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Temper Trap

Temper Trap

Monday 9th August, 2010 1:46PM

The Temper Trap have been causing quite a stir over the last year with their unforgettable song Sweet Disposition and their signing to UK label Infectious Records effectively enticing the ex Head of Warner Music, Korda Marshal, to abandon his plans of retirement.

We got the opportunity to have a quick chat with drummer and programmer Toby about all this and more. Here’s what he had to say:

So where are you calling from today?

Hackney, London - east London

How long have you been over there?

Only like 3 weeks ago, so we’re kind of fresh off the boat.

How are you finding it?

It’s good, I like it. It’s similar to Melbourne just like 100 times bigger. It can be pretty full on, I mean like trying to drive around can just be a massive pain in the ass. There’s really nice parks around where we are and great markets and the live music scene is obviously really good. So yeah, it’s been good so far.

Have you played many shows?

Yeah we have we’ve done around 5 shows in London and last week we kind of did a mini European tour, we played a show in Amsterdam, Belgium and a couple in Germany supporting Glasvegas. So we’ve been getting out in the van and been doing a bit of driving as well.

How have the crowds been? Any shows been particularly spectacular?

The one in Amsterdam was in this amazing old converted church and yeah it’s a massive room, you can probably fit about 1500 people or so in there. And that was a little festival. We had a pretty big crowd in there maybe 700 or 800 people and we were first on.

And yeah the reaction so far has been pretty good across Europe and in the UK. Most of the UK shows we've been doing have been pretty small, 150-200 people in little kind of small bars and stuff. But yeah the energy has been really good so far.

What bands have you played with so far?

A lot of the shows we’ve played so far have been little festivals, apart from those two shows with Glasvegas, and we’ve done a couple of our own shows that have just been kind of small local bands.

Have you played with anyone you think we should check out?

Not that we’ve played with yet, not here anyway. There’s an English band we played with in New York this year just before SXSW called Mumford and Sons. They would be the best English band I’ve heard recently, like a kind of up and coming band.

What have you been listening to recently?

I was just, before you called, listening to a Drones little EP they put out over here with some songs off their last album and a few before. So yeah I’m a fan of The Drones, and an American band called the School of Seven Bells. Ahh what else? Nasa record that came out a few months ago, that still gets played around a lot I really like that one.

Tell us a bit about Temper Trap, how did you get together etc?

Dougy, who’s the singer, and I worked in the same shopping centre in Melbourne. So we kinda just met through work and he was looking to get a band started so we just started jamming. Jonny who plays bass is an old friend of Dougies, they’ve known each other for a while. So we kind of just started jamming, the three of us with another guy and then he left after awhile and after about a year Lorenzo who was an old friend of mine from school joined and that line up has been going for almost 4 years and we’ve got a touring guitar/keyboard/precussion guy as well, he’s been playing with us for about a year now.

Were you in other bands before Temper Trap?

I was in one other band, that was kind of doing some stuff but apart from that just your typical high school bands like all the other guys, except for Jonny, this is his very first band, but everybody else has kind of dabbled in kinda bad high school bands as well.

You’ve just signed with Infectious Records in the UK, how did that come about?

Well we came over last year to play at a music conference type thing, kind of like a mini SWSW over in London and the guy who used to be the head of Warner, who had actually retired and was planning to head off and go sailing for a year – so they story goes – his daughter works for a booking agent and she dragged him down to this industry night we were playing at, not knowing us just kind of going down to check out a load of new bands and yeah he really liked us and he restarted Infectious cause he used to run back in the early 90s and he had bands like Ash and Muse but it hasn’t been going for 15 or so years. So he kind of started it up again and we’re the first band on the relaunched label. It’s been a really great experience so far. Being the only band on label is really cool because you get a lot of attention and you don’t get lost amongst the pile. So yeah it’s been great working with Korda and Infectious so far.

So a lot of wining and dining then? Are you living the rockstar lifestyle?

Ah no no, we’re not. We’re living 7 people in the house and going down to the cheap supermarket to cook up some spaghetti bolognaise and other cheap meals that we can spread amongst everyone.

How did SXSW go for you?

It was great actually. We’d heard lots of different reports, like everything from it being like the best five days of your life to just a complete shit fight because there’s so many bands there and they block off a couple of blocks of the city so you have to walk your gear venue to venue just kind of lugging it on your back and stuff. But yeah we played some good shows and got some good feedback. And yeah some good meetings for some US labels and stuff. So hopefully something will come through from that as well.

Your new album comes out here soon, tell us about it.

