Nowra metal outfit, Temtris thrashed fearlessly through 2015, testing their fast skills of creating new material, and it has resulted awesomely with their latest album release Welcome to the Asylum.
Launching their fourth album earlier last month, at Sydney’s The Bald Faced Stag, the band played to an audience of fans, who Temtris have described as family.
“There was 150 people in that venue, and that’s a great turn out these days” lead vocalist, Genevieve Rodda reveals, “we like to call our fans our friends as well. We all hang out with them and try to make a family group in a sense where we all get together and support each other…so seeing everyone get up the front and sing along and support us is what makes it. It’s so good”.
Temtris are now currently touring around Australia performing their new music, plus other fan favourites from previous releases. The next stop on the map for the band is The Vault in Newcastle on May 20, quickly followed by Brisbane gig at The Backroom the very next day.
Talking about the set list from The Bald Faced Stag album launch, Genevieve recalls what the band performed on the night, giving fans from other states a glimpse of what to expect when they see them live. “We opened with Enter the Asylum, Mind Games and The Summoning…played Dark Messiah from the old album, Masquerade…and Slave to the System from our previous album (Shallow Grave). We played Night Stalker and Darkness Falling, which are from the new album too; so we had a mix of pretty much new stuff, but we popped in a couple of the oldies just for the fans that have the other albums to sing along to, so it was cool.”
Talking to three of five Temtris band members: Genevieve, guitarist Anthony Fox and drummer Wayne Campbell, at their home studio in Nowra, they give an in-depth look into the production of the new album; what it’s like touring together and what their children think of their music. Ladies and gentlemen, raise your horns in the air and let us Enter the Asylum!
A band with a wicked melodic metal sound reminiscent to iconic bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, Temtris began their music journey sixteen years ago, and have left venues (local and national) after a gig with more and more new and loyal fans. An example of the impact they have on band shirt wearing beer drinking audiences, was at the Bald Faced Stag in April; their first Enter the Asylum show.
“Horns up every song, they loved it,” Wayne says recalling the night of the album launch, “I don’t like to smile when I play, but I couldn’t help it.”
“…we had the Enter the Asylum video up for a couple of weeks before the show as well; so when we fired that song up first, the crowd instantly started chanting and singing along to bits and pieces of the song. That was quite an experience”. Reveals Anthony, “when we got towards the end of the show, there was some other songs that the crowd hadn’t heard before…but by the second and third choruses they were singing those as well. It’s always a good indication when the crowd is making that connection”.
Working on Enter the Asylum last year not only gave the band a new direction for their sound, but also saw the return of their original drummer Wayne Campbell, and welcomed second guitarist Anthony Hoffman into the fold. For Temtris this created a strong line-up, which really shows off what they’re made of musically.
“We’d already decided even before Wayne had said he was going to re-join that we wanted to to write a faster album this time around.” Explains Genevieve, “we just wanted to put a bit more aggression into this album, more drive; and then low and behold Wayne manages to come back just as I say I wanted to do a thrashier album”.
“As soon as I found that they needed a drummer I said, “bring me back home!” Adds Wayne laughing.
“So we took him back, lost puppy; re adopted him”. Genevieve continues, “Hoffman the guitarist is just absolutely amazing on guitar”. She enthuses, “you watch this big guy and cannot believe he plays like he plays when you hear his guitar work. We’ve got two Anthonys now, and they’re both as fussy as each other…We’ve had quite a few people comment on the riffs on this album and the guitar work already, so it says something I think”.
Having left Temtris for a while in 2006, Wayne expresses how overwhelming it is to be playing with the band again; opening up about how he found his way back.
“I love it; I wish I never left years ago.” He begins, “I got sucked into reforming Mortal Sin again and that didn’t work out. The chemistry in that band was never there so I don’t know why I really went back. That failed twice ever since I left Temtris in the first place and that’s when I moved to Queensland and got hold of my kids…I raised them from when they were little and now they’re a little bit older…so I’m back where I want to be and they’re behind me and supporting me with that. I’m just glad these guys took me back”,
Going on to talk about their children, Genevieve, Anthony and Wayne reveals the feedback they receive from them about their music.
“They’re old enough to provide a pretty interesting critique these days”, Anthony reveals.
“They are brutally honest; our son especially”, Genevieve explains. “He loves metal – he’s a big Iron Maiden, Megadeath and Disturbed fan… it feels like he’s stirring me up all the time saying I’m cheesy and our music is cheesy; but then he’ll go to school and show everyone our music and want to talk about our music in his classes. So I think, maybe he actually does secretly like it, just doesn’t want to say it to our face”, she laughs.
“My son has recently converted to metal”, adds Wayne, “but my daughter hates it…she’ll come around”.
Looking at Enter the Asylum, Temtris skilfully wrote each song off the album about a fictional patient living in the asylum world they created. One of their songs The Summoning, for example, is about an individual who believes he is the next Messiah; and ballad track Lament presents a story about the crippling effects of a relationship that ended badly.
“The asylum theme worked well with the songs that we were putting together”, Anthony explains. “It’s a great way to get all those little personalities we know are out there in the world… break them into little sections to turn them into songs you can reference.
“Each one of those rooms was just looking at that little compartmentalised place in human nature and… how far do you need to go with anything in life before it’s considered insanity. We just wanted to put our particular take on it”.
Moving on to talk about what initially inspired the new album, it was revealed that the band built the asylum theme around the title track written by Anthony Fox and Hoffman.
“Hoff had actually written the music for Enter the Asylum and Fox had written the words”, Genevieve explains “…when he named that song… I basically said to them “That’s gotta be the opening track, that’s gotta be the name of the album”. It was so catchy but still metal, with the riffing guitars and duelling guitars. It just became the whole theme”.
Writing and recording Enter the Asylum was a challenge for Temtris too, as they worked to get the album completed by the end of 2015.
“Fox had already written a couple tracks…three or four ideas that were pretty much locked in… I started working with what he had written… putting down my ideas with lyrics and then we started recording; sharing them to Wayne through Facebook until he moved down”. Genevieve reveals of the beginning process of Enter the Asylum.
After sixth months of communicating and swapping ideas through files with Hoffman and bassist Adam Wotherspoon, the band started jamming the tracks and decided on a twelve-month deadline.
“I don’t think I could mentally do that again because it was pretty stressful”, Genevieve states “but the process has produced a pretty amazing album”.
“It was a very tight time frame and we knew we needed serious professional musicians to achieve it”. Anthony explains, “that was one of the realities of what we’re doing. I mean, we all have day jobs, so we don’t get to move into the studio and just camp there for six months… it’s gotta be creation on the fly”.
“…it’s one of the reasons why we have the personnel that we’ve got working in Temtris at the moment because it wasn’t achievable without them”. Anthony continues, “we really wanted to follow up Shallow Grave quickly and solidly, so decisions had to be made and deadlines had to be met”.
Discussing what the band has planned for the rest of the year, Wayne is the first to answer saying “I’d like to gig as much as we can”.
“The last show for our tour is actually Adelaide in August”, Genevieve adds, “we’re looking at maybe booking another one in Sydney just to close the tour off and I guess we’ll take it from there and see what else comes up”.
“We’ve gotta play this album out and then we’ll start looking at writing again. I mean Fox has already started whittling away on other tunes, and I think “no, no! Not already!”
Copyright © Music Mayhem with Mandy 2016
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