neon indian is just getting started

Set to perform as part of 'Friday Nights at NGV' this month, the synth prince has ambitions beyond music, when the time is right.

by i-D Staff
14 December 2015, 3:05am

Neon Indian's debut record Psychic Chasms soundtracked our 2009 and won our hearts. Now, composer and frontman Alan Palomo has returned with his third LP, VEGA INTL. Night School. It's a glimmering, bouncing disco-ball of a record, created, in part, on a cruise ship.

Next week, Neon Indian will fly our way to fill the NGV with the sounds of the new album as part of the Friday Nights at NGV Music Series in conjunction with the current Andy Warhol - Ai Weiwei exhibition. We called frontman Alan Palomo to talk about the upcoming gig, but ended up chatting art: as it turns out, Alan's got ambitions beyond music. Perhaps someday he won't just be performing in galleries, his work will be on their walls. 

i-D: We're excited for you to take over the NGV, it's a beautiful gallery. It's an amazing space for audiences-but it's probably pretty special from your end too. 
Alan: It's going to be incredible to come back and perform in that kind of forum. I haven't toured in Australia in years, so there's a lot of catch up; you never know what the reception's going to be like. But to know I'm coming back to this incredible gallery is great news.

I know you've performed at MoMa, so you're kinda familiar with the gallery setting already.
The vibe and the ambience of performing in gallery spaces in unmatched. The irony is that the MoMa space wasn't acoustically designed, so the sound wasn't the best, but the vibe was definitely on point.

What are some of your favourite galleries in the world?
I've always loved the Museum of the Moving Image in New York. There's a lot of great contemporaries in the city. As far as modern art museums go, the one in Helsinki is fantastic, and the one in San Francisco is unreal. Those are some random memories coming to mind.

Neon Indian - Slumlord Rising. Directed by Tim Nackashi & Alan Palomo

With your films Outer Osmo Ghost Mode and Slumdog Rising, you've worked on some incredible video art yourself. Would you ever form a closer relationship with fine art?
I've always had a proclivity towards installation art. The reason why I mentioned the museum in Helsinki is because of this exhibition where an artist had taken over the entire top floor with this incredibly elaborate network of video screens. Some projected on the wall, some projected on the ground; they were melting into each other and it created this incredibly surreal space. That certainly piqued my curiosity, more from the standpoint of film, in terms of how one choses to project a narrative onto a space.

How so?
Like how a Movie Theatre is designed to draw as little attention to itself as possible, so it all falls on the screen. But once you've got a space-like a gallery-that's intrinsically beautiful itself, you can find a relationship between film and space where one isn't taking too much attention from the other. Given the opportunity, I would absolutely love to get into installation art. 

Outer Osmo Ghost Mode - Art + Music - MOCAtv, a film by Alan Palomo and Johnny Woods

Installing video work?
Sure, the animation I worked on, Outer Osmo Ghost Mode, was an initial experiment for me as far as filmmaking goes, just because prior to that I hadn't done a whole lot of directing outside of things to do with the band. Working on that was eye-opening for me. Animation is the form of filmmaking which really allows you to materialise a vision from scratch. Given the open forum it'd be pretty amazing to eventually peer into other mediums of art beyond making records and performing them. 

Neon Indian plays on December 18th as part of the NGV's Friday Nights Series for the Andy Warhol & Ai Weiwei Exhibition

Don't miss this amazing summer exhibition, only in Melbourne. Book now at

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