Circuit Sweet Interview, Feature, Reviews

Temple Complex ‘Self-Interest Behaviour’ EP Interview Special

June 17, 2015

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At the start of the month we introduced you all to the talented Temple Complex.

After dropping his first track ‘Eat Flowers’ and revealing this new outfit, Joshua Lamdin is now just days away from releasing his debut EP.

An experimental multi-instrumentalist who is also known for his involvements in bands such as Aulos, Black Elephant and The Anomalies.  Josh under the moniker Temple Complex has indulged in a intellectual solo creation and produced a quirky, refreshing and truly substantial release- his most immersive and compelling work to date. Temple Complex is described as being a personal project of musical expression focused on experimentation, honesty, depth and progression.’Self-Interest Behaviour’ reaches out and provides such emotion in a boundary breaking deliverance.

Temple Complex has been a journey for Josh and we’ve waited patiently for all to be revealed. With the EP release date looming (20th June) we spent some time with Josh to find out more about this record, where he drew the inspiration, his collaborations and what to expect from ‘Self- Interest Behaviour’. 

You’re no stranger to the site at all, we’ve interviewed you a few times before for your work with Aulos but for those that aren’t familiar with your work please introduce yourself and how long have you been playing/performing live?

Certainly. My name is Joshua Lamdin, I was born in Bristol a bit over 22 years ago and I’ve been playing music for about 8 years so far. I started with the guitar around the age of fourteen in High School in Hereford and I began playing live shows with Aulos on bass in Summer 2010 before moving on to drumming for the group shortly after.

You’ve been working hard behind the scenes for some time now and you’ve already accomplished so much but only recently have you revealed the new outfit and the forthcoming release. What’s the story behind the formation of Temple Complex

Temple Complex came about out of a need I felt to make a record on my own terms. By 2013 I had been through more than a few attempted bands trying to put a project together more to my sensibilities, but not one of them made it outside the practice room. Often the hardest part about putting a band together, and often keeping one together, is just getting everyone in the same room at the same time. People had other projects that were going off, I was working full time for no money in private healthcare and trying to keep up with school and what little life I had in general. It just kept not happening, baiting my creative frustration to the point where I felt like the only way I was going to get something done was if I did it myself.

I had already been writing my own songs for a while and was hungry to put ideas together. August of that year I used a tax rebate I had earned for a new computer good enough to record my own music on and decided I would make an EP. The identity of the project didn’t come together until quite some time after I had started recording. The aesthetic and feel of the project had to be as well thought out as the music, and lot of time was spent studying and soaking in information before it came to be.

What are your main influences that you’ve portrayed within the style of your music?

To sum it up in one word, independence probably more than anything. It might sound odd to some, but this project was about making some power for myself. From the outset and prior to starting this project, the artists and people who’ve been most influential to me have been those I felt stayed true to their progression and creative course despite whatever the stylistic or cultural trends/ norms of the time might be. This perhaps explains a little why the experimental sounds of Aulos were so appealing to me at 17 In the context of Herefordshire music scene, it really was like nothing I had ever heard before.

Flying Lotus, Bjork, King Tubby and Mingus were just a few musicians whose careers I really gathered a lot of inspiration and aspiration from early in the project. Some more subtle influences which really fed into the whole process as well were my interests with History and society at large. I talked about the soaking information informing the identity. The inspiration for the name, a lot of the imagery and the feel of the project came from researching ancient cultures like the Neolithic, Sumerian and Nubian. By the end it was things like the teachings of Malcolm X that were really keeping me inspired and focused to bring this to release. I don’t know if you can hear all that in the music but these were definitely things that pushed me along the way.

When you sat down and Temple Complex was born, what did you originally want your solo music to convey and do you think you’ve achieved this?

