Tame Impala reveals his favourite synth and weighs in on the analogue vs digital debate: "I love analogue synths, but I'll never argue they sound better than a digital clone"

tame impala
(Image credit: Getty)

Australian artist Kevin Parker, better known as Tame Impala, has opened up about his approach to music-making in a new interview with Synth History.

Speaking about his background with synthesizers, the Grammy nominee recalled that he began his career with an "anti-synthesizers mentality". "It took me a while to embrace them", he continues. "I liked to think that whatever sound you could get with synthesizers, you could get using a guitar. I kind of got off on making sounds that you couldn't tell were a guitar, that sounded like a synth".

Parker recounts discovering the Sequential Circuits Pro One in a friend's studio, a synth that later became one of his most treasured instruments. "I must have leaned on it or something and I hit a key (laughs). It’s a monophonic synth and was set to portamento, I'd just hit a few keys and it had this gliding sawtooth sound. I just thought it sounded incredible, you know?," Parker tells Synth History.

"The Pro One to this day is still one of my favorite synths. I guess just because of that reason, because of that time. It had this sound that I just fell in love with. It sounded like crying in outer space. I went straight to eBay and bought one."


Elsewhere in the interview, Parker is asked whether he prefers analogue or digital synthesizers. "Whatever is closest to me is what I end up using," he responds. "I love analog synths, it’s a whole experience, but I'll never argue that they sound better than a digital clone. It's all about the process. The process of using an old synth just sort of makes you feel a certain way and that leads you to different things for better or for worse. Digital synths have their place, too. I use VSTs."

Parker goes on to sing the praises of his Korg Kronos, a music workstation keyboard released in 2011. "I fucking love my Korg Kronos. I think it's one of the greatest keyboards ever made," Parker says. "The Kronos is amazing because it has every sound you can think of. You want flutes? There you go. What sort of flute do you want?"

Several photographs of Parker's studio are included in the interview, which show a number of synths, including the aforementioned Sequential Pro One, Oberheim Matrix-6, Roland Juno-106, Elektron Analog Four MKII, Novation Bass Station and Korg MS-20, among others. Also shown are Parker's Roland TR-808 and Vermona DRM1 drum machines, and a ton of outboard gear, including a Teletronix LA-2A rackmount compressor. 

Earlier this week, Tame Impala shared the Thundercat collaboration No More Lies. Watch the video below. 

Read the full interview with Tame Impala at Synth History.

Matt Mullen
Tech Editor

I'm the Tech Editor for MusicRadar, working across everything from artist interviews to product news to tech tutorials. I love electronic music and I'm endlessly fascinated by the tools we use to make it. When I'm not behind my laptop keyboard, you'll find me behind a MIDI keyboard, carefully crafting the beginnings of another project that I'll ultimately abandon to the creative graveyard that is my overstuffed hard drive.

Get over 70 FREE plugin instruments and effects… image
Get over 70 FREE plugin instruments and effects…
…with the latest issue of Computer Music magazine