In a recent interview with Billboard, Kevin Parker candidly discussed why he decided to shift away from fronting psych-rock band Tame Impala and move towards hip-hop.

The slate of artists the 32-year-old producer and singer/songwriter is currently working with reads like a veritable guide to the industry's biggest names — some of the tracks he's collaborated on, however, like the one he did with SZA, may never make it to the surface.

Talking about everything from teaming up with Kanye West and Travis Scott, to what it's like having Rihanna as a fan, here are the biggest takeaways from Parkers conversation.

On working with Kanye West

I was completely starstruck, obviously. I was numb with excitement. He was in the element. He was super chilled-out. I guess the first impression I got was how into music he is. I feel like I was so privileged to be in the room. He wasn't totally head-in-the-clouds. He seemed really switched-on and lucid.

On his ye album collab

I went and I listened to the song, [and] I realized that my beats weren't on it. So I said in an interview that my song was on the album, and then I found out it wasn't. The publication had already posted a thing, and we got them to change the article. The next day, I was listening to the rest of the album, and my stuff was on another song. It was kind of a mess. My contribution ended up being some drums on the last song [“Violent Crimes’].

On why he transitioned to hip-hop

It can be an absolute collage of sounds and flavors and ideas. In no other genre of music can things from so many different worlds come together and sound great. I’m being very narrow-minded here, but rock ‘n’ roll music’s kind of got to be rock ‘n’ roll, you know what I mean?

Especially coming from my world of being this control freak, everything’s gotta be perfect -- working with hip-hop artists has taught me so much about not being precious about every single sonic detail.

On co-writing Travis Scott's "Skeletons"

His manager got in touch and said he was a big fan [and suggested we] meet up if I was ever in L.A. We hung out and played some stuff, and he really liked what ended up being “Skeletons.” I know Travis likes his psych-rock. He likes his crusty metal guitar sound. I was struck by how much I thought it would fit Travis’ thing even though it’s not hip-hop-sounding.

And Scott's huge speakers

What’s cool about people like Travis is that they’re just getting a bunch of people in the room and seeing what happens. But it’s not intense. Well, it’s intense because it’s the loudest shit I’ve ever heard. I’ve never heard music played that loud in my life, and possibly never will.

On Rihanna's cover of "New Person, Same Old Mistakes"

We thought she wanted to sample it or remix it in some way. We didn't really know. So it was only when the song came out that I was like, “It sounds like a cover.” I thought, “That’s cool, I guess that means she thought it didn't need changing in any way.” It also meant I got 100 percent of the publishing, so I was like, “Fuck yeah!”

It’s kind of funny, because when I was writing the song, I imagined a female R&B voice singing it. And I forgot about that when I was finishing the song. So when I heard Rihanna singing it, I was like, “Oh, wow, the song is how I originally imagined it.”

On collaborating with Kendrick Lamar

Oh, we met up for like an hour. We were kind of playing each other some stuff. It was before DAMN. came out. I worry now that people might think I have something coming. I don’t necessarily think anything is. He wants to do sessions with people all the time. He’s obviously an open-minded artist.

On unreleased collabs with SZA

I don’t know if it ever will [be released], which makes me really sad. It makes me extremely sad. It’s basically just a song we were working on [with Mark Ronson].

SZA, she’s got to be busy -- when we were doing [the song], her album [Ctrl] was about to come out. I don’t think even she anticipated how much it would blow up and that she’d be all over the world. In the way that you probably imagine that I have people flooding my inbox with requests to work, she’s gotta have about five times that.

On wanting to work with Daft Punk

Daft Punk. I hold them in absolutely legendary regard. They’re so god-like to me, but I don’t even know what I’d do or how I’d do it with them.

Who would you love to see Kevin Parker working with? Share your ideas in the comments.

Now meet Slow Hollows, the indie band working with Frank Ocean and Tyler, the Creator.

What To Read Next

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Need To Buy a Last Minute Valentine's Gift? We've Got You Covered

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    15 Unique Gifts Ideas for You and Yours this Valentine's Day

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    10 Essential Valentine's Day Gift for Him

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Zegna’s Triple Stitch Sneaker Gets A MRBAILEY Makeover

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Listen Up! It's Bowers & Wilkins' Time

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    The Best Valentine's Gifts Under $200 That Everyone Will Love

*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to

Web Accessibility Statement

Titelmedia (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, Titelmedia strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titelmedia has engaged UsableNet Inc, a leading web accessibility consultant to help test, remediate and maintain our Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.


Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.