Tame Impala’s Eventually Synth Sounds 

In this article, I’ll take a look at Eventually, my favourite song from Tame Impala’s 2015 album Currents. The dynamic song features fuzzy guitars, grooving drums, breakup lyrics orchestral layers and an extended repeating outro section. The song seems to be close to Parker, as before its release he mentioned it in his Reddit AMA, saying:

“I have to say though, there's a song on the new album called Eventually that is still very moving for me to listen to even after 951520974 listens and mixes. Oh but I mentioned a song and not the others!! weirdly enough I can still listen to each of these new songs and not feel the need to skip. Which is rare for me after 2 years of working on them.”

To start, here’s my full Eventually remake, not using any samples from the original recording:

Original Synths

Two of the main sounds in Eventually come from Parker’s Roland Juno-106, a 1980s polysynth that he also used on Lonerism. To recreate the Juno sounds in Eventually I used TAL U-NO-LX, an inexpensive software emulation of the Juno synths.

As well as the trusty Roland Juno-106, much of the rich layering in Eventually comes from the Roland JV-1080, a digital sampled-based synthesizer released in 1994. The JV-1080 is all over Currents, and it provides the orchestral strings and brass, choir, chimes, and outro lead in Eventually. I used the Roland Cloud JV-1080 VST plugin for my remake; as it’s a sampled-based digital synth, the presets are identical. The Roland Cloud subscription also includes a Juno-106 plugin, which you could use to copy the Juno sounds in this article if you don’t have TAL U-NO-LX.

Kevin mentions using the JV-1080 in an interview with AudioTechnology magazine. However, you can’t see it in any photos of his studio. In this picture of his studio from the AudioTechnology interview, a smaller Roland JV-1010 can be seen on the left, so it’s possible that the JV-1010, not the JV-1080, was used on Currents. Although smaller, the JV-1010 features all the same sounds as the bigger JV-1080, but with fewer physical controls to edit the sounds. For recreating sounds, the JV-1080 plugin has all the presets from the JV-1010.

Juno Organ

There are two main Roland Juno synth keys patches in Eventually, the first is a dry organ sound that plays throughout the verses and the second is a richer, chorused Juno sound that plays during the choruses.

To create the organ Juno synth in TAL U-NO-LX, you need to use an organ-like pulse-width modulation oscillator sound. Set up a patch using the square waveform, set the PWM mode to “LFO” and set the PW depth fader to 2.24. This uses TAL U-NO-LX’s LFO to modulate the pulse-width of the square wave, quickly changing it from a square wave to more of a pulse-wave, which results in a rich harmonic sound. The LFO rate is 9.87 Hz with delay time set to 0.45.

The sub-oscillator helps fill out the low end of the patch and is added by setting the Sub volume fader to 7. There’s also a small amount of pitch vibrato, which is added by setting the top-left DCO LFO fader to 1.

The Juno-106 has two filters; a high-pass filter to cut the low-end and a low-pass filter to cut the high end. The Eventually organ has both filters partially closed to create a mid-range focused sound, with high-pass set to 4 and the main filter cutoff set to 5.4. The main filter has no resonance or modulation, and keyboard tracking is at maximum. Finally, set the amp envelope sustain to 10 and soften the sound by setting both attack and release to 1. Here’s the dry sound with no effects or mixing:

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  • Juno Organ Dry 00:00

The organ track in Eventually also has a stereo tremolo effect that rapidly pans the signal between the left and right speakers. Stereo panning effects like this aren’t possible on the Roland Juno synths, so Kevin Parker likely added the effect by either running his Juno-106 through the Electro-Harmonix Pulsar stereo tremolo guitar pedal or by using Auto-Pan in Ableton Live after recording the synth track.

