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Temples - James Bagshaw

James Bagshaw

Words Paul Watson

Temples' frontman, James Bagshaw, talks songwriting, touring, guitar amps, and home-made plugins...

Temples takes you back to the ‘60s, but there’s a fresh angle...
Yeah, I mean, our influences are bands like The Byrds, The Beatles, early Floyd, orchestral music, and definitely Motown, too. That could be hundreds of artists, of course, but the Motown sound is entirely influencial in the record.

What are your musical backgrounds?
Well, we’ve all been in bands before, and I think musically, you go through different stages - it’s what everyone does. The previous band I was in, I didn’t really sing - I did BVs, and since then I’ve been learning how to sing, really. Musically, we’re now at a point in our lives where we want to create something with the charm of the ‘60s pop song, and Bowie world in the ‘70s, so it’s memorable, but you’re not sure why... Not in the classic sense of the word, with predictable chord changes, boring lyrics, and repetitive melodies; we wanted to get the right balance, and hopefully we have done that.

Any recording tricks you’d like to share?
[pauses] We record onto Logic, and I use plugins, but I’m not gonna tell you what they are... Let’s just say I built my own! [smiles] I will say I have a lovely custom spring-made reverb which is great for vocals, and I have a WEM Copicat, which is excellent for nice spatial delays. We’re not purists though, so we do use a lot of digital kit - I just won’t divulge...

Fair enough... What about your guitar amp?
I started using Peavey amps around 2010, and gravitated to the Delta Blues model for its tonal quality and reliability, and also its classic look. It looks like an old amp, but you know it’s going to have the functionality of a new one; and when I first tried it out, I couldn’t believe how it had that vintage sound, and also a great spring reverb. The build quality is really good, and it’s been on tour with me for four years; for a good portion of that time, it hasn’t even been flight-cased, and despite being knocked around quite a bit, it’s still in really good shape.

You use it in the studio as well as on stage?
I do. It’s actually really versatile in the studio, especially with organs, because of its full- bodied, rounded sound; and of course the tremolo is brilliant. What’s good about the Delta Blues in particular is its 15-inch speaker; it’s great for the low end of the guitar, which you often miss on the 2 x 12 cabs. It takes care of the clean bottom end that you can kind of lose with other amps, especially during performances; and on stage, it works really well with all the pedals I have - particularly my octave pedal, which picks up on the bottom end better than anything else.

How do you set your EQs?
I’m actually a great believer in keeping stuff as flat as possible on the amp, as I generally have my EQs dialled in. If I want to get more trill, or create a thicker sound, I’ll just use my guitar. This way, I’ve always got a very even, full sound. Then I’ll use the clean channel to bring out more of the brightness, as the amp already has that lovely low end.

What’s next on the agenda for Temples?
Well, we’re touring all the time. We head off to Japan tomorrow, which we’re really looking forward to, and then we’re in the US for two weeks; and of course it’s festival season, so every weekend for the whole summer we’re busy. Then we’ll be back into Europe, before a big six-week tour of the US, and then I guess we’ll see what happens from there.

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