The Temper Trap eager to meet Pinoy fans
MANILA, Philippines - Among May’s memorable musical “first times” are, one, the debut of “Wanderland,” a day-long music and arts festival on May 18 in Makati City and, two, the coinciding, maiden touchdown of The Temper Trap, a quintet with at least two full-length albums to their name but are best known for their massive hit “Sweet Disposition.”
Essentially an Australian band, The Temper Trap are comprised by Indonesia-born lead vocalist-guitarist Dougy Mandagi, lead guitarist Lorenzo Sillitto, bassist Jonathon Aherne, drummer Toby Dundas, and keyboardist-guitarist Joseph Greer.
Deemed an indie rock band, The Temper Trap debuted commercially in November 2006 with their self-titled, 4-song EP. In June 2009, they released “Conditions,” a 10-track album that was a runaway success due in part to track no. 3, “Sweet Disposition.”
Bassist Aherne, a native of Melbourne who turns 28 on July 16, had a one-on-one phone chat with Rappler on Labor Day or 17 days before his band’s headlining stint at Wanderland 2013.
Here is perhaps The Temper Trap’s best music video yet, for 'Love Lost':
Rappler: How did you wind up becoming a bass guitarist?
Aherne: I grew up around church and seeing the singers and musicians on those Sundays was my first attraction to music. As I got older, I saw my first concert, MTV, [bands like] Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Strokes, and I decided I’d either do music or do volunteer work. [At first] I played guitar badly and Dougy, whom I had known for a long time, said, “I’ll tell you what to play” and taught me a little.
Who are your musical influences and how do they come into play with The Temper Trap?
I’ve never been attracted to the technical side of playing. I’m into those who play passionately and are creative, like The Flaming Lips, At the Drive-In, even The Hives. We in the band all write and have ideas, and our tastes are reflected in our songs at some point. We can safely name U2, David Bowie, and Radiohead among our shared influences.
Did you guys ever envision a particular sound early on and have you met this musical target?
I don’t think we will ever stick to one thing. We will keep sounding different. It has been talked about that we have a lot of different musical styles. I don’t think we’ll ever try to sit still. We’re already working on a new album that should be out either late this year or early in 2014 and in it we’re sounding different again.
Would you agree then that the band is creatively restless?
That’s true. I’m gonna remember that, that’s very good.
The Temper Trap are in full rock band mode in this music video for 'Fader':
In a 2010 interview by Spin, you mentioned that the band had mixed feelings about the name The Temper Trap. How about now?
We used to be called Temper Temper and we were happy with that. But when we got signed, the record label said we had to change our name (a Milwaukee band had dibs on the moniker). We had to do it very quickly, so we came up with “The Temper Trap.” I don’t think there’s a big meaning to that name, and even if others wished we had a different name, none of us are losing sleep about it.
The burning question is: How’s your temper, or the band’s temper?
[Laughs for several seconds] That’s very funny. In all honesty, let me think about that…
What I do like about this band is that it’s not about musical ability but about our ability to get along with one another. We spend a lot of time together and travel the world, and when we stop touring we still want to see each other, and that’s a testament to our friendship.
I definitely have a temper and I’m the more emotional one in the band. [Laughs] But I’m okay.
How has the popularity of “Sweet Disposition” impacted on you guys?
I didn’t realize people would like the song that much. Lorenzo our lead guitarist came up with the riff, Dougy came up with the vocals, and they finished writing the song in two days.
That song has been such a spearhead for us. It landed in so many forums, such as movies (ie “500 Days of Summer”) and radio, it’s played at weddings, Harry Styles of One Direction has its lyrics tattooed on his arm…It introduced us to the world and it definitely changed our lives. It has been a very cool thing.
This is The Temper Trap’s video invite to Wanderland 2013:
What’s your reaction to the positive response to The Temper Trap’s songs?
Personally, I love it when a song has a truth to it, that it’s real even if it’s raw. I love it when a song is anthemic and has a lot of layers. Dougy said that your music finds its true value when you give it away and you see how other people respond to it. So when you talk about those attributes of what the music does to people, that’s when you realize that you’re doing great. We’re very grateful for those compliments.
Finally, you’re coming over. Any message to your fans here?
We’ve talked about coming to the Philippines for a long time. A lot of our fans in social media are from the Philippines, so we’re very excited to connect with them and try to hang out. We’re just thankful for all the support we’ve had from there. I’ve also heard that the [Wanderland] bands that are opening are amazing, so I’m looking forward to watching them. It’s gonna be really cool. Thanks for having us over. - Rappler.com
‘Wanderland,’ an annual music and arts festival that this year features The Temper Trap, Neon Trees, and many others, takes place on May 18 at the Globe Circuit Event Grounds, Makati City. Tickets are available via SM Tickets, Ticketnet, and Ticketworld. CDs by The Temper Trap are available from MCA Music.