My Favorite Album: James Bagshaw of Temples on Scott Walker’s “Scott 3” | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Sunday, May 19th, 2024  

My Favorite Album: James Bagshaw of Temples on Scott Walker’s “Scott 3”

“It’s one of those records where if I don’t know what to listen to I’ll stick that on. It’s perfect for any occasion.”

Mar 19, 2020 My Favorite Album Bookmark and Share

It’s probably a strange record to have as your favorite! It’s impossible to choose a favorite because it’s all mood based. But for me, when you’ve got an album with such an intense character to it, it really couldn’t be anything else. The first four Scott Walker albums—Scott, Scott 2, Scott 3, and Scott 4—all sound how you’d expect a Scott Walker record to sound, if that makes sense? Melody wise, the feel of it, and the recording all highlight how ahead of its time that record was. It’s one of those records where if I don’t know what to listen to I’ll stick that on. It’s perfect for any occasion.

I discovered Scott 3 through an old friend of mine. We used to play in a band together about 10 years ago and we were driving around in his car when “It’s Raining Today” came on. So I asked him what it was and he said Scott Walker, then I asked if it was a modern recording and he replied, “No, it came out in the ’60s!” I thought he was kidding me, just because of the pure hi-fidelity production. It doesn’t sound like a 1960s record. It has a very full range. Also, it keeps me guessing at the chord changes. You can’t just switch off and have it as background music. It’s quite intense. The songs always change and evolve. Some bits happen only once in a song. If I could make an album like that and not sound like I’m parodying it I’d love to do that.

I wouldn’t put myself in the same category as him. It’s as much Scott Walker’s fault this album’s so good as it is the arrangements and John Franz, the producer. It’s very hard to draw influence from that music and it have any relevance today. If you start playing with extended chords like Scott did then put that in a song with the Temples drum sound it could get quite chaotic very easily. But as far as the arrangements are concerned, where you can fill in the spaces with a space, it’s definitely inspiring. The way you can draw people in with counter melodies against the vocal and things like that. On tracks like “Monuments” off our new record there’s a nod to that, definitely.

The sound for us is really important. You can have a great song but then approach it the wrong way. There isn’t really anybody else that’s got our drum sound, which could either be seen as timeless or make us become dated really badly.

I never wanted to see [Scott Walker] play live. I like his later experimental stuff but for me he had that golden period which he would probably disagree with, because I know he ended up disregarding those records. Which blows my mind because they are absolutely perfect. So I didn’t have the urge to go and see him. It’s one of those things I guess. It’s like the thing about not wanting to meet your heroes. I didn’t want to see him do something super experimental and not be in awe of it. It’s not like seeing the Stones where they just plug and play and you still get this great rock and roll act. It’s not the same thing.

(James Bagshaw is the singer/guitarist in Temples. The British psychedelic rock trio formed in 2012 and their third album, Hot Motion, is a 2019 release on ATO. Portions of James Bagshaw’s conversation have been abridged and edited for structure and flow.)

[Note: This article originally appeared in Issue 66 of Under the Radar’s print magazine, which is out now. This is its debut online. For the issue we interviewed musicians and actors about their all-time favorite album.]

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