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- Posted on Dec 4th 2009 11:05AM by Charley Rogulewski
These days, the only bands that the Temper Trap's debut full-length album, 'Conditions,' is getting compared to are Muse and Coldplay, with the New York Times saying they have "the martial drive of U2." The combination of the band's atmospheric sound and indie roots has pegged the Melbourne four-piece as enormo-indie.
But Temper Trap aren't quick to forget their early meager beginnings. Drummer Toby Dundas and lead singer Dougy Mandagi met while working together at a store in Melbourne. After a few jams, they added bassist Jonathon Aherne and guitarist/keyboardist Lorenzo Sillitto into the jam sessions. "It was a union night -- people kind of go there to get drunk and pick up," Dundas remembers of one of the band's early gigs. "It was 80 cent, 80 pence shots and dollar beers, so everyone's just focused on getting drunk. We go out on stage, start playing and there's 30 people in the room and about 20 seconds in they just kind of all turned away from the stage, didn't even walk out of the room, just turned around and started talking to each other, and that was the rest of the gig, which was that -- us playing to these people's backs."
"We were the soundtrack to them throwing up and getting pissed and picking up girls," adds Mandagi. Indie film director Marc Webb had a different soundtrack in mind when it came to the Temper Trap's giant opuses. He put the band's single 'Sweet Disposition' on the soundtrack to his hit of a hard-knock love story '500 Days of Summer,' and all of a sudden the Temper Trap was synonymous with Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt make-out scenes.
"That really did open up people's awareness of the band in America," Dundas acknowledges. "That was the first time we started getting MySpace messages and stuff from far flung corners of the States saying, 'Hey, what's up!' It's been a real blessing." More recently, the track appeared on an episode of the CW's 'One Tree Hill.' But surprisingly, even for the band, 'Sweet Disposition' isn't the fan favorite.
"'Drum Song' probably gets the best reaction live," Mandagi says of an instrumental that made its way on 'Conditions.' "People go nuts over that song. Back in the early days when we were selling EPs at our own gigs and stuff, people would buy the EP and go, 'Is that drum song in it?' It's a bit of a brave move to have an instrumental on your debut. We just thought, 'Man, we owe it to the fans.'"