the AU interview: James Bagshaw of Temples (UK)

Kettering four-piece Temples have enjoyed a busy 12 months and have just released debut album Sun Structures to the world. We had a chat to lead man James about their fast rise, praise from renowned musicians and their touring schedule.

So, it has been a really fast rise for you guys- the single and signing to Heavenly- has it been really interesting?

Yeah, it has been fast and it has been at times hard to take it all in, but I think that we are getting there.

It is great! The experiences we have had in a short amount of time, about 12 months, the places we have seen and the number of bands we have played with and finally now we have got a record out.

How was the experience of the UK headline tour different to the shows you had played previously?

Obviously your own shows, it is always different to festivals and support shows and I think that it is funny that when you are in a band, I don’t think that it matters even.

Like, certainly for the first few years, but I think that it gets to the point if you are playing in massive venue shows there are going to be people there, but we certainly didn’t think that there would be anyone there at half the gigs because you just don’t know what it is like except for being in the group yourself. How well known you are, or not well known you are but the reason the UK tour was an absolute success and it culminated in our largest show yet and that was at Electric Ballroom and I think it was 1400 people. We were nervous. I think it was the best show we have ever been in. It was really cool.

I really like that venue too. It would have been really cool to play in.

Yeah, it is really really great venue.

It's often said that you put a futuristic spin on older ideas, is this something that you agree with and put in an effort to do?

Well I think everybody that is in the scene is doing a futuristic spin on something that is already done.

I guess that we are taking from less than in the commercial music world. But I think that we honour things that we love in the same way that a painter honours the painter and the way that he then paints is inspired by their works and those techniques.

I guess we use some '60s recording techniques to get that sounds. We are a lover of the golden era of the pop song really, which is so different to how a pop song is now, in a pop mentality. I guess that the '60s and '70s, and even earlier '50s, semi-later '50s were very poppy but it was also very weird production to it. It was a different sound. Not just standard recorded into a microphone but played around with and manipulated to make it sound foreign to your ears, and we like that.

On that, your use of a 12-stringed guitar is often mentioned. Is this something that you think adds to the uniqueness of your sound?

Yeah. The 12 string is obviously used by many people over the years by like Roger McGuinn from The Byrds. He had a really unique way of playing on the 12 string, almost like a one man orchestra at times and really pick out notes and how the time and certain melodic clashes of notes would just really sound great on a 12 string.

I think that if you play a six stringed guitar, which I do as well and I love the six string, but most six strings do sound pretty similar really to the untrained ear. But I think that a 12 string people will know instantly and probably think that it is two guitars playing but yeah it is a great sound and it is the chiming sustained quality to it. It is on about three or four tracks on the record.

How do the older tracks released sound to you now. So you see an evolution there?

Yeah, I think so. There is a chance those original ideas and I think we saw songs to carry on and bring that naivety in a way to the recording… not to the recording because we had not set out to record, but that naivety of going with an early take and it not being perfect.

I guess with this record there are many sections and they just happen to be perfect. And as far as we are concerned those little mistakes in the right places and we didn’t want it to be a polished record and to be over produced and yeah. There definitely has been an evolution in the songwriting but I guess we will try out both ends of that spectrum.

What about Sun Structures, what is it about it that you are most excited for people to hear?

It’s slightly to do with as you hear the record as a whole thing. So that is the time and the place and to just sit there for 65 minutes and listen to it. I am looking forward to people hearing stuff that they haven’t heard before. Obviously that is what making the record is all about, it is very import to us and hopefully it is welcomed to the listeners as well.

You self-produced the record, did you like the creative control you got from that?

At times I hated it but only for a split second just because of the nature of all the other stuff that goes with recording and I hated cleaning tapes heads and doing all the boring stuff, you know when it is not recording and twiddling the knobs it is cleaning the knobs and having to back up stuff on the hard drive and all of the boring crap.

But, yeah, there is no better way of making a record. Certainly for debut records, having the creative control. I don’t think we ever let that go completely. It was a challenge at times, but we learnt as we went along and there is not one compromise on the record and from an artistic point of view that is probably the best thing we can have, no compromises.

What is it like to receive words of praise from people like Johnny Marr and Noel Gallagher?

It is no different to hearing it from a fan in many ways. We obviously respect these people completely and have grown up with their music and Noel came to a show and it is very strange. But they are just another musician and I think that a lot musicians are like minded so I think that it is probably weirder for a non-musician to have Noel or Johnny Marr to say something about them. Like, it would be weird for them to say “I like your hair” to a non-musician than to say I like your music to a musician because you don’t stop listening to music.
But it is very humbling and very kind. What can I say.

What is the significance of the Egyptian motifs in your artworks and such?

I really like the way that the imagery goes along with the melodic parts of the song and some of the lyrics. I guess that it is like a visual statement and it seems to work with our kind of music.

How have you seen Temples change since its inception?

Well I have seen the stages grow, I have seen that evolve.
But also as a live band it has evolved as musicians get better and tighter as a band and tighter as a warm up act. You argue more but you get on more as well at the same time. Locked in a band room together all the time, you become really close and irritate each other as well but in a really good way. We might have a little disagreement before the show and that makes the show very electric and I think that you need that to have alight onstage.

Do you listen to any Australian music?

I remember growing up hearing Jet quite a lot, though I haven’t listened to that in years. I don’t know whether they are big in Australia. Big Tame Impala fan. We love Tame Impala we love both their records and we love that EP before that.
It sounds very close to home as well. Very Manchester.
Pond are good as well. We will be doing a few tracks with them and I have never seen them live so that will be interesting.

Where would you like to tour soon?

We are sort of going everywhere, but I would like to gig in Hawaii just to go to Hawaii, and then also India as well so I may as well go there as well. China as well. And then Rio. Everywhere we are not doing.

Any plans to come to Australia?

We come to Australia in May actually. We are doing like four or five shows in Australia and then going to Japan for a mini-tour there. I don’t think that that has been announced but I know that we are doing Sydney.


Temples' debut album Sun Structures is out now. The guys hit Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne in May. Details on their tour, dates and ticket sale information is HERE.