Read on for my exclusive interview with Rob Diament from U.K. electro-pop band, Temposhark!
First, I’d like to give the band the opportunity to describe their music. In three words or less.
Like Temposhark hopefully!
Alright. But seriously…WHAT TOOK YOU GUYS SO LONG TO RELEASE THIS?! It’s wonderfully brilliant!!
Itâ€™s been a gradual evolution with Temposhark. Luke was studying in Brighton and Iâ€™d gone there for a weekend party with some other friends and we all stayed at his student halls. Iâ€™d known him a bit since I was 12 years old, but not really that well. At that party, we found out we had similar tastes in music. Heâ€™d been experimenting on some interesting films and music with Tasha Kahn, (who later became the wonderful Bat For Lashes).
I remember they were doing an art project in the big Brighton church. I heard Lukeâ€™s beats and was really drawn to them. They were kind of crunchy like Bjorkâ€™s Homogenic album. Iâ€™d been writing for months with a big producer in London called Youth (from Killing Joke) and I really liked the idea of trying out the kind of songs Iâ€™d written with Youth over the sounds that Luke was playing with. So we started to do lots of stuff in Brighton, some live music performances that included our first few embryonic Temposhark songs. But it wasnâ€™t a major focus for either of us at that time, just a bit of fun.
It was only later in 2004, when we both moved to London, that we actually started to really focus on the band. When we released our first EP we only had about 6 songs so it wasnâ€™t like most bands when you release your first single in order to promote your album. We hadnâ€™t actually made an album yet!
I set up my own tiny record label called Paper and Glue and we began to just put out CDs and vinyl with the student loans weâ€™d got from studying. Luke spent most of his on computer stuff or keyboards and I spent mine on making up vinyl and CDs. It felt like a real adventure at the time, and there was a real buzz in the London club scene. We used to go out clubbing most nights of the week and it was around the time that Electroklash was getting popular. I saw some wicked club shows by people like Gonzales, Peaches, Taylor Savvy and later Fischerspooner came along. It was such a breath of fresh air seeing their shows, the rawness, the attitude, their sense of fun, it was all really inspiring. Temposhark got invited to play a lot of gigs around that time, at places like Kashpoint, Electrogogo, Nag Nag Nagâ€¦ it was real DIY ethos, you just got up and performed. There wasnâ€™t much thought put into it, it was just fun.
The other thing about that scene at the time was the emphasis wasnâ€™t always on the music. A lot of the London bands performing were more about the costumes or the make up or the dancing. Whilst I really loved all that side of it, when it actually came to my own music, I wanted it to be about the songs first and foremost. Iâ€™m fundamentally a songwriter and my dream was always to make an album. I was also into really emotional music like Frou Frou and Mandalay and Bjork.
The kind of acts who had meaning in both their soundworlds and lyrics. So that was something both Luke and I were striving for in making the actual album. We wanted it to showcase all of our influences, from our early days in the London clubs to the more chilled out, thoughtful music weâ€™d been listening to. Our love of that kind of music led us to Guy Sigsworth and Sean McGhee who we were so privileged to have worked with on the eventual album. Once weâ€™d made the record, we also go a band together with real drums and bass, and made all the keyboards and noises live. It was really important for us to grow in this way.
How does it feel to finally have your debut album materialize into an actual product?
Really, really amazing. I am very proud of it. It feels like weâ€™ve achieved something. Itâ€™s cool to know its about to be available everywhere, especially over in the USA and Canada. I feel a real closeness with that part of the world and its exciting that weâ€™ve now got a deal for those areasâ€¦ it was always a dream of mine to put a record out there!
Your sound is incredibly raw and emotional. What musical artists would you say that you draw influence from?
Iâ€™d grown up listening to more emotional music. Storytellers like Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Joni Mitchell and Laura Nyro, as well as overtly pop stuff like Prince, Madonna and David Bowie. So I guess I naturally combined all those influences. Words have always been really important to me too, I think songs are an amazing way of saying something powerful, itâ€™s just so immediate and Iâ€™ve always loved the way music can reach loads of people in a way a poem canâ€™t.
