INTERVIEW: Temples

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From humble beginnings as a home studio recording project, British neo-psych quartet Temples have come a long way.

In July of 2012, the band’s founding members James Bagshaw and Thomas Warmsley uploaded four recordings to YouTube, including what would become their debut single – the charmingly nostalgic Shelter Song. With its mesmerising 12-string guitar riff and honeyed vocals, the stand-out track caught the attention of Jeff Barett, founder of Heavenly Recordings, who promptly added the band to the label’s impressive roster of artists.

The Kettering based outfit have since captured the attention of critics, as well as being championed by musical luminaries Johnny Marr and Noel Gallagher. Not one to shy away from hyperbole, Gallagher went as far as to proclaim that “the future of the galaxy” was riding on their debut album.

For all the praise they’ve received, bassist and singer Thomas Warmsley is still wary of Temples’ status as yet another buzz band.

“It’s quite a weighted title for someone to put on you. I don’t think music really works like that, I don’t think people can categorise what the next big thing is. We had such a strong idea about what we wanted to achieve with Temples at the beginning when we started out. To have such a strong identity and sound in the studio and really create a world around the songs, create something that people can really immerse themselves in…if people are experiencing that with the record, that’s all we’ve wanted to achieve.”

Released in February this year, Sun Structures most certainly sees this vision achieved.

Awash with esoteric lyricism, hazy pop melodies and twelve-string Rickenbacker firepower to boot, the debut album manages to sound strikingly familiar without ceasing to be intriguing in its own right. Sun Structures offers an immersive listening experience and, as Warmsley agrees, is best heard in its entirety.

“One of our precedents is that we really wanted people to listen to Sun Structures as a whole from start to finish, and really absorb the songs as a work all together rather than individual tracks. It kind of worked against us, releasing singles first… because people became familiar with certain tracks. Listening to the album as a whole takes you somewhere, every song works to inform the next.”

“We view the whole thing as a bigger picture really…. I think a lot of music these days is void of that mystery and that kind of question at the end that allows the listener to develop their own theories and perceptions of music.”

Having played support slots for the likes of Kasabian, Suede, The Vaccines and even The Rolling Stones, Temples are clearly reaping rewards for their subtle take on psychedelic pop. However, closely echoing the sounds of decades passed has also attracted the band their share of criticism. Acutely aware of the fanaticism surrounding authenticity, particularly in regards to the resurgence of psychedelia, Warmsley rejects the notion that Temples are merely a sixties revivalist band.

“I guess people often find it hard to get behind something that’s derivative of something else…I guess it carries connotations of recycling music, and I guess almost being like a pastiche of music that’s come before. But if we limited ourselves to that it certainly wouldn’t sound the way it does. You know, we’re just as influenced by experimentation of the 70s, synthesis of the 80s, sampling of the 90s and the contemporary nature of music now. .  It’s all encompassing, and I guess if people don’t see that, that’s fair enough.”

Sun Structures is a record inundated with easily traceable influences, from the Bolan-esque glam rock swagger of Keep in the Dark through to the Middle Eastern intro on Sand Dance, but they are indeed as varying as Warmsley claims.

“Our intention was never to be a psychedelic band. Our heart is set on creating that imagery, to have such vivid imagery in our music. It just so happens that it gets perceived as psychedelic.”

“We sort of explored one style or influence in one song and the next could be the complete opposite. It just builds a picture, as complete as possible, in terms of all our influences in the record. They’re quite different and varied, but then we used the sound of the record to bring them all together and share the same atmosphere.”

Following a performance at Coachella, Temples will be hitting Australian shores for the first time with support from Sydney’s Deep Sea Arcade.

You can catch them on the following dates:

Thursday, May 8, The Zoo, Brisbane (tickets)

Friday, May 9, Metro Theatre, Sydney (tickets)

Saturday, May 10, Corner Hotel, Melbourne (tickets)

 

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