English psychedelic-pop act Temples brings Sun Structures to Belly Up on Saturday.
“Our hometown feels like it’s as far away from a city, or any place of culture, really, as far as you can go. It gives you that space away from everything. If we were based in America, we would probably sound even more British.”
This is how bassist and singer Tom Warmsley describes his hometown of Kettering, England. When he started Temples on a whim with his guitar-playing chum James Bagshaw, the two had no idea where the project was heading. They had a better idea once they had a song in the can.
“‘Shelter Song’ was the first song we ever recorded together, before we had any idea what the band was going to sound like,” Warmsley explained to the Reader during a phone interview from his native U.K. “We recorded that song and that kind of paved the way in terms of how we ended up sounding. It was all really born in the studio.”
“Shelter Song” would become the genesis of their debut album, Sun Structures. The disc leans on the psychedelic side of ’60s and ’70s rock, with a Middle Eastern vibe. Perhaps anything George Harrison did with the Beatles after he discovered the sitar or Meddle-era Pink Floyd would be good reference points. It’s a fun album that uses psychedelia as an enhancement as opposed to an engine.
- Saturday, September 27, 2014, 8 p.m.
Belly Up Tavern,
143 S. Cedros Avenue,
$18 - $32
“The one love we share is that golden era of pop music and those weird and wonderful pop singles,” Warmsley said. “Just the style of songwriting there. I think that was the main thing that influenced us. And then there’s so many great new bands. Perhaps they don’t concentrate so much on the songwriting, which is where we may differ from other contemporary bands. There’s a lot of music that is psychedelic which is quite stripped-down. It involves a lot of droning and it is quite heavy. I think the energy of that is great, but for us it was a slightly more complex or articulated approach to songwriting that always interested us. All the layers on a record that you can have.”
The duo transformed into a full band when they picked up Sam Toms (drums) and Adam Smith (keyboards/guitar) after Sun Structures had been released in the U.K. Warmsley explained how the live shows with the complete band have given the songs new life.
“It’s been a real adventure kinda pulling [the songs] apart and putting them back together live. It’s been a real discovery for all of us. The next couple of shows that we’re doing in America we want to fully embellish Sun Structures. I think we’re going to try and play the entire album live and bring each track into its own. Really try to play the entire album reimagined live.”
The band already has one tour down in the U.S. and numerous shows in England under their belt. How does playing in the States compare to the U.K.?
“It’s the city rather than the country as a whole,” Warmsley said. “You could go to some places in the U.K. and we would play to less people than we would in some place like Denver — as we experienced on the last tour. I remember Seattle on our last stretch was really an incredible spot. It’s hard to gauge, really. It’s always such a surprise. The last time we played San Diego, at the Casbah, that was one of our favorite shows on the whole tour. We played L.A. the day before, but it was like a real contrast between the two. I remember us preferring San Diego by far. [The Casbah] is just one of those venues which is just really intimate yet relaxed. Probably because of the venue and the atmosphere. It sort of doesn’t matter what country you’re in, venues that you’re fortunate enough to play kind of hold the magic.”