmel’… why. Just why, Nick?
Why the video clip? Well, it was pretty fun to create. [Laughs]
How did you even go about making it?
I just kind of got this digital Harinezumi toy camera off the Internet, and filmed a bunch of stuff after going and buying a shit tonne of fake flowers from the shopping centre. And then my friend Alejandro [Crawford] – he does visuals for MGMT and stuff – he just took all the boring shit I filmed, so I asked him to make it better. We had a bunch of ideas and he just made it completely mind buggering.
I’ve noticed your music is sort of multi-layered and builds on itself, where do you get the idea to put all of these different layers and textures together?
Most of my inspiration comes from minimalism and repetition. But I’m just too uh – I get carried away! [Laughs] I get another idea, or something sounds shit so I try something else, and I don’t want to get rid of the old shit and uh. I don’t know it’s just what you do! I suppose I’m just insecure about what I’m making so I never really stop trying to make it better.
Which do you like more, performing or recording?
I love performing with certain bands, and in certain settings I guess. I love playing drums with Pete Bibby’s band. But sometimes, doing your own thing can be a lot of pressure y’know, and I get nervous sometimes which sucks. But it’s all different. Sometimes in recording you make yourself nervous and you get frustrated, sometimes it’s just a flight of fun, it’s being creative and active. [Laughs]
Sort of leading into this next question: out of all the POND, Tame Impala, Mink Muscle Creek, Allbrook/Avery, Peter Bibby – all those offshoots, what are your favourites to have worked on and contribute to?
Um.. oh god. Well, POND is just, well, y’know – I feel towards POND like I would towards my septuagenarian wife. [Laughs] But like, if I’m old as well! Not just saying I’m married to some old old wench. Like we’re an old married couple, so I love it. Less in a kind of “lets get in the sack and smash each others brains out” way, though… [Laughs]
Making my own stuff has been real fun, it’s always been something I do all the time. The last album came together real sort of surprisingly. That was lovely.
But Mink Mussel Creek is so fun to y’know, to just go buck-titty wild, I love playing with other people. Like Kevin’s [Parker] songs, and Pete’s [Bibby] songs. It’s so good not being spot-lit sometimes.
If you could collaborate with any other person – dead or alive – who would it be?
That’s so hard, ‘cause the people I really really admire – I’d just be too nervous, I’d just want to listen to what they do. [Laughs] I love that electronic thing, it’s probably not a band, it’s probably just some dude in his room, um, it’s called The Field and I’d love to contribute to that, or at least hear them skew something. That stuff’s so great. But I don’t know, that’s a hard question. I always used to say Andre 3000 but I’d just be way way too in awe, I’m just a fan boy! [Laughs]
Nick’s debut solo album Ganough, Wallis and Fatuna is out now through Spinning Top Records.
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