Saturday, September 19, 2009
INTERVIEW: The Temper Trap talks about blossoming fame across continents
Australian and British fans of The Temper Trap, a continent-traversing indie rock quartet from Melbourne, would argue the band is blowing up even if no one knows it. What felt like mounting buzz overseas was transmitted with mostly fuzzy reception over here thus far.
Aside from the prominent placement of “Sweet Disposition” in the the film (500) Days of Summer and word that the band cracked BBC’s Top 15 Sound of 2009, The Temper Trap is still very underground in the States despite possessing mainstream appeal.
The quartet has three different record labels - one in Australia, one in the U.K. and one in the U.S. - since their debut album Conditions was released, excluding the latter country, in May. Its U.S. release date is set for October 13 – around the time the Trap embarks on its first North American tour, which includes a stop at the CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival in New York City.
Radiohead, Prince, Massive and U2 influenced the band’s atmospheric feel and infectious, anthem-size guitar riffs, said frontman Dougy Mandagi.
For those curious about the band name origin, its formation equates to the unusual combination of the members’ favorite song, “The Lady is a Tramp” and their favorite film, The Parent Trap.
Mandagi took time to talk to APOLLO’s CRED in between its busy schedule playing predominantly sold out shows in England this month.
How are you feeling about your first North American tour? Do you see the United States soon being your third home?
We feel great about it. We're optimistic but we're not putting too many expectations on ourselves. America is a totally different beast. As far as basing ourselves there, we've always wanted to live in NYC. I’d move there tomorrow if I could.
How do you compare the crowds at your shows in Australia to those in England?
We don't, they're pretty much the same. Everybody looks the same, dresses the same, speaks English.
Dougy, you’ve said you’re more nervous when playing a small crowd in an intimate setting than when surrounded by millions of spectators. Why is that?
I don't know. Maybe I feel more exposed and vulnerable.
Are you fearful of how Internet buzz can rapidly make or break up-and-coming talent?
The Internet can be a double edged sword, and kids these days go on it for everything. It's scary sometimes. I do find myself checking what people are saying about us on the blogosphere from time to time. It can serve as a good indication where things are at.
Has it been easy to build up your fan base in the U.K.?
Compared to starting out in Australia, it has been an absolute breeze. We've played a lot of shows in the U.K. and I can honestly say there has only been probably three shows where we've played to a half empty room. That said, in no way are we taking all the credit for it. Without the help of some good press, BBC and a few key radio stations, we'd be struggling.
What prompted the decision to move from Australia at that particular time?
It would be an absolute logistical nightmare to try and crack the U.K./Europe market from Australia, not to mention a very expensive exercise. Australia is so isolated from the rest of the world and we just can't afford to fly back and forth, so we figured, let’s move. It made sense.
Where do you guys see yourselves in five years’ time?
Recording better records, hopefully in a studio on the Spanish coastline somewhere overlooking the vast merciless ocean.
U.S. Tour Dates For The Temper Trap:
10/14 - Los Angeles, CA - The Roxy 10/15 - San Francisco, CA - 330 Ritch 10/17 - Seattle, WA - The Crocodile 10/19 - Chicago, IL - The Empty Bottle 10/20 - Toronto, ON - The Horseshoe 10/22 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall Of Williamsburg (Official CMJ Showcase) 10/23 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom (Official CMJ Showcase) 10/28 - Philadelphia, PA - Kung Fu Necktie 10/29 - Boston, MA - Great Scott’s