Tame Impala Plagiarism Accuser: 'It Was a Joke'

"We never thought we'd had this impact, and we're very surprised about it," authors tell Rolling Stone

Tame Impala Plagiarism
Andy Sheppard/Redferns via Getty Images
Tame Impala have found themselves at the center of a plagiarism scandal after a joke article went viral.
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The authors of an article accusing Tame Impala of plagiarizing Argentinian pop star Pablo Ruiz that went viral earlier this week now say the story was written as a joke and should not be taken seriously.

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Chilean music site Rata published the article earlier this month, claiming that the Australian psych rock group's biggest hit "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards" was lifted from Ruiz's 1989 song "Océano." While a side-by-side video in the post shows only a dubious, tangential connection between the two songs, the post began to receive pickup and spread to multiple, international music and pop culture sites.

"It was a joke," site editors Raúl Álvarez and Patricio Pérez tell Rolling Stone. "We were at a party and had that idea. Curiously, it was viralized pretty fast. We never thought we'd had this impact, and we're very surprised about it."

In a new article written earlier this week detailing how widespread the original post went, Álvarez and Pérez wrote, "Things sometimes take an unexpected turn that you never expect. What started as a joke went viral thanks to the magic of the Internet."

When Rolling Stone reached out to the band for comment, Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker simply replied, "This is a joke, right?"

Yes, though it may have real-world consequences for the band. Ruiz spoke to ESPN Radio Argentina (via Rata) after the post was published and said, according to the site, "Obviously there is plagiarism. Not if you have done it on purpose or not, but there are seven bars that are equal to my song." Ruiz added that he would consult with lawyers before deciding on his next move.

"He thought our 'research' was accurate in proving the similarities between both songs,"Álvarez and Pérez say.

Asked if they would feel guilty if Tame Impala are forced to defend themselves in court, the site's editors said, "Of course we think it's funny, but we hope there are no charges against Tame Impala. We actually like them a lot."

Tame Impala recently announced a mini-tour this November that will include South American stops. Ruiz told ESPN Radio that he would be interested in performing with the band when they play BUE Fest in Buenos Aries on November 24th. 

The group released Live Versions, a nine-track live set taken from a Chicago concert, last month. In a press release, Parker said he hand-picked the songs based on how different they sounded from the studio versions. The album was originally released as a limited-edition vinyl for Record Store Day and became the event's highest-selling release.

Tame Impala Tour Dates

November 9 -  New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre
November 12 - Los Angeles, CA @ Shrine Auditorium
November 13 -Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl 
November 15 - Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater 
November 20 - Bogota, Colombia @ Royal Center
November 22 - Santiago, Chile @ Placina Espacio Broadway 
November 24 - Buenos Aries, Argentina @ BUE Fest 
November 26 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil @ Circo Voador
November 28 - Sao Paulo, Brazil @ Popload Festival