I used AutoPan in my remake with rate set to 10.6 Hz and shape set to 40% to give a modulation contour close to a softened square wave. I automated the modulation amount parameter to increase it gradually on longer chords. Lastly, I used an EQ to cut the more resonant frequencies and boosted the high-end. Here’s the final sound:

00:00
  • Organ Processed 00:00

The same organ sound also plays in the quiet instrumental section before the 2nd verse. The patch is the same, but with a lower filter cutoff (3.70), though this could have been a filter added in Ableton after recording the track. This section also has an additional reverb to create a washed-out sound:

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  • Washed Out Organ 00:00

Juno Chorus

The pre-chorus and chorus sections have a different Juno patch playing the chords, this is more of a typical wide chorused Juno sound. To program the sound, use the square wave oscillator alongside the sub-oscillator at maximum volume. Set the filter cutoff to 3.28 with a small amount of resonance and full keyboard tracking. Unlike the verse organ patch, the chorus sound has a long, fading envelope, so set the filter envelope to 4.2 with a quick attack, high sustain and long decay and release times.

The longer chords have modulation slowly fade in, which is created by setting the LFO speed to 10 kHz with a high delay time (0.61). Raise the DCO LFO fader to 1.5 and the filter modulation fader to 1.8; this will add modulation that slowly fades in after the set delay time. Finally, turn on the Chorus II effect.

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  • Organ 1 // Organ 2 00:00

In my remake, I layered the Juno sound with the JV-1080 patch PRC: 056 JUNO Strings patch. This sound is quiet in the original song mix, but it adds high-end and can be heard best when the Juno chords start to fade out.

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  • High Pad 00:00
  • Layered Up 00:00

JV Sounds

There are a plethora of digital Roland JV-1080 sounds in Eventually. The orchestral strings that play during the second verse around the 2:20 mark are JV strings, and I used the PR-C: 036 Warm Strings preset for my remake. Some JV strings patches are very similar and even use the same sample, so it might be a different preset on the original recording, but the Warm Strings patch is certainly close.
These JV strings are layered with Mellotron strings, which reappear during the outro. There aren’t any Mellotron strings patches on the JV-1080, so Kevin likely either used a plugin like GForce M-Tron Pro, or the Korg Kronos for the Mellotron sounds on Currents. For my remake, I used the Arturia Mellotron V plugins Stereo Strings
00:00
  • Strings 1 00:00
  • Strings 2 00:00
  • Strings 3 00:00
  • Mellotron Strings 00:00
  • Layered Strings 00:00

The orchestral brass that plays during the breakdown before the final outro chorus is also from the JV-1080; I used two tracks of the PR-B: 126 2Trumpets preset playing the same melody an octave apart for my remake. These tracks are overdriven and high-passed in the mix, so I added a steep 48dB/octave low cut EQ around 300 Hz as well as Ableton’s Pedal effect for light overdrive.

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  • High Brass 00:00
  • Low Brass 00:00
  • Layered Brass 00:00

During the chorus and outro sections, there is a choir sound which I recreated using the PR-C: 075 Jet Pad 1 patch, though Kevin likely mixed this sound with samples of his voice, as heard elsewhere on Currents, such as the opening of New Person, Same Old Mistakes. The Jet Pad 1 patch doesn’t have any envelope modulation, but the sound in Eventually can be heard both fading in and fading out in places, so I manually automated the volume of the track.

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  • Jet Pad 1 00:00

During the extended outro section, the PR-A 082 Music Box preset plays this descending melodic line:

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  • Music Box 00:00

Outro Lead

The outro melodic line is a layered sound with several JV-1080 and Mellotron sounds playing the same melody. When the part starts playing during the breakdown section, there are two patches: JV-1080 PR-C: 039 Bright Str and Mellotron 3Violins both panned hard-left.

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  • Bright Strings 00:00
  • Mellotron Strings 00:00

At the 3:47 mark, a lower octave melody starts playing, and this sounds like the JV-1080 PR-D: 086 SH-2000 patch panned hard-right. Having different layers panned to the left and right creates a wide stereo sound that is a big part of the production sound of Currents.

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  • Low Octave 00:00

At 4:33, the JV-1080 Bright Strings patch is replaced with the PR-B: 085 Sawteeth preset, which is a monophonic lead synth sounds with a quick portamento glide between notes.

