With mind-boggling music videos, an unmatched sound and their sophomore album, Volcano, recently hitting record shops, Temples is quickly becoming legendary in the psychedelic-rock world. Freshly arrived for their first full US tour, we hang out with Adam Smith, Temples’ guitarist and keyboardist, before their in-store performance at Grimey’s Records last month. Read our interview below for a little insight into the minds of Temples, as well as some sage advice for up-and-coming bands.
Words by Kari Leigh Ames. All photos by Emily Quirk.
How long have you been in Temples?
Since almost its inception. Me and Sam joined a little later than Tom and James—four years?
What’s your craziest tour story?
Something I don’t think I’m at liberty to divulge—this is a really tough question. This doesn’t sound crazy at all, and it’s not, but I just remembered a funny thing that happened on Mount Fuji in Japan, which was really fun. We played that festival and I remember we were doing some signing-thing-slash-press-conference and this big, sort-of huge, bug came and landed on Sam and he jumped up and started screaming and then all the people who were watching started laughing. That totally isn’t our most crazy story, but I just thought it was funny.
Did Temples have any help in inspiration for the music video “Certainty”?
Yeah! So, I think it was mostly Tom’s idea to include this J-Pop influence—their videos— because they’re just so interesting. So that’s where some of those characters came from. Then we talked to the director, Alden Volney, he had the idea of a big box with us in it. That was apparently one of his recurring nightmares or dreams, and then we sort-of collaborated back-and-forth on it.
Do you have any advice for bands who are just starting out? Anything you would tell people looking to do what you’ve done with Temples?
Just to do exactly what you want to do. Don’t compromise. If you’re lucky enough to get signed, or whatever, don’t sign a deal that would make you compromise and just do what you believe in. It’s good to keep 100% control.
Do you have any specific gear that you’re really into right now?
I’m not a really big “gear” freak, but I’ve got a new Flying V.
Oh! A Gibson?
Well, I don’t know! I actually don’t know what it is. I think it’s an Epiphone, but I need to check the serial number—it’s great. I love it. I just think they’re so silly, but once I got it, actually feels quite good, you know? It’s my go-to guitar now. Nobody told me not to, which I thought was the funniest thing, so then it sort-of stuck.
And you didn’t compromise!
No, no compromise! [laughs] Yeah. I will say that I really like [The Kinks’] Dave Davies’, he had one that is very similar.
Would you say that you have many influences that are non-musical?
Yeah, I think we work other stuff in there. I personally like poetry quite a bit and that works into the lyrics here-and-there, not too much, but yeah. And films, especially on the first album, a lot of it is sort-of cinematic. This album, not so much, but I’d say there’s definitely non-musical influences that affect our music.
Favorite venue? Would you say Mount Fuji?
I really like the Leeds Brudenell [Social] Club. It’s just a really old, working-man’s club in Leeds, England. It’s a really great venue. We’ve only played there maybe once or twice. I used to live near Leeds, so we used to go quite a lot to see bands, and it’s old-fashioned—just how a music venue should be.
Do you have any current bands that you’re into?
I’d say we’re all quite fond of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, and we’re not just saying that ‘cause they’re our label mates, we really like their stuff. It’s prolific, and inventive, and I think that’s quite inspiring, and they’re really good live, as well. We saw them at Desert Daze [Festival] in California. They were headlining the stage we were playing and they were fantastic.
Thanks to Adam, James, Tom, and Sam for letting us hang out. Special thanks to Mido and the rest of the Pitch Perfect crew. And, of course, to Anna at Grimey's .
Kari Leigh Ames wears many hats. You can follow her @karileighames on Instagram to learn more.
All photos by Emily Quirk, a photographer that has been documenting the Nashville DIY scene for a decade. Find her around town, or on the internet at emilyquirk.com, Instagram @equirk, and Twitter @quirkymind.