Temples is a British neo-psychedelic band that makes trippy retro pop combining the experimental sound of bands like The Move and mid-period Byrds with the classic song craftsmanship of the Beatles. We sat down with the two masterminds behind the project to talk about psychedelic clichés, their recording process and recording in a home studio.
You produced and released tracks before you had your first live gig, how did it all start?
We had some ideas, recorded them, put them on youtube, and then we got asked to do some gigs a few weeks after.
What was the first song you released?
We first put together three songs - Shelter song, Keep in the dark, and Golden throne.
Tell us about your recording process.
We recorded it in James’s house in a small room, just experimenting with ideas and sounds like you normally would do in a studio. We recorded Shelter song, and found a sound that really worked, and that ended up being the sound of Temples. We used that as a sort of base for the whole album I guess.
Are you still recording at your house?
We haven’t really done anything since we finished the record. Maybe just a few little ideas. We’re all just playing around on laptops and then bringing it all together in a home-studio environment. We might look for a space to record in, but we won’t be going in to a fancy studio. It’s something that’s worked for us and we feel like as long as we have the ideas and means to record it ourselves, we will stick to that.
Is the recording-sound as good at home as it is in a studio?
You tell me! Does it? I think a lot of people are misled with the idea that you need a professional studio. If you can create the right sounds by working with what you’ve got, there’s no reason to change that. You can make an amazing record on a 50pound four-track, if you know what you’re doing with it.
The name Temples leads you to the thought of spirituality and religion, are any of you spiritual/religious in any way?
Not really. We would certainly not say that we’re religious, probably not even that spiritual, but we find that in music there is a lot of spirituality and our favourite records have that angle to them. I think a spiritual context works well with the imagery, and the meaning of our songs.
Before you started the band, what other professions did you guys have in mind for the future?
I think music actually always came first. In many ways, if you do it professionally or not, it has to be a part of your life and if you’re serious about it then nothing really comes before it. We’ve all had jobs in the past but it was just to fund the music.
What was the weirdest gig you ever played?
In a swimming pool, probably. In Geneva. That was quite strange, but it sounded great in there.
What kind of music can’t you stand at all?
Bad pop music. I can’t stand really heavy stuff, as in lots of screaming but no melody. Not in its intention, but just that it does nothing for me.
What was the inspiration for writing the songs of Sun Structures?
Everything, really. It varies from song to song. Sometimes it would be musically inspired as opposed to something lived or experienced. It’s important to not just be inspired by the lyrics and the musical ideas and sounds and different styles of music.
What’s the main focus of your songs? Lyrics or melody? What comes first?
Usually the melody. And the melody then decides what kind of sentiment you want to have in the song. It’s a very unusual way of working because in this way you might go in to subjects that you wouldn’t have written down on paper unless you had this melody with some kind of grandness and flavour twining through your mind, that you then want to explore with lyrics. Sometimes you just have a melody and you want the words to fit it.
A wise man once said, if you have an afro, you are destined to do psychedelic music. What came first, the hair or the music?
The hair definitely came first, genetically . But what happens if I shave off my afro then? Would we stop playing psychedelic music? I don’t really know how to answer that to be honest.
What are your hopes for the future?
To write a brilliant next record, is the idea. That’s it really. Just to carry on writing, become better songwriters and better artists.
Do you not care about money and fame at all?
Writing good albums and to continue progressing as a band is what we like to build Temples on.
What do you prefer, the US or the UK?
The UK, definitely.
Kanye West or James Blake?
Katy Perry or Miley Cyrus?
Photography Louise Whitehouse
Words Stefan Dotter