Tamarama is a band that can easily be pigeonholed and dismissed if you only hear about their members and not their music. Nicolas Potts and Jay Lyon are both former male models who have dated a slew of high-profile women, with the latter gaining notoriety as Whitney Port's boyfriend on the first season of MTV's The City. They tend to get attention for their lifestyle and not their sound in one of those rare occasions where good fortune becomes unfortunate in terms of press and attention. But good looks and talent aren't mutually exclusive and they are proving it with their eponymously titled debut album, out now.
Born and raised in Sydney, the group's surf rock style has evolved since their first EP, building from simple acoustics to a fuller sound. Working with producer David Khan (Sublime, the Strokes, Sugar Ray) they were able to separate out their vocals and worked with keyboards and electrics. The end product has a more danceable sound but stays in line with their usual laid back summertime feel, moving listeners from a side-to-side sway to more of a head bob. "The stuff is a little more pop rock," says Potts. "We were a little more folk before. It's been a natural change. It kind of wanted to go there on its own."
Another way they have grown is in their writing process. "When we started it was more visual -- like what we were looking at when we were writing or where we were in the world" says Lyon. "We were outside a lot, so it was a lot of beaches and sunsets. As we've gone on, we've gone more into our personal experiences in life, living in New York City and having ups and downs. I think we draw more inspiration from that."
Potts, who has been playing guitar since he was young, was introduced to Lyon, who picked up music much later, through a mutual friend in Sydney. They clicked instantly, finding their own unique sound through influences like the Beatles, Paul Simon, Simon & Garfunkel, and Bob Marley.
Still very new to the scene, they've manage to go from writing about literal waves to making metaphorical ones in record time with a stop this summer at Bonaroo and a packed tour schedule. "It's all been one big highlight," says Lyon noting, "We want to get in front of as many people as possible. That's the main goal."