On a rainy day at Boston Calling Music Festival, Pond performed a few hours ahead of Eminem on the same stage. Their high-energy never faltered and their eclectic style urged the audience to dance, jump and move throughout the full set. “There were a lot of Eminem fans waiting for him to come at the front,” Jay Watson of the Australian band Pond tells me. Watson adds that when you play ahead of the headliner of a festival, you’re bound to see those fans, but he likes the idea of converting people to being fans of his own.
Pond formed in 2008 in Perth, Australia, as a collaborative effort between friends who coincidentally had already formed a band called Tame Impala. The group has evolved over the years, depending on what friends were able to get together and make music. Currently, the lineup stands with Nick Allbrook, Jay Watson, Shiny Joe Ryan and Jamie Terry.
“It’s an entirely different band but made up of people who are all friends,” Watson explains of the crossover between Pond and Tame Impala. “We’ve spent a lot less time thinking about the relationship than other people. We don’t resent any similarities, if anything we’re grateful for people to be able to hear all of our projects.”
With Pond’s seventh studio album Weather released in 2017, Watson tells me that the band is prepared to put out new music by the end of 2018. “I think it’s an extension of the last album. Maybe a bit more modern sounding,” he says of the new music. “Each [album] we do sounds less derivative and retro than the last one. It’s pop music and it’s not experimental music but it’s weird pop music.”
Pond’s psychedelic sonic quality might seem similar to Tame Impala, but on their upcoming album, Watson says they were wildly impressed and inevitably a bit influenced by a performance by The Weeknd they caught in Perth, Australia. He adds that though they were inspired by the production of the show, Pond will not be migrating to the R&B genre.
The idea that Pond is a collaborative musical group allows the band to experiment more with sounds and lyrical content. Watson admits that since they haven’t quite risen to the same notoriety as Tame Impala the band as a whole is able to stay pretty grounded on a daily basis. With the addition of Watson’s solo work released under the moniker GUM, he’s able to tap into a range of artistry. “It’s good to play shows and release records and it stops you from getting too cynical or bigheaded,” he says of performing in three different musical entities.
With Pond gearing up for their eighth album release, Watson puts some thought into how he would describe the band to a new listener. After a few moments he says, “I guess I would say it’s essentially pop music played by weird people with weird ideas, trying to make nice, normal music.”