Annette Brown, Lifetime The story of June Carter Cash comes to life in the…
- Posted on Mar 16th 2010 9:00AM by Tina Benitez
Just off the release of your debut, 'Conditions,' how have US audiences responded to your music?
It has been absolutely amazing. We played three shows, and they were three of the most enthusiastic shows we've ever had. It was mind blowing the last time we came over. The most number of people at our shows was 400, and the last two shows doubled that crowd. It's amazing how much has changed in five or six months since we've been here.
How's the US tour so far?
The last time we came here, I ate like 80 burgers, and we just came from Germany eating way too many bratwursts and pork knuckles, so I'll stay off the burgers when I'm here. It's hard because I go out and everyone has meat around me, and there's only one vegetarian option. You want to get back on the meat wagon. I'm purely vegan when I'm in the States, and when we get back to the UK it's back to eating meat. We've always had a good response in NY and LA, but to go to places like Portland and San Francisco is amazing.
The first time you played SXSW in 2009, people immediately started talking about the band. Do you have the same excitement going into SXSW this year?
Yeah, that's really how things happened for us. Now we're going back. I love Austin, and I'm looking forward to seeing a few more bands this year. We have a few friends in Australian bands that will be there.
So what would you recommend in a SXSW survival kit?
I don't know. The last time we stayed in the suburbs, so we'd drive in for the day then drive back out, so we didn't experience SXSW in full flight. My main survival tip: get lots of sleep and take lots of vitamins before you even get to Austin. Get enough sleep before and be prepared to not sleep much.
Can you describe the Temper Trap's sound in your own words?
I describe it as alternative rock. It's alternative to things that are going on out there. Indie is such a bastardized term these days. We're trying to do something a little different. It's got a lot of elements of different things we like--Bowie, and more modern stuff like DJ Shadow and TV on the Radio--so it's a wider span of influences.
What are some other influences?
Radiohead, Arcade Fire, U2--basically anyone who kicked the molding over time like some of those bands have done, which is what we want to go after. We want to not be complacent and push ourselves to move forward musically and get to that place where you don't have to settle for second best. We're lucky to be put in this position and want to continue doing this as long as we can.
When did you specifically start writing and making music?
I've been musical my entire life. I started playing the violin at age 5 or 6. I played different musical instruments. I picked up the guitar at 14 or 15 and never looked back since. I once played trombone in school. In high school, I played bass in a school jazz band, and that was also the first exposure to writing songs. I stopped playing music when I left school, because I was so sick of it. It seemed like such rigor, and it ruined it for me when it's so formulaic. Then I joined a punk rock band when I was 19 and left school.
Some of you were friends from childhood. How did you all eventually get together as the Temper Trap?
Toby and I, we met when we were about 15. We went to school together. We played Smashing Pumpkins covers together. We thought it sounded horrible the first time we jammed together, but that was the first time I ever jammed with anybody. Jonny was the first friend Dougy met when he moved to Australia from Asia when he was 19, so they've know each other for a very long time. Toby and Dougy worked in a clothing store together, and Dougy was interested in getting a band together. Toby was playing in another band at the time. They had a few rehearsals, and it kind of spawned from there. They had another guitarist, wrote a few songs and needed a bass player, so they got Johnny in. I was playing in another band at the time. My band eventually folded, and they needed a guitarist and that's how we began. It's been almost five years now.
How have you changed over the past five years?
We've all gotten better. We've gotten better as players and betters as songwriters. We've done some recording and picked up little tricks along the way. We write a song, write up its structure on a white board, play through, then restructure. I know. It sounds very un-rock 'n' roll. It's very organized.
What's the craziest thing you've seen or experienced on the road?
Weird stuff happens wherever you go. I guess the weirdest thing happened last year at SXSW. Jonny met this guy on the plane, and it turned out that he was part of this German community in Austin. He came to our show and right in the middle of our set put a pile of bratwursts on the stage. We also had a fan from Japan who came and saw us in Germany. That was an interesting moment.
What's your biggest vice?
Good coffee. It's pretty hard to find good coffee in America. I managed to get a good one in Portland. If you ever read any of our blogs, we write on catering. Food is one of our vices.
What's your musical guilty pleasure?
My girlfriend just bought me Mariah Carey's Christmas CD. Anything sleazy R&B, like Genuwine and R Kelly. I have no shame when it comes to music. As long as it has a groove I'm into it.
Any other projects or just focusing on the tour right now?
We're just glad to be out and doing something. I'd love to start thinking about our next record but we're concentrating on this record's response here in the States. We just recorded a song for a movie, so we'll see if that one gets the OK.
Tina Benitez is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.