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  • Glide Lead 00:00

These layers are processed with a band-pass style EQ effect that cuts the highs and lows to carve out a focused range of sound. For my remake, I set the low-cut at 300 Hz and the high cut around 1.4 kHz with bumped resonance. Here are the outro layers with and without the mix EQ:

00:00
  • Outro Layered 00:00
  • Outro Filtered 00:00
  • With Choir 00:00

Guitars, FX and Drums

The heavy fuzz guitars during the intro and verses have a wide sound achieved by multitracking and hard-panning different tracks. I recorded three guitars for my remake and panned them hard-left, centre and hard-right for a thick, wide sound. I used a Dunlop Fuzz Face for the fuzz effect and recorded straight from the Fuzz Face to my audio interface with no amp simulation whatsoever to recreate the dry sound on the original recording.

After adding delay and reverb (before compression of course!) I used EQ to cut the low-end, high-end and add a peaking cut around 510 Hz. This helps the guitar sound fuzzy but not too noisy. The EQed version doesn’t sound as good in isolation but does sound better in the full mix.

00:00
  • Fuzz Faces 00:00
  • Fuzz Faces EQed 00:00

There’s also a synth track that doubles these fuzz guitars, which I created using a funky, high-resonance TAL U-NO-LX patch. This sound can be heard most clearly at 1:05 in the original song.

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  • Guitar Synth 00:00

The heavy guitar sections also feature a riser that also plays during the breakdown, adding a sense of tension. This is a single-sawtooth wave patch that is doubled with slight differences in pitch between the two parts, resulting in a thicker sound. If you listen closely at the 0:55 mark, you can hear a section where one of the riser tracks stops before the other one. The actual pitch-rising can be done by manually recording or automating the pitch-bend wheel with the pitch-bend range set to an octave.

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  • Risers 00:00

For drums, I used a kick from Past to Futures Untamed Drums pack and hi-hats their Currentsy Drums packs. I created the snare sample myself, layering a Ludwig Supraphonic snare sound from Superior Drummer 3 with two Drumtraks snares and processing the sound with Soundtoys Decapitator, Devil-Loc Deluxe, Softube Harmonics and Goodhertz Tone Control.

00:00
  • Drums 00:00

Finally, and most importantly, there is a dry Drumtraks cowbell track in the back of the mix that plays 1/16th notes during the heavy guitar parts.

00:00
  • Cowbell 00:00
  • Full Section 00:00

Download

Phew! Thanks for reading, and a big thanks to Tom from the Tame Impala Source page for the info on the JV-1010 as well as the Kronos Mellotron tip. This was one of the more challenging remakes to put together because of how layered some of the sounds are, but interestingly, Kevin Parker doesn’t seem to consider the song overly layered or busy. Talking about Eventually in the AudioTechnology interview he said:

“It’s just a guitar riff, bass riff, and a synth that’s escalating in pitch to add some tension. I find that when you try and make something heavy, the less elements you have in it, the bigger it sounds. If you try and make a heavy riff with seven guitars, three different types of synth, a bass synth, and a bass guitar, it really just muddies it up and loses impact.”

Check out the download link below for the TAL U-NO-LX patches used in my remake, the JV-1080 patches are all factory presets.

If you’re new to the site, the presets from this article are also included in the Synth Sounds Collection, a free preset pack collecting the synth presets from all of my articles in one download.

And if you want to explore my remake of Eventually further then consider supporting the site via my Patreon page, which gives you access to the Ableton Live 11 project, MIDI files and multitrack stems from this remake, as well as some more detailed production notes.

Header artwork by Makarxart

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14 thoughts on “Tame Impala’s <i>Eventually</i> Synth Sounds ”

  1. Great article, as always. Any specific advice on how to get the drums to sound like that? I know it’s largely the compression, but any other tricks?

      1. Great job,got really impressed of how well you got it.if u want any suggestions do any of the last Crumb album songs like Baloon or BNR are fun

      2. All of them have really cool synth sounds. I think it’s mostly a poly moog. I would love to see dionysian state, A new high, and maybe taste tomorrow.

  2. A superb job as always, any idea which sampler Kevin uses to play his choir pad? Much love from Oxford, UK!

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