I could only wish that it started with such a clear idea. I couldn’t articulate why I was setting out to make a record, I felt it was time. I wanted to create. To begin with my mind wasn’t focused on the themes or messages I wanted to convey. Just a hunger to get some shit done. I had ideas, riffs, progressions and bits of songs overflowing my brain and that initial incentive was just to put chisel to stone.

There are definitely thematic concepts I’ve put together on this record in an effort to add my piece to a dialogue. But as my first EP this was just as much about making a playground for me to freely experiment with my ideas while at the same time making something I hope is cohesive and memorable. It was a massive learning curve for me just to get to this point and despite having released records with bands in the past, I’m still learning everyday organising things to put this EP out. I don’t believe it’s a perfect work by any means, but it is entirely me and something I did to the best of my abilities. I think it achieves that and I can only hope those who hear it think the same.

The EP was written, recorded and produced by yourself, how did you find having such control and vision over every detail of the record?

While doing it on my own was really conductive to my work ethic and stubbornly independent personality, it was really difficult and I put a lot of pressure on myself throughout. As I said it was a huge learning curve, there were a lot of things I didn’t know how to do when I started recording. I’d played with music software here and there over the years but I’d never mixed a full song, composed in a DAW or been responsible for every sound. At the same time I’d never had to engage fully with the other side of the music, considering the artwork and identity or editing a music video.

I underestimated the amount of work I needed to when I started and there were certainly times where it seemed I might’ve bitten off more than I could chew. Getting through that meant not rushing for results, and allowing myself as much time as I needed to learn and overcome to the necessary challenges. There were things I should’ve done better and mistakes I’ll look to improve on next time, but that’s part of the process of making any kind of art.

josh

You began writing ‘Self-Interest Behaviour’ back in December 2013. Enlighten us on your writing process.

The first thing was to draw out the ‘shape’ of the record. I feel making a record is about creating a journey and the initial step was deciding how I wanted that to flow dynamically. Was it going to start from a big dynamic? End on a small one? Where was it to be dense? Where was it to be light? I had intended to do a four track EP to begin with, but by March about 3 tracks were written and gaps were already showing themselves in the context of the ‘journey’ I had drawn out at the beginning. By the Summer of 2014 I had 6 full songs and a couple of interludes.

The songs really wrote themselves, some a little easier than others but I started from a point of working out “what sounds cool to me?” Which developed to “what are the songs asking for?”

I never had any intentions for the direction of Eat Flowers. I started with one riff on guitar and the more I played with it the more I felt this Motown-esque flavour it was speaking to. On the other hand, writing tracks like Pocket Geography became quite a journey in themselves. I had to leave some songs for months while working on others until I felt naturally pulled to finish them. As with anyone doing anything creative I hit blocks while writing consistently, learning quickly that the times I tried to force myself through them, I wasn’t writing material that stood up the rest.

From the writing process, the recording process followed -Tell us a little about your recording for the EP and how you’ve managed to get to the point of a flawless debut release

While I had picked up some recording techniques over the years, I’ll be the first to admit I’m really a novice at that side of it. As far as tracking the instruments, to compensate for my lack of knowledge in production I focused on capturing the best performances I could. During the writing/ demo process things were roughly mixed on the fly so I could get the best sense of the arrangement. When the song had been written, I practiced and re- tracked the parts over the finished structure.