We recorded with an English guy called John Abbiss, he’s worked on a bunch of different things including: Bjork, The Artic Monkeys, Uncle and a lot of other stuff in between. So he came out to Australia and we started last May and we did a month in Australia there and mixed it all and when the whole UK label deal came in we got the opportunity to spend a bit more time tweaking a few things. So we spent two weeks in London in February and finished it all off. And yeah it’s ready go and we’re eagerly awaiting it coming out to see what everyone thinks.

You’ve had a bit of success already with your track, Sweet Disposition, tell us about that one, how’d it come about?

Lorenzo our guitarist came into the rehearsal room one day with the main riff and we jumped on it quite quickly and jammed it out. Dougy came back with the lyrics by the next practice and it was pretty much finished in two or three rehearsals so that was one of the lucky ones that comes out easily.

The track is compared to U2 a bit, how do you feel about that comparison?

That’s fine. U2, particularly their first four albums, are a band that we all listened to and really liked. It’s pretty hard to get away from that comparison giving the delay soaked guitar that’s very kind of edge-esk. It’s a fair call and U2 being a band we like, we’re not too unhappy with that comparison.

The song featured as the title track of (500) Days of Summer which was as hit at Sundance apparently – how did this come about?

A friend of our managers who works at putting songs into films, he really liked the song and he was pitching a bunch of other bands for that film and chucked our song in and they happened to like it. So they put it the film for a bit and then it actually got on the trailer which was amazing exposure for us in America and really increased awareness of the band because no one had really heard us in America and we ended up getting lots more play and lots more messages from people in Wisconsin and Nebraska and other strange places. So it’s been a really great way of getting our band out there in America.

Dougy’s got quite a voice on him…is he trained?

Yeah he kinda grew up in a pretty musical family so I think he’s always been around singing and I know he’s done some choir stuff in his younger days. But yeah I think it’s more of raw talent then a totally trained one but yeah he has an amazing voice.

So we’ve mentiond U2, who else would you say was an influence of Temper Trap?

The bands we kind of all listen to, the other ones would be Radiohead, definitely a big influence on the songs. David Bowie, umm, TV on The Radio as well, we all listen to them a lot. I know vocally, Dougy is really into Prince and a lot of this kind of American sort of earlier soul singers as well. Probably a bit of the Arcade Fire creeps in there sometimes as well.

Do you have any other releases out?

Yeah we did an EP a few years back. It’s self-titled and it doesn’t anything like what the songs on Conditions sound like. It’s the sound of a band trying to learn their instruments and finding their feet on how to write songs. It’s probably good that you haven’t heard it.

So what’s next – any festivals lined up?

Yeah we’ve got quite a few festivals actually. We’re doing Glastonbury, Reading Festival, one in Scotland called Tea In The Park. We’ve got a bunch of festivals around Europe as well who’s names are escaping me but I know we’re going to Portugal, Finland, Sweden, back to Germany and Summer Sonic in Japan and actually that’s one I’m really excited about. We’re going over there in August to play a couple of shows. So yeah lots of touring, we’re heading off tomorrow morning up to Scotland to play some shows and do a kind of lap around the UK and playing a lot of little smaller cities so yeah we’re going to be spending a lot of time in the car.

You have a van then or how are you travelling?

Yeah, they call it a spliter van, it’s got a gear section in the back and some seats in stuff in the front and yeah we’re spending a lot of time stuck in that so far.

You guys getting on alright?

Yeah yeah we do. It’s definitely a new experience, kind of all living together as well as living together in the van. But so far so good.

Of your upcoming shows and festivals, who are you really looking forward to seeing?

At the Summer Sonic Festival we’re playing on the same stage as Flaming Lips and Sonic Youth. So yeah that’s going to be really cool. It’s two shows, one show in Osaka and in Tokyo so we kind of get to see all those bands a couple of times and hopefully meet them and hang out and stuff. That’s going to be a really fun experience.

Any plans to play NZ?

We’re hoping to come back to Australia and NZ when summer roles back around down south.

Have you played NZ before?

No I haven’t but our 5th member Joseph is from NZ, so he’s always talking it up.

Oh really? Do you know what his musical history is?

Yeah I think he played in a few bands but his most likely claim to fame is being on a show called Shortland Street, I think that’s what it’s called. I think his character was Matty Crombie? It was awhile ago like literally when he was 10 years old or so.

What's his name?

Joseph Greer

 Oh we're out of time, thank you and goodluck with the album and tours.  We'll keep an eye our for you.

Your welcome and thanks!