Pond’s performance at next year’s Laneway Festival will mark their first appearance since playing in support of the Arctic Monkeys back in 2014 - and with new album ‘The Weather’ under their belt, the band are in their prime.
We spoke with the band’s frontman Nick Allbrook about returning to New Zealand, their new album, and more…
...it’s like you’ve won round #20,000 of the creative Battle Royale, you’ve gone against all your instincts telling you that you’re total shit, and eventually it actually sounds good.
COUP DE MAIN: Pond are coming back to New Zealand to play Laneway Festival, and it’s your second ever appearance in NZ following you guys supporting the Arctic Monkeys in 2014? - are you excited to come back?
POND - NICK ALLBROOK: Yeah, definitely. I love New Zealand so much.
CDM: Do you have any anecdotes/memories from that tour with AM?
NICK: The Arctic Monkeys one, I do… It’s not very interesting, tour can be pretty boring. I mean, it was shitloads of fun, don’t get me wrong, but as a recounting it’s sort of, ‘Oh, Jay looked up the best bar on Yelp and we went there,’ then the next day we went to a giant big stadium and did the Spinal Tap sort of thing. It was very Spinal Tap-y doing the Arctic Monkeys show.
CDM: Are there any other acts on the Laneway line-up that you’re particularly excited to see on the tour?
NICK: This is embarrassing, but I haven’t even looked at it.
CDM: You have until the end of January to learn…
NICK: I should probably just do it now. <laughs> What a dick.
CDM: I know Wolf Alice are big fans of you guys, and they’re really good live.
NICK: I think I’ve actually met those guys. They played at Splendour In The Grass with us I think.
CDM: I think ‘Edge Of The World Pt. 2’ is my favourite song on ‘The Weather’ - it’s so diverse, that instrumental part mid-way through which leads into the big drum instrumental bit is so sick. What, for you, is the most exciting part about making music as Pond?
NICK: Oh, thank you! Fuck, I don’t know. The whole creative process - listening back to something when it gets to a point where you’re genuinely proud of it, is a weirdly surreal euphoric feeling. It’s like you’ve won round #20,000 of the creative Battle Royale, you’ve gone against all your instincts telling you that you’re total shit, and eventually it actually sounds good. It’s like, ‘Oh, yay!’
CDM: Where did you find the audio/news sample that you used in ‘Colder Than Ice’?
NICK: Some clip of a Channel Seven news bulletin. One of the many, many, Channel Seven scare sort of things.
CDM: How did having Kirin J Callinan involved on that song come about?
NICK: We’re good friends, and he’s just incredibly inspiring to have around, and energetic. We wanted to get him, and he was in Perth while we were recording, so we asked him to come around.
CDM: In ‘Sweep Me Off My Feet’ you sing a lot about loneliness - what do you think is the strongest human emotion?
NICK: I don’t know. I feel like love is a very easy answer, but when emotions are very, very strong - whether it’s love or sadness or fear - I kind of feel like everything just comes out, and every emotion comes out all at once, and you feel this strange euphoric terrified vertigo. But I think it can all be pretty powerful, you know?
CDM: You guys have spoken a bit about how this album, and this new music “is a lot more considered” and “less selfish.” Do you think as musicians, and people with a platform/following, you have a responsibility to talk about important world/social issues/politics?
NICK: I don’t think so. I felt like there was some sort of a responsibility because maybe whether we like it or not, being representatives of cis white males which can be a very ignorant demographic, that we maybe had a responsibility just because of the audience which we have traditionally connected with. I don’t want to castigate anyone especially at all, I’m not judging anyone, but maybe that is requiring more open-mindedness.
CDM: You’re doing a show for the Fremantle Festival next month called ‘Songs Of Disgrace’ which is a two-act show - what has it been like putting that together?
NICK: Pretty hectic. It’s putting me in a new role as curator and director, which is pretty full on, taking a lot of organisation, and fear of being the stage manager - giving people cue cards to come on. <laughs> It’s been really fun, it’s very different.
CDM: It must be nice to put on different creative hats and mix it up a bit.
NICK: Yeah, it can be. It’s a bit scary, but hopefully it’ll come off all right.
CDM: I must ask, in honour of ‘All I Want For Xmas’, and the fact that it’s only 75 days until Christmas… What does Nick Allbrook want for Christmas?
NICK: <laughs> I want grills made out of eucalyptus leaves.
CDM: I know you’re a fan of pop music (especially Beyoncé and Rihanna), so what do you think is the best pop album of all time?
NICK: Oh man. That is really hard. Is it a cop-out just to say ‘Thriller’? It’s pretty unbeatable, but there’s just so many. I don’t know where the lines of pop are drawn, I guess you can draw it wherever you want. If it’s catchy - like catchy, anthemic songs - you could put Bob Marley in there. But I guess if it’s just straight genre then… Or some sort of ‘Best Of Kylie Minogue’. <laughs>
CDM: We spoke to Cam Avery when he was in NZ earlier this year about the two as-of-yet unreleased albums you guys did together - the one with you guys and Cam’s ex Ash, and also the one with The Horrors. He said you’re going to try and release them this year - is that still the plan?
NICK: Well, that’s been the plan every year since we made it. So I guess we may as well keep the tradition alive and say that’s the plan. <laughs>
CDM: I’ve talked to Jay previously about Pokémon so thought it would be apt to ask you this: If each member of Pond were to have their own Pokémon card, what would be their special attack or power?
NICK: I guess Joe would have some sort of confusing flurry - where he just rambles loudly and all his hair flails about and people just get dizzy and confused. I don’t know... I feel like Joe’s the only one that would have any special power. Gum [Jay Watson] would just have thrust and whip, and just make people feel shit. <laughs> Nah, I don’t know. That’s too hard. I’ll just take invisibility. Just for the hell of it.
Pond’s album ‘The Weather’ is out now - click here to purchase.
The band will also play Auckland’s Laneway Festival - click here for more information.
Watch the ‘Sweep Me Off My Feet’ music video below…