The Temperance Movement
British Rock ‘n’ Rollers, The Temperance Movement, have released their brand new studio album, White Bear . The eagerly-anticipated follow-up to their 2013 self-titled debut was recorded with producer Sam Miller in London, Northamptonshire and Monmouth and features 10 stomping new rock anthems. Listening to White Bear, it has successfully established The Temperance Movement as a band that you should begin to follow as their future looks to be extremely promising.
What challenges did you feel approaching your album, White Bear?
Phil Campbell: The challenge was to just try to get it done, and on our own. There was a need to get another record done, but nobody was going to help us do it. We had a little bit of money and we asked a lot of favours. We did it in three studios in three sessions with friends of ours we knew, doing it for half the price that they normally would. We had time constraints. We weren’t able to take out six weeks and record an album. We had to do it four days here, a week there, another week another time. The writing of it as well, some of it was written on the road, recorded onto phones and we had to sift through that and pick the best things. Then eventually once we had a dozen or fourteen songs or so, we had to figure out which were the best ones for the record.
Other than the recording aspect, was there a difference in how you approached the album this time around?
Absolutely. For the first album, a lot of it was written before we even had a drummer or a bass player. The first thing we did was get together and write songs before we really had even played a gig. By the time it came to record our second album, we were very much more a band, having been on the road for two years. We ended up with a much more of a collective band and album. It was done in a very eclectic way. There is no kind of key approach that writes all the songs. Sometimes the songs were started with the four guys because they live in Glasgow and I live in London and I would put the lyrics on top. Other times it is just jams and sound-checks, so it was done in a very eclectic way and and we were much more a band.
Out for about a month now, how do you feel the reaction has been to the album?
Having just toured the UK just after it was released, I am feeling the reaction is pretty good. But, that is because I’m playing in front of 2/3 of the people every night that all have a copy of it. In terms of the UK, we certainly feel as if our fans like it, and that is really the only thing that matters. It was a record we wanted to make to show them that what kind of band we really were and what kind of band we were going to become from this point on. There was a real change. The intent with the first album was just to prove that we could still record songs the way it was done in the 60’s and 70’s. There was a huge amount of people that really dug that, the sort of simplistic rock n roll. After two to three years of playing that music you kind of want to do something else. We got into a little bit of fun with the sounds and it was much more an album that was put together with a purpose.
Was there anything about the process this time around that you would want to change next time?
I think it will change next time. We have lost one of the guys who was perhaps from the beginning days right up until he left, very instrumental in the creative process. He was a driving force. There has been a shift dynamically in the group, I think vey much for the better. We have a new guitar player and just from being a different guy has already changed the band, but from what I can see, when we go into the studio again it will be a much different thing to record because we are actually a much different band. You will remember the remaining members kind of draw a little closer together. You make up for the lack of somebody by allowing the talents of the other guys to come through and plus somebody else has joined. In terms of sound I think we may develop a bit further and away from basic rock n roll, but also keeping a bit of that there. Get Yourself Free was really a song that helped me believe it was going to be okay because it was so linked with what we had done in the first album. It was a bit more colourful sonically and was produced a little better, but it was the same sort of thing. I think that keeping the essence of rock n roll there in your music, but playing with it; we’ll do more of that.
What is the hardest part of creating music?
The hardest part of creating music I think is to know what not to do, to know when to stop, to be able to stand back and say that I’ve already got it and that the essence of the song has been captured and I don’t have to do anything else to it. I’m amongst five people who are all excitable, capable and talented – it is very difficult to not let things get kind of lost. Everyone has to have their say, when you might have already got the track. The difficulty is to know when to stop.
Working on tracks, are you ever surprised at how good they become? Are there any that really surprised you on the album?
To me the record wasn’t real to me until it was released. I shied away from listening to it very much until the day of release. I could hear the songs and I thought they were great, but on the day of release when I had the record on big speakers for the first time in a long time, I was really, really proud of it. I just felt “my God, it sounds really good”. I am surprised that we were actually put it together as quickly as we did. We had about six months to do it really, when with the first album we had a lot more time really.
Can you talk a bit about the artistic growth you feel you experienced throughout the creation process?
I think what happens is the artistic growth happens through time of being together, recording together, playing together, traveling together, respecting each other. You get that respect for each other and see how good each other are. Artistically as you being to realize the capabilities of people you’re working with, if I’m writing something, I already have in my head what everyone else can do with it. Originally with The Temperance Movement, I didn’t have that. None of us did. Our scope creatively was limited. Now after two albums and three-four years of touring, that has changed. We’re much more involved with each other and we know each other better, respect each other and understand each other. So, artistically we have grown as a unit.
What expectations do you have for yourself when you’re creating music?
I think you put expectations on yourself to try and surpass yourself all the time; you try to do better than you have already done and without losing yourself. I think you just feel as if you have got to try to do it without losing the essence of what you do.
At this point, what do you value most about your experience in music?
I value the band because as individual people and as the band itself because it has allowed me to be the best I am. It has given me the chance to be the best of myself, which is essentially a singer, really. It has also given me great scope to create and call upon all the talents I have. Within this group it has really given me the opportunity to be happy, and to know what it is like to be successful and in something that works as opposed to being in something that doesn’t work. For years before, so many times trying, so many different records and different groupings of people, it didn’t work. To find something that does is very, very valuable.
What are you looking forward to most for the rest of this year?
I’m looking forward to touring and the chance to get to tour more in Canada and America and to take the music a bit further, bring in some tracks we have not actually played yet. Also, I think basically to get to the end of the year and to survive it, really, without losing touch with my home life.
Do you have any final thoughts?
I’m very grateful to be able to talk to the readers of popYOUlarity. I hope that you like the record or at least take the time to listen to a couple tracks. Listen to Get Yourself Free and A Pleasant Place I Feel and you’ll get a bit of a feel for what we are all about. Check us out on Youtube to be able to see more about what we do. If you see us live, the recordings are as Eddie Vedder once said, caged animals and on stage they are free.
+ Debbie Fettback