On their new album Private Life, New York based electronica duo Tempers (Jasmine Golestaneh and Eddie Cooper) step towards darker territory, fusing elements of post-punk, dream pop and industrial music, resulting in what the band have described as a ‘a successful progression of their cinematic aesthetic into a moodier and more introspective landscape’. We spoke to them about the inspiration behind the record and its tonal shift, as well as the advantages of being in a two piece…
Your new record Private Life is released today – how does the album process initiate for you? Is it a conscious decision to sit down and start writing, or does it happen more free-flowing and unexpectedly?
Eddie: It’s been different for all three of our albums – Services was so exploratory in the beginning, as we were initially just developing our sound and sense of what we wanted Tempers to be. Then Junkspace was an entirely intentional and defined conceptual project, start to finish. Private Life feels like something in between – the album came from us just continuously writing and recording, our intentions not explicitly stated but with our aesthetic already clearly defined.
You’re releasing the album through Dais Records, what was it that drew you to the label, and how supportive have they been in the production of Private Life?
Eddie: It feels like the diversity of Dais’ roster mirrors the energy spectrum contained within our own music; there’s a vision and coherence to their choices, even though the releases vary quite a bit. That’s something we’ve always cared about within our own sound. The label’s been incredibly supportive – we finished the album before signing with them, and they’ve been on board with all our ideas and choices.
To me, both the first two singles, Capital Pains and Peace of Mind evoke feelings of isolation, envy and dejection. Is there an overarching lyrical ‘theme’ to the album, and musically, what led you to edge towards a darker, more atmospheric sound?
Jasmine: While it is an album exploring intimate and shadowy emotions – there is an over arching political theme to the album, isolation, envy and dejection are all symptoms of the dehumanising aspects of our age. A society that is built on greed, competition and injustice will evoke those feelings collectively. There is a reason why mental illness is such a prevalent issue. I think creating an empathetic space for those emotions is healing and unifying. I don’t think of it as ‘dark’, just reckoning with challenging human emotions we all share, and taking the shame out of it.
Being New York based, I imagine you don’t have to look far for inspiration and motivation. Was that the case for this record? Were there any of your local music contemporaries or geographical factors in New York that assisted in the creation of the album?
Jasmine: It is true that I am constantly fed creative stimulation living in New York city, even walking down the street is a high octave event, and there are fast trends for what is new and innovative, which may or may not be that important in the grand scheme of things. In order to make the most out of it, and not get too distracted or swayed by it all, I’ve created a fortress around my internal space, that I feel a strong need to maintain. It’s like an internal city where I can swim through feelings I can’t put into words, fantasies I would never share with anyone, and where my imagination feels uninhibited. My defense and curiosity for this private space must be a psychic response to my hectic environment – so shaped by the imposition of the city itself. I am very inspired by visual art when writing music, so I spend a lot of time in galleries.
I really like the cover art for Private Life, how did you end up working with the artist Elsa Bleda and what was it about the cover image that made you feel it was the right choice?
Jasmine: We found that image while writing the album, and used it as a kind of visual cue as it said a lot about the themes we were working with. What’s happening in that room, behind the mysterious curtain? We imagined the songs taking place within the privacy of that blue room.
What are some of the positives and negatives about creating music as a duo?
Eddie: Creating music as a duo seems ideal to me, but I guess of course I would say that – we’re so used to working this way that it’s hard at this point for me to imagine being with four other people standing around in a studio working through songs together. Over time we’ve really internalised what each other’s instincts and orientations are, such that we can kind of channel each other during the times when we’re working on sections on our own. The challenge, and this isn’t actually a negative, is that there’s no way to hide – if something’s not working or you’re not feeling it creatively, it’s not really possible to coast along.
Are there any plans to tour in support of the album and, if so, will you be visiting Europe and the UK?
We’ll be in Europe and the UK a lot this winter, putting our tour together as we speak. We’re also playing a few shows in Mexico this fall, which should be really fun…
You can purchase Private Life and keep an eye on tour dates for Tempers here
Listen to the audio for Peace of Mind below
Interview by Ryan Bell
Photos via One Beat PR, header shot by Sebastian Mlynarski
25th October 2019