With a second UK headline tour of the year kicking off in Liverpool tomorrow these are heady times for the Classic Rock Magazine-approved newbies.
Simon Rushworth spoke exclusively to guitarist Paul Sayer on the back of the band’s RUSHONROCK Rated 10/10 Record Of The Week.
rushonrock: Looking back at this time last year what were your ambitions for 2013?
Paul Sayer: It’s difficult to say. I suppose we always wanted things to go as well as they have done. We certainly hoped that, maybe, it would pan out like this. Really all we wanted was to keep on playing shows and start to play bigger venues and get more people interested in the band. And we knew that we’d definitely put an album out this year – somehow or other! But this time last year we had no idea how we were going to do that. We put the EP out ourselves and we were prepared to do the same with the album – that was a key ambition. I guess that everything that we’re doing now we had planned for 12 months ago but just not necessarily on this scale!
rushonrock: Have you caught a lucky break or is The Temperance Mvement’s emergence simply down to hard work?
PS: Hopefully it’s a combination of hard work and people buying into the music. We could be the hardest working band out there and play 300 gigs a year but if people didn’t like what we were doing then it just wouldn’t catch on. It’s a combination of the kind of music we play and hard work behind the scenes. But I don’t feel as if it’s a lucky break.
rushonrock: Is your live show the key to everything?
PS: The reason we started the band was that we wanted to do something where we could put the music first. With TTM we never feel as if we’re compromised musically and hopefully that comes across when people see us play live. I think people can see that honesty and that belief in our music. We’ve worked very hard but it’s never been an uphill battle because we’ve stuck to our guns and stuck to our beliefs. It’s what all of us have always wanted to do.
rushonrock: Is touring from the bottom up the only way to achieve your goals as a new band?
PS: I think it’s the only way to do what we want to do. A band like TTM has to approach things that way. Obviously there’s a place for pop music and that immediate hit. Going out and flogging your guts out on the live circuit isn’t that important to some people. But from the start we just wanted to do something that was organic and honest. There wasn’t any marketing, there wasn’t really any PR and there was no industry buzz or anything like that. We just wanted people t make their own minds up and we were always confident that would be enough for this band. We wanted a true and solid foundation for our fan base and the only way to do that was to play live as often as possible. We wanted to build something that would be with us for a long time to come. Rather than ramming something down peoples’ throats we hoped that fans would discover us by word of mouth or whatever and that, having found us, they’d stick with us for a long time. As long as they do that we’re committed to keeping our side of the bargain – making music and playing shows. It’s so much about the live show for us. Even the album is an opportunity to capture the live sound of the band. But you can never compare a record to the experience you get form coming to a live show and that’s the most important thing to us.
rushonrock: Have their been any setbacks?
PS: I wouldn’t say setbacks but there have been a few difficulties! Most of us were touring with other people and working as session musicians before TTM got to a point where we could prioritise this band. We had our day jobs and TTM was something we did in our spare time. We couldn’t say ‘Tuesday night is band night’ because three of us would be on different sides of the world. Phil (Campbell, vocals) lives in Glasgow and the rest of us are based in London so that was difficult but we were so committed to making a go of it. We overcame the hurdles. I’m a big believer in turning limitations to your advantage.
rushonrock: So how did you do that?
PS: Using Phil’s situation as an example – when we were writing the record it was challenging because we were all touring and Phil was up in Glasgow. Every so often he’d come to London and in those two days – before he caught his train back up to Scotland – we’d write and write and stay incredibly focused. I’ve been in a lot of situations where everyone feels as if they have all the time in the world and there’s no focus at all. You have 100 cups of tea, a nice little chat and then it’s off down the pub at 6pm. With our geographical situation we simply had to make the most of every minute we got to spend in the same room as Phil. We just wanted it to work so much that we used any inconveniences to our advantage. One consequence was that we recorded the album to tape with no overdubs – if anyone made a mistake then the whole tape was binned or we’d just learn to live with it. Under that kind of pressure we performed really well. There was no other way. We recorded the album in four days and of course that was challenging. We couldn’t go back and change anything. But it’s given the album a unique sound and we’re very proud of that. It’s pretty much a live album. Some people might say that the conditions we had to work in were a limitation but I’d say they made us concentrate on what was really important. We were focused on the overall feeling within this band and the desire to present our songs as honestly as possible. Our friend Sam Miller, who’s a producer and engineer, deserves a lot of the credit. I can’t underplay what he brought to the table because he did such an amazing job in capturing the essence of the band in the studio. He knew we didn’t want to over-think or over-produce the album.
rushonrock: Was it a difficult decision to sign for Earache – or did the fact that you’d be sharing a label with Rival Sons make the move easier?
PS: The biggest factor was that we had a conversation with Dan Tobin (label manager, UK/Europe) and he understood us and what we wanted to do. We’ve all worked with various bands before and we wanted to do things the right way this time – he totally got it, respected it and wanted to help us add to it. That’s the main reason we went with Earache. Of course we knew all about what Earache had done for Rival Sons. They’re in the same area musically to us and I guess Earache have shown that they can work with a band outside their usual roster and make it work well. But we were so impressed with Dan and what he had to say that I’d like to think we’d have signed for Earache regardless of their track record with the Rival Sons. I suppose it’s just slightly more comforting to see how well that relationship’s developed.
rushonrock: With yourselves and Rival Sons plus the likes of The Graveltones and Buffalo Summer, do you anticipate a new golden era for rootsy, classic rock?
PS: I think this kind of music has always been there. It’s been represented in many different ways but ‘classic rock’ – if you want to call it that – has never been away. I think the important thing with ourselves and, say, The Graveltones is that we’re not so involved in the classic rock scene to the extent that we exclude everything else. It’s pretty obvious from listening to the album what our influences are but I listen to a lot of other stuff too and so do the rest of the band. For this kind of music to survive people who are not necessarily stereotypical classic rock fans must be able t find something that they like. What I’d quite like us to do as a band is to make these people feel that they can come down to a TTM show and stand alongside the regular classic rock fans and feel as if they belong there too. There are a few bands out there capable of doing just that. And if the press outside the traditional rock press want to get behind us that’s great. Of course we’ve had phenomenal support from Classic Rock Magazine and Planet Rock Radio but I’d love to be able to bridge the gap and reach out to other music fans. You look at bands like Seppelin, the Stones, the Beatles – they’re all rock bands who transcend genres.
rushonrock: Tell us about the band name?
PS: The name was Phil’s idea. The name originally refers to an anti-drinking movement in Victorian times but that’s not what it means to us. It’s more a message of looking after each other, living within your means and not going to excess. It’s not booze related but a comment on modern society. It’s a comment on consumerism and the fact that some people spend every waking hour on Facebook to the detriment of what’s really important. It’s about thinking about what you value most in life. We have stuff rammed down our throats 24/7 by the media and we’re all plugged into the internet all of the time. The Temperance Movement is a reminder to focus on all of that and cut back on excess.
rushonrock: How good does it feel to be nominated by Classic Rock Magazine as one of 2013’s Best New Bands?
PS: The nomination itself is amazing and we’ve had a brilliant reaction to the announcement. It’s great to be nominated and we’re looking forward to playing a couple of songs on the awards night. Classic Rock has been so supportive from the start and this is just the latest great thing they’ve done for us. We’re in some pretty amazing company but the list itself proves how healthy the rock scene is right now – it’s a diverse list and there’s a lot of talent.