Temples - James Bagshaw on Playing Their First Hometown Show, '60s Production, and Their Album Cover | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Temples - James Bagshaw on Playing Their First Hometown Show, ‘60s Production, and Their Album Cover

Here Come the Suns

Mar 25, 2014 Photography by James Loveday Issue #48 - November/December 2013 - HAIM
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In-demand foursome Temples is on its way to check in at a hotel in Berlin, post-soundcheck for a gigone of five in a row. Hot on the heels of the release of the quartet’s hugely anticipated debut album, Sun Structures, the group is either gigging or promoting, making the whole experience a jumbled whirlwind.

Formed in the otherwise unremarkable town of Kettering in the Midlands of the U.K. in 2012, Temples was the project of vocalist/guitarist James Bagshaw and bassist/vocalist Thomas Warmsleywho weren’t intending to take it past their bedroom studio. Releasing the blistering psychedelic pop single “Shelter Song” in November 2012 was the start of the non-stop attention paid to the inventively throwback sound of Temples.

Releasing three more singles in the course of a year, the group, now expanded to Adam Smith on keyboards and Sam Toms on drums, performed at major European festivals and shared the stage with the likes of The Rolling Stonesall with no album to its name.

Sun Structureswhich includes all four previously released singles, the aforementioned “Shelter Song,” as well as “Colours to Life,” “Keep In the Dark,” and “Mesmerise”doesn’t disappoint. Plundering the sounds of the ‘60s, and a bit of the ‘70s, and updating them through studio exploration, Temples’ admiration of The Beatles’ experimentation and T. Rex’s glam rock is clear. Perfectly timed with the public’s renewed interested in psychedelic guitar bands, Sun Structures’ acid-drenched reverbs and swirling riffs hit the mark.

Bagshaw battles intercontinental phone crackles switching between his and his tour manager’s mobiles as he walks the streets of Berlin to talk about Sun Structures.

Lily Moayeri (Under the Radar): Your sound is decidedly classic, yet you’re using über-modern production techniques. How do those two things come together?

James Bagshaw: There are certain things we like about old records and certain things we like about new records. We’re blurring the lines between production and playing.

You do all the production yourselves. Where did you learn that?

At school, I did music college, the equivalent of A-levels. But I learnt more from listening to music than reading about how to produce. I think if you’re the kind of person who reads stuff and learns things that way, then it isn’t conducive to the production side. To really hone your sound, you need to understand what makes the sound and how it works.

Two years before Temples even started, we were recording at home. We didn’t just stumble across it. It was a big learning curve from the start, from playing around to recording to learning. Listening back to stuff from two years ago, it’s amazing how much different and how good it sounds. It doesn’t sound nearly as professional as it sounds now.

Where is the studio located?

The bedroom I was brought up in with my two brothers, tiny box room. One corner is the control room and the main bit where my bed would be is where we record bigger things. It’s literally not a studio. It’s a house with recording equipment in it.

That sounds more like a producer-musician than a band set-up, but all you need to make music now is a laptop.

That’s exactly how it is now and we embrace that side of it. It’s pretty simple, really. A lot of people tend to use a pre-set sound and have a very similar sound to other bands. When you approach things with a band, you risk falling into the trap of recording everything in a conventional manner. There are a lot of things on our record where it’s not conventional and you just play around with things that probably a named producer would frown upon and go, “You don’t know what you’re doing.” But we like that.

Do you all record in a room or do you record individual sounds and then treat them?

It’s not recorded live. It’s all layers upon layers. A lot of the times the songs are written whilst recording so doing the fully finished song and then recording everybody at once, it just doesn’t work like that, not on this record anyway.

Initially we had no intention of playing any shows, only to record some songs, just because that’s what we felt like doing. Then we were offered gigs and we had to get it an act together so we got our friends involved.

You couldn’t try and do it with just two people?

Definitely not. It’s quite a big sound on the record to try and portray live.

Did you consider having some of the sounds as backing tracks with just two of you?

If you’re more electronically based, certainly with the drums and stuff, you could get away with it. It wouldn’t have seemed right having drums coming off a backing track that sounded like canned drums. It’s counter-intuitive. It’s never going to work. If we had a Kraftwerk sound, then we wouldn’t want a real drummer playing it. It wouldn’t really work. It’s important to have a band and have that live-ness.

Are you the only notable band out of Kettering that has gotten any significant attention?

I’m sure we’re not the only band, but I reckon we’re the only band that’s been able to do 130 gigs last year in different places around the world and probably the first with a record in the top ten in England.

Is there a venue for you to play in your hometown?

We did our first show the other day. We had to do it in a record shop. It was really good. It was ridiculous, it was so busy. Amazing how many people, across ages, knew about who we were. It was a great experience.

It’s understandable that you would appeal to a cross-section of people. Everything is so polished these days and you’re bringing a human element to what you’re doing with production.

You never forget about those milestones in artistic creativity. In the ‘60s they pioneered sounds and recording techniques, more than any era. It was such a high rate of going from ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll doing crazy things with multi-track recording, in the ‘60s they really went all out and started playing with sounds and recording songs in a way that wasn’t really conventional. I think that’s why the ‘60s are coming back, because it does have a huge statement of sonic quality. And they had great songs as well. And they didn’t have auto-tune and all that bullshit. You work with what you have.

There’s a mystique around you as a band that recalls Led Zeppelin’s time toying with mythology and mysticism.

We like mystical elements. We love imagery and certainly having a visual identity, whether it’s a fictitious depiction or a painting of something that’s not necessarily happened. Anything that’s surreal and has a mythical sense to it, we just like strong imagery and certainly great filmmakers, Kenneth Anger being one of them.

The building on the album cover is one example of that. There is something ancient and mysterious about it.

It’s a real building and it’s five minutes from our houses. We picked it for the cover because it was local to our town. It’s a three-sided building, which is very odd, and it’s three floors. It’s what in England is known as a folly, which is a building without any purpose. It wasn’t lived in. This guy, Thomas Tresham, made it almost as a piece of art. If you search “triangular lodge,” you can read all about it.



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October 8th 2018

Hello!This is my first topic for test!