Are there any personal favorite tracks from the album, or tracks that you feel best symbolize the musical expression of Temposhark as a band?
I really like Winterâ€™s Coming, Not that Big and Blame. Plus songs like Joy always make me smile.
Back in 2006, the band hosted a podcast series and interviewed Kate Havnevik during one of the episodes. How did you guys meet? I know you remixed her amazing track, “Unlike Me,” but can we expect any future collaborations with each other?
We met Kate at Guy Sigsworthâ€™s studio one day. Regarding collaboration, possibly yes. We remixed a song for her already called â€˜You Againâ€™. Kate is really cool, a great writer and Iâ€™d like to write with her one day. Sheâ€™s also a genuine and sweet person, its always lovely to be around her.
I’ve also always been in love with the Temposhark remix of M.I.A.’s “Pull Up The People.” Do you expect to do more remixes in the future for other artists in general?
Yes of course, but weâ€™re quite picky over what we remix as it takes a lot of energy to remix someoneâ€™s song and I think there had to be a strong connection to their music and yours. I loved the M.I.A. remix we did and also the one for French singer Camille. Sheâ€™s amazing.
Past releases have always had strong visuals for cover art, but never members of the band. What was the inspiration for The Invisible Line’s artwork?
We just felt it was finally time to put ourselves on the cover! Weâ€™re really proud of this record. We also felt like this was finally a statement of intent if you will. Like, â€˜hello weâ€™re hereâ€™. Love us or hate us, weâ€™ve arrived. Thatâ€™s why Iâ€™m looking straight out, itâ€™s direct.
You’ve officially played live plenty of times in both the U.K. and the United States…Is there a difference in the fan reception from the countries? The energy and enthusiasm?
Yes there is actually. Both are good but very different. The USA crowds react to different songs and get really excited when Luke played his trumpet live for example. I also think the US want you to really go for it, put on a big show regardless of how big or small the venue. Whereas in the UK, in smaller venues I think people sometimes prefer their artists to be a bit more low keyâ€¦ The one thing that is exactly the same though is the enthusiasm from the fans of our music. Music really does unite people and I think even though weâ€™ve all grown up in different places with different cultures, weâ€™re actually all quite similar. I like the fact that music can show that weâ€™re all the same, we all feel the same thingsâ€¦
I’ve always wondered…was Temposhark a randomly generated name, or is there a more specific meaning?
We knew we had to get a band name and couldnâ€™t think of anything. Then one night I woke up in the middle of a dream and said quite firmly Temposhark. Just like that, I was certain it was the right name, it just felt right. We really liked the idea of music being a weapon, and Temposhark sounded strong and simple at the same time.
I am a huge fan of the works of both Guy Sigsworth and Imogen Heap. In fact, Imogen’s music eventually lead me to find Temposhark! What was it like collaborating with these two brilliant musicians?
Finally, my favorite part of an interview: The spoilers and juicy tidbits. What’s next for the future of Temposhark?
Well the first album comes out last week of March. We should be coming back to tour in April or May. This is all just the beginning! Oh and Iâ€™m not sure anyone knows yet, but thereâ€™s definitely going to be a digital EP for Blame with remixes, plus thereâ€™s a non-album Bside called The River. It was one of the songs we wrote before making the album, and it was recorded in Lukeâ€™s bedroom studio. Thereâ€™s something really cool about that track, that I just wanted it to be heardâ€¦ I love itâ€™s bass line and the lyrics are pretty angry, hopefully people will like it.
Lastly, anything to say to the fans?
Thank you to anyone who has come to our shows so far or listened to our music. The best thing about the Internet is that weâ€™ve actually had a lot of contact with people who like our music, and thatâ€™s why I wanted to do this in the first place. Itâ€™s a way of sharing how I feel about the world and connecting with other people. Itâ€™s been really exciting so far and Iâ€™m looking forward to putting out more albums and touring more over the coming years! Come visit us at www.temposhark.com or www.myspace.com/temposhark.
Additionally, enjoy this exclusive track off of their upcoming album!
Thanks again to Temposhark!