The EP was mostly recorded with 1 SM57 microphone and a DI into a 2 channel interface. The guitars, synthesisers, strings etc were all performed and recorded myself. I sampled affected guitars to create synth sounds and fill dynamics where I wanted the level of say, horns or string section, but didn’t have those available to me. I’ve been playing drums for several years now but unfortunately never had the money or space to own a drum kit of my own. It wasn’t a problem that I had the means to solve quickly and didn’t want to let that hurdle stop me. I wrote all the drums on my lap and meticulously programmed them with as much detail as I could, keeping conscious of right and left hand strokes, ghost notes and such. Then deteriorating the samples slightly to take away that very polished MIDI sound. It was probably the most arduous part of the recording. With the exception of the drums and a few synth tones, 90% of the record starts from raw audio I performed and recorded myself in untreated rooms at home. This made the final mixing process, which I did over a 2 month period, quite difficult but very productive. I had moved house over the course of the process and picked up plenty of bad mixing habits in my ignorance. In that time I really learnt a lot about post- production. I want to thank my friend Joe Williams for all his advice, he’s a great bass player and up and coming producer. His technical knowledge is really impressive and I’ve picked up some tips from him that really refined that process for me. In terms of finishing the music after being with it for the whole time, it wasn’t so much a case of there being a definite point where I could say, “I’m done!” You mould, work and battle a mix until you feel there’s nothing else you can offer it. I was pretty strict on myself during the final mixing; it didn’t take long to work out my ears were most on point in the morning. I’d cut off mixing time at around 7 no matter what. It was all so chopped up between going to work and life in general, what little time I did have to commit to it had to be really quite structured.

What does the final finished EP mean to you and what do you feel it captures?

As the first record I’ve made I can truly call my own, this release really means a lot. At this point I’m pretty tired, I’ve heard it so much the musical statements on the EP might not be exciting me as some of the newer demos I’ve been working on. But the songs themselves and the record as a whole really encapsulate a time when I was really trying to do everything and be everything I thought I was supposed to be to meet all my responsibilities to the best of my ability. That all crumbled away and left me over the course of the year despite my efforts,and for a while finishing this EP seemed like all I had left. Having put the best of my efforts into this and to be able to have the power in this particular situation to bring it to completion despite everything that’s happened is a big personal step.

What are you hoping will arise for Temple Complex from this release?

Part of the reasons I kept this project so under wraps and didn’t talk too much about it is because I wanted this first statement to set off as a strong foundation for my future work. Hit the ground running with a final product I’m happy with, where the imagery and identity are set to grow.

It’s exciting and nerving putting it out because of course as I have no control on what listeners will think! But I really tried to remain aware of that and not let what I thought people wanted to hear dictate how the songs should feel. This record was made for my own well being and I feel honoured that anyone should want to hear it. I really hope people like it but I know that’s not for me to decide. Right now I’m just trying to make sure it’s in the right places for people to find it.

Which has been your own personal favourite track taken off the record?

That’s a tough question. They’re all my children in a sense, but Orthodillox is my jam, I broke my initial fear of singing on that one. Eat Flowers has a pretty special place too just for the way that song came together.

You recently dropped the first single and preview for the record Eat Flowers’ alongside a music video for the track. Did you have much input into the film?

When it came to really thinking about the visual aspects I gave the reigns over to my sister. She’s a really good artist and we’ve been sharing a flat for the last couple of years. Thinking about that side of it was really new to me, while I’ve always had an interest in art I didn’t know how to articulate what I wanted. Her knowing me so well, and hearing me making this thing through the walls for all of last year put her I think in a really good vantage point to step into the project and figure it out. She kept my input there the whole time and once we had found something that worked and we were liking the look of, filming the Eat Flowers video happened really quickly. Naomi knew how to make everything we wanted and we found ways to combine it with what I was doing musically, hence the newtonian fluid in the bass speaker and such. We filmed it over the course of 2 or 3 days and I edited the video with Naomi over about a week or so.

Eat Flowers came as a surprise to us, hearing your vocals for the first time. You’re a solid member of an instrumental band and you’ve played with other acts but never have we heard your voice. Was this a completely new direction for you?

Yeah totally. I’d never really done any singing before this project. I was pushed into doing a little backing vocals on the last Black Elephant record I was involved with but prior to that never. It got to the point in writing for Orthodillox, it needed a vocal melody and I was the only one in the room. After that worked out ok I started demoing my vocals over Eat Flowers with the intention of someone else singing it, but after some encouragement from a couple of peers I decided to stay on it. Like any new instrument it was really difficult, and still is, acknowledging my breathing and tone etc. Playing music for so long, learning what the notes sound like, my relative pitch was ok which gave me some confidence to keep trying. I’ll be working out the technicalities forever I’m sure.

