“One minute we want to be Dolly Parton, the next we want to be Pearl Jam…” - hmv.com talks to The Temperance Movement
Back with a new album and a brand new line-up, we chatted to The Temperance Movement frontman Phil Campbell about making new LP A Deeper Cut (you can purchase it by clicking on the icon on the right-hand side of the page) and why this is a very, very personal album...
When did you start putting together the songs for this new album?
“The ideas for this record started when we were touring our last album White Bear. Mostly in America and Canada. Matt (White, guitarist) had just joined the band and he was coming up with a lot of ideas. Unfortunately for him most of them haven’t made the record, but he was the spark for a lot of the songs that did. ‘Love And Devotion’ is the oldest one, that was written in Syracuse. Most of them were written in the summer of 2017. We agreed we wanted a record out for 2018 and we just got on with it.”
Did you know how you wanted this record to move on from White Bear?
“We just wanted to make another record without Luke (Potashnick, guitarist, who left in 2015) and Damon (Wilson, drummer, who left in 2016). I didn’t want the band to finish, I wanted to move on and to prove that we could do it. White Bear was a bit rushed and to me, it was too heavy. I wanted things to be looser.”
Why did you want to change things up?
“We thought that we were in the rock market and the rock market is a lot heavier than what we do. We were thinking that bluesy and soulful rock music isn’t popular anymore, it doesn’t matter how much we like it, you just have to scream and that gets you on the bill at Download. You’re either heavy or you’re sugary sweet pop and we sit proudly in the middle of those two things.”
“White Bear was us trying to heavy it up and we made mistakes. Then Luke left and that gave us freedom. We liked things being mellower, so some of it is quite mellow and some of it rock and roll. But that’s what we are. We’re both those things. One minute we want to be Dolly Parton, the next we want to be Pearl Jam, that’s what The Temperance Movement is.”
How did the new line-up change the way you worked? Luke was a big part of your sound...
“It’s a completely different dynamic. At first, it felt like we were trying too hard, trying to fill a gap. But Matt has got completely different skills and new enthusiasm and that’s been great. When Damon left we were glad, he was so miserable, we just told him he could go, that it was fine. Simon is happy to be here and so good. It feels like a new band, we want to be close and we want to make great music together. It fed a lot into how the record was made.”
You did the album with Sam Miller again, this is your third record together, why do you keep coming to back him?
“He’s a brilliant engineer and a really good foil in the studio for our egos. Sometimes we can be quite colourless in our imaginations and he’s brilliant at helping with that. I think we’ll do the fourth one with him too. We like this relationship, you look at how Brendan O’Brien did so many records with Pearl Jam or how many times Steve Lillywhite worked with The Police and you can hear how in sync they are. You get chemistry when you spend so much time with a producer and we love that.”
What kind of album is this lyrically? Is there a theme to the songs?
“It’s a very honest record. They’re always about my life, what’s in my head and my state of play. The opening track is about going to America and how carried away I got and struggling to come home. ‘Built-In Forgetter’ is an old song, I wrote that before The Temperance Movement, it’s about an ex-girlfriend. ‘Children’ is about my home life now, ‘Backwater Zoo’ is about Glasgow and my little girl, how she reminds me of what it’s like to be young and carefree. ‘Higher Than The Sun’ is about Luke and Damon leaving and being sorry that we didn’t get to do more. ‘Another Spiral’ is about Roxy, my daughter, and how she often has nightmares and calming her down. There are so many moods and textures. It’s a very, very personal record.”
When did you settle on the title?
“The title actually came first. Nick (Fyffe, bassist) said to me ‘I’ve got a great title for you, A Deeper Cut’, and I thought that was great and so I wrote a song with that title. It was the best steer we had for the new record.”
Finally, how’s your live set coming together? You can’t play everything now...
“We’ve been rehearsing it. Sometimes you can’t imagine a song working live and then you try it and it’s amazing. We’ll feel our way into the shows. We’re really looking forward to playing the new songs, it’ll be the majority of them and a few old favourites.”