With cool, darkened electronic beats, Tempers are one of those bands that you just can’t shake off. Seemingly set for the stratosphere, Tempers mix of both dark and light with industrial and gritty melodies makes for beats that are addictively catchy and smothered in a layer of their goth, darkwave and synthpop influences.
Their upcoming release, “Fundamental Fantasy” (Out Feb 24 via The Vinyl Factory) hits all the right notes. “Exploring the creative scenery of romantic illusions,” many of the EP’s chords and progressions came straight from live improvisation sessions, testament to their natural talent. Tempers seem to breeze through writing, creating their sound so naturally and organically it’s so though they were born to do this – don’t presume there’s no hard work going in though, Tempers are capturing a new dynamism that make them one of our top picks for 2017.
We’ve also got a first look at the video, a monochrome masterpiece for their track “Strange Harvest”.
Jasmine: My Grandmother singing Latvian lullabies as she cradled me to sleep. Her voice was the best feeling imaginable, so warm and haunting – she used to sing a lot in churches. After that it was age 5, dancing on tables singing Tina Turner.
You’re based in NYC – what is it like to be a musician in New York?
Eddie: New York makes you think you’re in the center of the world, and for an artist of any kind that’s an addictive thing to believe. There’s an automatic romance to whatever you make here. I grew up in the city and I still feel that. As musicians in New York we have flexibility and freedom around our sources of inspiration, because so many of the movements that define New York’s musical history are still totally palpable. I can walk past the Chelsea Hotel or whatever boutique CBGB’s turned into and it still means something to me. The mythology and meanings are still part of the present, no matter how much things change.
Which musical artists are you most interested in at the moment, and why?
J: I have been listening to this Nick Cave song “I Need You” from his new album Skeleton Tree on repeat for days and days now. There is this quivering vulnerability in his voice, this rawness of grief that is so touching and powerful. It’s one of those empathetic songs that lets you feel deep into the buried things you didn’t realize you felt.
“New York makes you think you’re in the center of the world, and for an artist of any kind that’s an addictive thing to believe. There’s an automatic romance to whatever you make here.”
Tell us about the creative process surrounding your upcoming EP, “Fundamental Fantasy”? [how you made the EP: the writing and recording process etc]
E: On “Fundamental Fantasy” we worked differently than we did on our previous album Services – I think we figured out something important because it felt like we blinked and it was finished. We’ve always written, recorded, and mixed simultaneously, so there’s often a lot of time between that initial flame of an idea and the final work. Sometimes by the time we’re done with a song we have to put it aside for a while because it’s lost its meaning, like when you stare at a word on a page for too long, but that didn’t happen this time. With this EP, a lot of the melodies and chord progressions came out of live improvisation, so the songs already had their colours and characters defined before we even got into the arrangement and production. Working this way made it easier to hold onto that original inspiration during the detail work of recording and mixing.
The EP is about “exploring the creative scenery of romantic illusions” – tell us a bit about this and where the inspiration came from.
J: I think love is what we need the most, and also something we can complicate the most. I was interested in exploring the “completely carried away” end of the spectrum. The ways romantic feelings can set in motion a kind of internal propaganda film that distorts reality to make you see what you want to see in another person. The level of creativity that is involved in this fantasy world making can be extremely rich and intricate. Addictive too, because there is an escapist quality to it, you are living in an echo chamber of your own imagination. The crash from this dreamworld is extremely painful, as it is so removed from reality and anchored in fear. I wrote this EP with a tenderness for the rise and collapse of these kinds of romantic illusions, hopefully it is healing on some level. It also lined up really well with the themes of “The Volcano Extravaganza”, an art festival with a music program curated by The Vinyl Factory where they invited us to perform earlier this year, and are now putting out this EP. The festival takes place on the volcanic island of Stromboli, and was titled, appropriately, “I Will Go Where I Don’t Belong”.
How does your upcoming EP differ from your previous releases?
E: Thematically, “Fundamental Fantasy” feels to me like it’s set on the day after our previous album Services. Loss and longing are still important themes, of course, but the voice has a new awareness, a coming-to-terms, that feels like a shifted emotional landscape. Jasmine also uses her voice in new ways here, layering her vocals in two- and three-part harmonies, and that adds a delicate layer to the insistence of our electronic arrangements. I think because we played more of the album live instead of relying solely on programming, there’s a dynamism to these songs that makes them more immediate and personal, and that was something we really wanted to explore.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years time?
E: Ah, Christmas, 2021: we’ve saved up enough krypto-credits to buy each other Ivankan anklets, which we dutifully exchange by the tree.