Excited for the long-awaited release of their sophomore album, Glamcult sat down with James Bagshaw and Tom Warmsley, the founding members of British rock band Temples. The good-looking pair revealed their best and worst performances, discussed their nightmarish new music video, daydreamed about performing on Later… with Jools Holland, and lifted the lid on their new sound. “Musically and sonically it’s far more original.”
You released your debut album back in 2014 and plan to release your second album in March. What’s happened in the meantime?
Tom: We released Sun Structures in February 2014 and perpetually toured for a year and a half. Around a year ago we stopped and began to focus on recording the next album. It’s as simple as that, really; we feel most comfortable when we can focus on one thing at a time. Whether it’s playing live or recording, we like to really immerse ourselves in the whole process.
So you’re getting ready to release Volcano. Could you tell us about the process of creating a Temples album?
Tom: This time we started with no preconception about how we wanted the record to sound, there was more individual writing as well. Then we sort of pulled it all together—it didn’t really feel like an album until halfway through.
Your music video for Certainty was directed by Alden Volney and influenced by a recurring dream he had of falling into a sea of plastic…
Tom: Alden came to us with his idea and we really loved it. It’s meant to be a J-pop nightmare with references to consumerism and disposability of things in culture. Hopefully that comes across!
What is different about this album from your last? James, you commented that it implements “a load of things we didn’t know about the first time around”.
James: I think more so from a sonic perspective. Our approach to songwriting hasn’t changed at all; it’s always been very unique to each individual song. Some are fully formed things and then with some you’re almost throwing things together like someone would if they were remixing a song—but you do it to your own song to get a definitive version of it. It’s still about melody, lyrics and structures. I guess it’s a more contemporary record in its production, but we didn’t want it to sound like a pop record or an alternative rock record. We created a certain atmosphere on the first record, which people then threw the whole retro thing on. That was incredibly annoying, so we didn’t want that for this album. Musically and sonically it’s far more original than our last album.
Tom: This one is a little more direct, almost theatrical. It also addresses different things than the first record.
What’s your favourite and worst ever performance?
James: The worst for me was at Benicassim one year. We had come from a show in Malaga and another one in Ibiza. [Laughs] We were just not in a fit state to play a gig and that one was one of the craziest crowds we’ve ever had. It felt like we were going on to do a headline performance and we were just the first band of the evening. That was a memorably bad one. In terms of the best one: London can be a bit of a standoffish place to play, but when we played at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, it went really well and just didn’t feel like a London gig.
Tom: We really got through to the crowd that night. I think the pressure is partially something we put on ourselves at the bigger city shows.
James: When you’re not a signed band and you play in London, it can feel very stuffy and clinical because your told ‘oh, someone is here from a record label’ and you have these businessmen around. I don’t enjoy it being like business.
Are there any current artists you really like listening to?
James: The Lemon Twigs.
Tom: I saw them play the other night in London and was really blown away by it. Their new album is brilliant and they seem to move very fast, especially at that age.
You achieved a lot with your first album; it was very successful very quickly. I mean, you played at Glastonbury, Lollapalooza, the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Jimmy Fallon, and it charted in 18 countries. What are your dreams for this record?
James: Jonathon Ross. [Laughs] I think you have your own little things in your head that feel like pivotal moments or pivotal places you would like to play. We are very focused on what we do, but we aren’t the type of people who would say ‘in three years time we want to be playing in Madison Square Garden’ because then it becomes too much like a business thing. For us, we’ve grown up in England with Later…with Jools Holland, and that as a program has introduced so many bands to us, whether its new bands or classic artists. I think to do that program would be a really important thing to us because it’s engrained in all of us as British people.
Tom: It’s interesting to see if we gain new listeners and keep the ones we have. None of us know how that will translate until the album comes out, so that’s a good one.
Any tips for listening to the album?
James: Listen to the album in its entirety, in order; the way God intended it to be consumed.
Tom: No particular song is definitive of how a band should sound—that’s something that people need to remember.