What did you get from singing your own lyrics which perhaps you don’t get from being behind a drum kit/ playing a guitar?

It’s definitely a lot more exposed, and your vulnerabilities can come forefront and centre very quickly. In that respect there’s a lot about using my vocals that still scares me but again it allows me the independence to speak for myself. The most time went into the Eat Flowers lyrics because I was the one singing them. I don’t know if I enjoy it in the same way I do guitar or drums, it’s such new and close territory I don’t feel I have that fluency where I can just explore freely. But it’s something I plan to use a lot more and by doing it I can now start writing with my tone of voice in mind.

You’ve teamed up with an array of talented singers on the record- How did working with Daniel Garland, Sam Meehan and Aisling Trafford arise and why were they the ones for you?

Working with each of those guys really pushed me out of my fear of singing and I learnt a lot from going through the process of collaborating with each of them. I recorded each of them before I had even considered using my own voice. These were the friends I knew were talented and had worked with in the past, either in bands or youth workshop projects.

Listen to the latest track to be unveiled ‘Dolmen’, featuring Daniel Garland of Black Elephant here.

I was writing and arranging these pieces and the more complete they became the more they called out for a certain vocal feel. For example, I decided very early on Sam was the person for Anthrophocene with his soft falsetto and lyrical ability. While Aisling, with her technical ability and affinity for progressive music made her the perfect singer to collaborate with on the many changes of IWNDTWWSE.

The physical release is due June 20th on CD and cassette and we are honoured to have them in the circuit sweet store. As with the entire process of the record through to the format you’ve done it all yourself and stayed true to your DIY mentalities. Why is this important to you?

Thank you! The honour is all mine, really. If it wasn’t for that DIY ethic as a mentality that’s always been central to underground music, I wouldn’t have any of this ready today, Aulos wouldn’t be the band it is; I’m not sure where I would be! It’s as true of life as it is the music industry, if you don’t have the means or the systems of support around you, you’re left with yourself to depend on to get things done.

Tell us about your song titles and the name of the EP, where have these come from?

As I mentioned before while the focus of the record was about expressing musical statements, I played with thematic concepts for the dialogue I was trying to add to in reflection of the experiences I was facing. The title relates to the behaviour we all engage in as animals. Self – Interest as a behaviour isn’t about selfishness or altruism, it can be defined as eating, breathing etc. I feel part of wide culture we live in today redefines that, how pervasive is this ideology of objectivism? When we see our social behaviours as necessities of self – interest behaviour, where does that leave us? For better or worse? Economics used to be understood as the study of distribution, consumption and production, now it’s about studying scarcity. It’s not something I felt I could answer in real detail but having been a bit repulsed by what I’d learnt about it and how I thought it was rearing it’s head in the immediate culture around me brought it to the front of my mind for a lot of the writing process.

Most of the song titles and the record title came to me in my readings and research. The words that jumped out at me off the page, as did Temple Complex. So Anthrophocene means the time when human actions have had big impacts on the environment, it’s the time we’re living in today and that’s what the song relates too. That came to me out of a really interesting newspaper article explaining this new epoch we’re in. Pocket Geography is how I’ve described which pockets my things go in daily and is about priorities. While the act of making sure everything is in exactly right pocket everyday is pretty simple and probably a bit OCD, those words I’d used to explain it for years got me thinking about the order in which we place things. IWNDTWWSE comes from an Ayn Rand quote, “I will never die the world will simply end,” where she paraphrases Badger Clark’s poem, The Westerner during an interview. Me and Ash referenced the poem for lyrical ideas on the track. As a closing comment for the record and the theme covered, I’m really happy with how that one came out, particularly the end.

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You had the artwork ready for Self-Interest Behaviour a long time before the record was finished. Tell us a little more about the incredible record cover.

