Interview Temples: ‘We’re Always In The Same Book’

The best band to come out of Kettering since… Erm…

James Edward Bagshaw is very close to his fans. Literally. “I’m basically next to the queue,” he explains casually from Manchester – before adding hastily “but I’m hiding behind the door as I speak to you.” It’s a good job he is. You see, with a name like James Edward Bagshaw, his parents must have always known he was destined to be a star. But, as frontman of Temples, they may have got a little more than they bargained for.

It’s no little known fact that tonight’s headline show at Manchester’s Gorilla - part of the band’s UK-conquering tour - is one of the hottest tickets in town. Over the last twelve months, Temples’ holy trinity of singles (‘Shelter Song’, ‘Colours to Life’ and ‘Keep in the Dark’) have attracted many a loyal disciple, even dragging Manchester’s indie stalwarts off their computers to join the queue that’s snaking round the block.

But perhaps tonight’s turn-out isn’t simply down to Temples’ arsenal of singles; Temples landing in the indie Mecca of Manchester is like dipping chicken in a sea of piranhas, because – yep, you guessed it – Temples are a guitar band. “There’s a massive gap for bands and guitar music,” insists James. “There’s not really that many people doing it.

“There’s a lot of folk singer-songwriters – then there’s a lot of crappy pop – as there’s always been. You can’t download a concert, and what better at a concert than guitar music? Pop musicians generally play over a CD with a band miming: people are clocking on to that, and I don’t think people really like it; I think it’s very fake.

“There’s a lot of drivel that major labels sign and give them this false sense of brilliance, then years down the line they get dropped. You can hear it in the music: it’s very taken-off-the-supermarket-shelf - not from an organic farm.”

This might make James sound like the coffee-breathed, hiking-booted old fart at a gig you should be unlucky enough to find yourself stuck in conversation with - the kind that moan on about the ‘glory days’ of Oasis. Ironically, Noel Gallagher recently criticised Radio 1 for not playing enough of Temples.

But, as James enthuses, guitar music is alive and kicking more than ever, professing his lovesickness for Charlie Boyer and the Voyeurs, Splashh, and touring compadres Telegram – all bands with “great tunes and something very authentic.” But James must find it frustrating? Isn’t it about time the Romans were kicked out of Rome? Should 2014 be the year guitars finally reclaim the charts?

“I’m indifferent about it,” he shrugs. “What will be, will be. There’s droughts in guitar music, but like everything - it goes in circles. The people listening to the radio, generally, don’t want to hear that kind of stuff; builders on a building site just wanna hear something that gets them through the day. You can’t change things over night.”

Or maybe you can.

While building sites, offices and school buses are deprived of Temples’ psychedelic delights - for the night owls amongst us, it’s a different story. James doths his hat to Radio 1 and their keepers of new music - Zane Lowe, Phil and Alice - for their unprecedented support of Temples, calling them “brilliant accolades” to the station, but it’s Huw Stephens James reserves his ample respect for, as he puts it, “keeping the hope alive.”

“It doesn’t necessarily mean guitar music; he plays some electronic music that’s actually very good: stuff that’s actually got an identity.” It’s not out of the ordinary for a band to have Huw Stephens singing their praises so early on – but Noel Gallagher?! You’re probably wondering what the big hoo-ha is all about, and the answer: three singles. But my god, what singles they are.

You can stroke your chin and talk endless poetry about the nostalgia surrounding Temples - but that’s not the reason you’ll fall in love with them. It’s all about the choruses. On first listen to any of their singles, it soon becomes apparent the James Bond franchise was born to be soundtracked by their TOTP2-style psychedelic, light-filtered pop. Mirroring 007’s 2012 re-imagination ‘Skyfall’, Temples are unashamed to revel in their sixties foundations while remaining ostentatious, cutting-edge and now.

This month finally sees a full-length from Temples, ‘Sun Structures’, followed by another UK tour. A busy diary of festival appearances are inevitable, but where next for Temples? What if a Bond soundtrack were on the cards; would they accept the mission? “I would only do it depending on who was playing Bond,” he laughs. “Personally I’d absolutely love to write the theme. There are an awful lot of orchestrations on our record. We’re not in a place where we can get a full orchestra, but once you’re into film territories, you can make it sound incredibly cinematic – which is an exciting thing.


But in the midst of all this, it’s easy to forget that – to date – we’re basing our excitement on relatively little. It’s like getting the ring out after seeing a few photos on a dating website. Signed to the evergreen Heavenly Records however, we know gospels and choirs will rejoice. Even if 2014 isn’t the year Temples become the chart-botherers they deserve to be, the infrastructures of the band show no sign of crumbling for a long time yet.

“Everybody in the band likes the music. We all really like what we do, artistically, and we’re very proud of it. It sounds obvious but it’s why some bands don’t work, because you’ve got people pulling in different directions. I feel like we’re often – not, sometimes, on the same page – but we’re always in the same book. We’re only ever a few pages away from each other.”

Temples’ debut album ‘Sun Structures’ is out now via Heavenly Recordings.

Taken from the new, free DIY Weekly, available to read online or to download on iPad now.

Tags: Temples, Features

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