the AU interview: Luke Temple of Here We Go Magic (Brooklyn, NY)


One of the more recent buzz bands, circling the internet and globe, are Here We Go Magic – originally the solo moniker of Luke Temple. Now a five-piece signed to Secretly Canadian, indeed a lot has changed since Luke first recorded their self-titled LP, by himself on a 4-track. As the group were sitting in their hotel room in London, I had a chat with the front man, someone who seems just as surprised as everyone else that he’s been given the opportunity to travel the world on the back of a project that essentially started in his bedroom.

But it didn’t come so easily at first. Luke said part of the reason he started the project was because “I was sick of bashing my head against a wall as a solo artist,” and so when the opportunity came to tour the project, he knew he needed to assemble a group of musicians to accompany him on the road. What he found most remarkable about this, was the minute this was set into motion, “everything came together so naturally… after so many years of grinding my nails against a wall trying to make something happen, it was (suddenly) all coming together without really even trying!” When I suggested that the universe was actually acting in someone’s favour for once, he commented, “You know, I actually am believing that … we’ve been blessed”.

So first came the solo album, then came the band to accompany him on the tour – in fact there was never a tour withOUT a backing band – so what was next? “It was only natural we record an album together”. And indeed they did. Now a five-piece, they signed to Secretly Canadian and recorded Pigeons, out June 8th. Asked if the song-writing process was shared, too, he replied: “No, I’m still the songwriter of the project… we don’t sit around and write the music together yet, but that will probably happen on the next album. The two girls in the group are songwriters and incredible musicians, so it’s only a matter of time”.

One of these girls is the bass player for the troupe. And the story of how she joined the band gives precedence to the whole ‘universe working in their favour’ argument. “She was a fan of the band,” says Luke, “and she came to a show where I put on one of the most awful performances, but she must have seen something good in it because she kept coming back… then one day she told us she was a bass guitarist and wanted to know if she could jam with us one day… she wasn’t trying to join the band or anything. She just wanted to jam. So we told her she could jam with us tomorrow. As luck would have it, we were looking for a bass guitarist, and we didn’t even have to start looking”. Sure enough, Jen Turner became a touring member of the group. Yes indeed, thanks to Here We Go Magic, dreams CAN come true – and yes indeed, an amazing bass guitarist can fall into your lap! It’s all in the name.

So now comes the 2010 World Tour. Speaking to the band in the UK, later that evening they would be performing with Phosphorescent. The next day they were to start a tour with The New Pornographers, but he admitted the immediacy of the tour was still up in the air: “We’re still not sure if they’ll make it over in time… because of the new ash cloud!” This then led into a 5 minute discussion about how the airlines are getting more and more willing to put customers at risk as they realise the ash cloud isn’t going anywhere… possibly for many years. But that’s a transcript for a different forum! The important fact is, however, that it was on his mind!

And following the tour with The New Pornographers, Luke Temple and his accompanying quartet will be making their way down to Australia – this June! Make sure you don’t miss the shows. Of the tour, Luke had this to say: “We’re really looking forward to it… it’s all of our first time down there… but the 20 something hour flight is the only thing that bothers me!” And indeed, such is the reason that the band hasn’t been able to get down here until now. But they’re excited, we’re excited, and we’re all expecting a bit of jetlag.  

As to what we can expect from the shows? “We’re constantly changing and evolving on the road… so even I don’t know! But there’ll be plenty of looping, synth, guitars… it should be good fun.” He had a similar thing to say when I asked him what “Fangela” meant (one of the early HWGM singles): “You know, when it comes to my music, I usually know just as much as you do.” It seems that there is very rarely meaning given to his songs in full. In this case, it had something to do with a short vampire – he was going for a comedic horror vibe, although he admitted “originally I was singing “Mangela”, but then I realised what that meant, so I changed it to “Fangela””. Huh, Fair enough.

I’m sure he’ll have plenty of similar stories to share when he hits Sydney and Melbourne next month. For dates, hit up our
gig guide

. And the new album is in stores June 8th!

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.