So that record cover was first drawn early last year by my sister. She had another small art piece she had been doodling, the geometry was kind of similar and I was definitely drawn to that central circle made of pattern. I asked her if she could redraw it specifically for my record and she did an amazing job. That was another bit of incentive towards finishing the EP too. I had that cover before I had a name or even all the songs.

I owe Naomi big thanks for taking to the project so quickly and putting so much time and energy into it. I learnt a lot about the visual side of things from her and we definitely intend to keep collaborating. Her skills are constantly improving and I can’t wait to see what she’s ready to do by the time the next record’s done.

Mark Hoy

Mark Hoy

As mentioned you’re known for being the hardworking drummer in Aulos, stepping out to do your own solo thing is brave and very rewarding but how did the entire temple complex process from writing to recording differ from your work within Aulos?

On paper Aulos is a DIY punk band and has pretty much always functioned as that. The style has come out of mainly Oli’s writing and us jamming things out in the rehearsal room. However in not recording for so long due to distance and finance, our focus for the last few years has been solely on how those songs are represented live. So our energy as Aulos for the last few years has been totally focused as a touring band, the unfortunate part was not putting that into practice consistently due to work and school commitments for the both of us. Temple Complex is different from that as I’m not putting those pressures on myself, right now this is about making records on my own terms. While it comes with all the challenges of being the only one responsible, it leaves me free to decide for myself what the direction and trajectory of the project will be. In that respect Temple Complex isn’t like anything I’ve done before.

For anyone else in the same boat as you, writing, recording and producing a record on their own- is there any advice you can give?

Get to know your process, a little discipline goes a long way but it’s being aware of when you’re working comfortably and when your not. Especially over a project that can take a long time, where you’re not going to feel psyched for it every single day. Working out things like I write more naturally in the evening and mix more effectively in the morning were really important to refining the process and those are lessons I’ll definitely take to the next record.

Other than that, just fucking do it, go for it and don’t stop until you think it’s done. It’ll force you to practice new skills and step out of your comfort zones and those are pretty good reasons to do something.

Will you be taking this outfit out for a live spin, any shows planned?

Unfortunately, no not at this point. I don’t have the means to put a 5/6 piece band on the road with this right now but it’s definitely on the agenda. At the moment, this project is about making records, and I hope if people enjoy those that will make the possibility of touring this material a bit more feasible.

We wish the best from the EP release but for now enlighten us to what can we look forward to from you in the future?

Thank you! So to follow up with the question above expect some live videos later in the year, I’m as keen as anybody to hear these songs brought to life outside the CD and I’ve been in talks with a band of friends who may be able to help. Over the course of this summer as well as pushing this EP I’m playing with Herefordshire bands Keygreen and The Anomalies at Nozstock as well as Boomtown and a couple of UK venues with the latter. Rehearsals are really sounding good so I’m looking forward to that. Other than that I’ve already started writing and recording the second release and have 6 usable songs already, once rehearsals have settled down a bit I’ll be putting real time into getting that done. I’m really excited by the direction this next record is taking already.

And finally any last words?

I’d like to a give huge thank you to Daniel, Sam and Aisling for their wonderful vocals, Gareth Burke of Chemistry Lessons for lending me a few microphones last year, Oli Baldwin for mastering the EP, Matt at Hifi copies for making the product, Mat down the road for his help with the website, Circuit Sweet for allowing me this platform to talk about my work and the support they’ve shown for my debut release, my ma and pa for being exactly who they are and most importantly to my sister for her incredible artwork and support she showed me through the time this took.

A huge thank you to Josh for this insightful, personal interview, we hope our readers are excited as we are to own this flawless album. 

Self Interest Behaviour is due 20th June and we are proud to announce the physical CD release and a limited edition cassette release will be available exclusively via our store- http://circuitsweet.bigcartel.com/

http://www.templecomplex.co.uk/

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http://soundcloud.com/templecomplex

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