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The return of TEMPLES

TEMPLES are back on the road in the UK with new LP Exotico released on ATO on 14th April. JAMES BAGSHAW tells JON ‘MOJO’ MILLS about gigging, streaming and 2023

There’s certainly a lot of people that haven’t heard any of the songs from 2019’s Hot Motion live if they hadn’t seen us on that short little run of shows into early 2020. For us to play them live now they bizarely feel like old songs.

Over lockdown people were listening to music more, but the problem with that was they had every song basically ever recorded via Spotify. So as far as trying to engage them with our album released at that time was quite hard. Obviously, the big players certainly got more attention than indie bands. I feel like there’s some important songs on that album. With the new record Exotico out in April the great thing about streaming is that it does open the door to the back catalogue, so I hope those that missed Hot Motion will finally hear it. Also, if we have a song that’s doing well, on Spotify or Apple Music, people who play that then see our discography, maybe not realising we have had three other albums. That is the good thing about streaming. Your back catalogue is always there. On the other hand, as it’s the way that most people consume music now the royalty rates are sadly low, but you can’t really boycott it. Once again, the big players have cut good deals, so it works for them. But that’s not the case for everyone. What’s going on at now with people striking, and quite rightly so, is that the NHS workers and postal service are proving a point. In a way it feels like all of us in The Musicians’ Union should get together and say, “Hang on, this doesn’t actually seem right. Halt.”

There’re probably more younger people than ever listening to our material now, so we’re thankful to someone like Spotify for at least including us on some playlists that listeners have engaged with. That does more for you than a singular radio play. As far as getting you to different audiences it’s so important now. We definitely have followers that have grown up with us, and stuck with us. That’s also incredibly important, because you want them along for the journey. They’re your true fans. What you get with the younger people is that they too become your true fans too, and then carry on and grow with you as a band as well. Certainly with “The Psych Scene”, or whatever you wanna call it, the fests are all  multi-aged. There’re people that like it because it reminds them of the ’60s and ’70s, but there’re also people that it’ll remind them of 10 years ago. And then there’re people who it reminds of now because they they hear, I dunno, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard.

We’re lucky enough to have a worldwide audience, which I wouldn’t have dreamt of 10 years ago when we started all this.  Our first gig after the pandemic was a festival in Spain with 50,000 people. We were on the main stage and played just before Christina Aguilera. We had chats about it before saying that perhaps we should do a warmup gig somewhere, but we decided not to. We just thought we’d go straight in at the deep end onto a big stage. And it was so great. I was initially really worried because I felt like I may have forgotten how to do this. After the first word of the first verse everything sounded good though. It was like, “Ah, okay, this is fine.”  The sun was in our face and we were warm and we’re like, “Ah, this is nice. We’re in Europe, you know, it’s all good.”

There’re more shows  being talked about after our string of smaller UK dates that we’re doing now. It will be festival season, then we’ll probably be going overseas, probably doing an American tour. I think there’s talk of South America, and Japan as well. Then there’ll be a UK tour later in the year. People will have had had time to digest the album by then and can come and see us at some bigger venues. We just wanted to support independent venue week with a handful of little shows, because we couldn’t have done it without them. It’s nice to go back to venues that we played before, and some that we haven’t. It’s going to be nice to see what new independent venues have popped up along with ones that haven’t been on our radar too. We haven’t really spent enough time giving back to our British fans. It’s just so easy to get swept around to different places, especially when you’ve got booking agents around the world going, “We want you to play here. We want you to play there. The next thing you know you’re out of the country for six months.”

James talks further with Jon ‘Mojo’ Mills in issue #137 about the Exotico album and working with Sean Lennon


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