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Interview: The Temper Trap

PUBLISHED: 09:22 15 September 2009 | UPDATED: 15:40 29 October 2010

Rob Garratt

Having appeared at Latitude earlier this summer, the release of their debut album sees Australian indie four-piece The Temper Trap return as part their first UK tour. ROB GARRATT spoke to drummer Toby Dundas.

Further listening: The Temper Trap

Having appeared at Latitude earlier this summer, the release of their debut album sees Australian indie four-piece The Temper Trap return as part their first UK tour. ROB GARRATT spoke to drummer Toby Dundas.

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Two years after they released their initial EP in their native Australia, The Temper Trap have been whipping up a storm at various festivals this summer, including a storming set at Latitude in July.

The Melbourne quartet produce an atmospheric, captivating sound, created using grand guitars, pulsating rhythms and yearning vocals.

Their debut album, Conditions, full of chiming guitars, sweeping crescendos, and cherubic falsetto vocals, was helmed by renowned British producer Jim Abbiss, who has previously worked with Arctic Monkeys, Adele, Björk and Kasabian, and who flew down under especially to work with them.

They're about to return to this region as part of their hotly anticipated debut full UK tour.

t You must be thrilled to have the album out?

It was quite something. It's been a really long process - the band's been going almost five years and indirectly we've been working on it for three years, writing songs, recording, and playing lots of gigs. Making a follow-up will be a daunting thing.

t You've picked up quite a buzz already.

We've had a few little hicks that are going to need more work, but for a small band from Australia we've been surprised by the response we've had.

t How did you guys meet?

Me and Dougy [Mandagi] worked in a clothes shop where we attempted to sell jeans to people and together we wanted to start a band. We had a few jams with some friends. Johnny [Aherne] came in a few weeks later because a guy who was supposed to show up didn't. Dougy taught him a bit of guitar and a bit of bass and then we started writing songs and playing shows. Lorenzo [Sillitto] and me were friends already and when his band broke up he came in. That made us four.

t And how did you go about crafting your sound?

We never really did covers. Dougy had songs at the start and we started off playing them. It developed and we added things as we got more confident on our instruments, we started using samplers and it got to the stage where we needed another person on stage.

t What about song writing?

Dougy writes all the lyrics and in the beginning he was the main music writer. It just depends on the song, sometimes people will come in with an idea, other times it's more developed. A couple of times they've come out of jams.

t How are audiences here compared to back home?

The UK audience are very similar to Melbourne, they're very music-savvy and have a bit of a folded-arms attitude, 'come and impress me'. There's so many great bands here you've really got to put in the effort to stand out from the crowd. In Europe they're really up for having a good time, you don't have to work as hard.

t You made some of the album over in London too?

We did 90 per cent of it in Melbourne, but we came in and added a few bits here and did some B-sides, that sort of thing. We worked with Jim Abbiss an English guy, and he came out to Australia for most of it so it made sense for us to come over here the next time.

t Jim is a big name, working with Arctic Monkey, Editors, Kasabian…did you ask for him or did he find you?

His manager saw us play a show in Australia and thought Jim would want to work with a band like us. Jim and his wife were driving across the country listening to a big pile of CDs and we came on and, so the story goes, they looked and each other and had a moment, and he said to her 'you want me to produce this band, don't you?' It took eight months to get him to Australia before we could hit record.

t A lot of people compare you to bands like Radiohead and Arcade Fire, what do you say to that?

Radiohead are certainly a band that we've admired for a long time and have been a great influence.

t Temper Trap will play Norwich Arts Centre on September 18.

Further listening: The Temper Trap

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