The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Temple Of Lies - Interview
The Rockpit interviews

SI SHAW

TEMPLE OF LIES


Temple Of Lies

It's one of the best feelings in the world when you discover a band in the underground that just blows you away from the moment you hear the first riff. Temple Of Lies is a band from Leicester in England that did just that at the beginning of the year when a copy of their sophomore album "From Sand" got to my ears, it's chock full of riffs and hooks and just leaves you wanting more. So much so that I was really curious about who Temple Of Lies were that I had to talk to these guys and find out where the hell they had been hiding!

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Our original chat with guitarist Jon Scranney and vocalist Si Shaw was held via skype on a stormy afternoon on the Perth side of the world whereas ironically in England where they were, the weather seemed to be fine. They were great to talk to and were happy to answer whatever was thrown at them. I of course, had nothing but good things to say about their new album "From Sand". No bullshit, it is a damn fantastic album and I felt the need to let them know that at every opportunity. Our interview continued via email with vocalist Si Shaw as we discussed everything surrounding Temple Of Lies. As it turns out, despite Temple Of Lies only being musically active in a fairly short amount of time with one previous album "Monuments" in 2013, the members themselves have been active in the music scene for a number of years. So how did Temple Of Lies form?
"The band formed when three members of Konfusion, a thrash/metal outfit from the 90s, decided to get together for a different project. They had already written a load of songs and were happy to continue as a three piece with Jon Scranney on vocals when Simo (Simon Mitchell, bass) played me some of their rehearsal recordings at a party. We were the last men standing and I started singing along to the tracks, making up lyrics that I have since forgotten...it was a good party. Anyway I practically begged for an audition, which Simo found very amusing. The audition must have gone ok, although I found it nerve wracking, as I was offered the position of lead vocals."

"From Sand" comes out in March and is the second full length album from the band. When I first chatted to the guys, it seemed there was much improvement to be made from the first album which resulted in a more finer result.
"The first album was recorded quickly and relatively cheaply. I recall having a couple of hours at the end to record ten vocal tracks. At the time we weren't unhappy with the results but it soon became clear that some of the tracks lacked the energy of our live performance and didn't come across as we'd like. It felt like we didn't do the songs justice so we went in to the studio to record our new tracks plus the five we wanted to re-record.
What really changed was our approach. We didn't rush ourselves. We went to a better studio. We had a laugh while still managing to stick to a schedule. The results are much better. That hasn't made us complacent. We always want to improve and get more of our live feel into the studio."


As mentioned before, the band have been musically active in one form or another through other bands for a number of years and while much success has eluded them for so long, it seems Temple Of Lies may finally give them what they have been striving for all those years. Is it the best thing they have done so far?
"I can only speak for myself when I say a big, definite, yes. This is the band that, for me, allows me the freedom to be myself and just blast out the lyrics in styles that I'm comfortable. I've been involved in some fantastic bands and projects over the years but this one feels like a band of brothers."

I don't know much about a lot of the smaller pockets of the music scene in the UK but rock n' roll has always had a longstanding history in a country that gave birth to heavy metal. The band hail from Leicester which sits in the east midlands of England which according to Si, has a hotbed of hard rock, metal and doom bands around town.
"I think the Leicester music scene is a varied and vibrant one. So many great bands are on the circuit, not just straight up rock and metal, doom or punk but great crossover bands with electronic elements. There's also a huge selection of singer songwriters, the list is gigantic. There's a big love of the Clutch and Red Fang type vibes but room for anything you can throw at them. Our songs are developing all the time and so far no matter what we throw at an audience, the response has been overwhelmingly positive."


TEMPLE OF LIES: FROM SAND REVIEW


Touching on some of the songs on "From Sand", every song has it's own flavor and is distinctly mixed with a lot of grungy rock and alternative, with that Clutch and Red Fang feel which seems to be the most obvious comparisons one would make. But most surprising is the track "Fire In The Hole" which sticks out for it's more funky/hip hop beat.
"Yeah, "Fire In The Hole" has a touch of those influences. In the past I've been involved in metal bands that have required vocals with a rap/drum n bass type set of lyrics. It was a long time ago but every now and then the old demons sneak out. Something about fire in the hole just cried out for it. As for the drums, that hip hop type beat always seemed to sit really well with the riffs and gets the crowd moving in a good way."

The album also has a very lively feel, like a garage band performing in some dive bar somewhere on the outskirts of the seedy part of town (descriptive enough?). But capturing a live sound on record is different to actually performing the songs live but my feeling is, the band live for the live shows.
"We absolutely love playing live. The feedback from the audience both during the show and afterwards at the bar have added fuel to our fire. There's nothing like live music. You can watch a live show on your computer or phone but there's nothing like being there and experiencing it in the flesh. We're not ones for just standing about and plodding through our songs. Every gig is a new opportunity for me to get up close and personal during the set. I'll often go to the bar, through the crowd singing at people as I go, order my drink during a guitar solo and then fight my way back to the stage in time for the next verse. Either that or maintain eye contact with crowd members. I've been to gigs where I felt the band were playing just for me. That's what I'd like to give to other people. A personal experience. There's always time for a chat and a hug and one more beer. Having said that, we love the recording process and are looking forward to getting back into the studio."

Coming back to the history of the band members, being in the music business for a long time means picking up a few things along the way. What is it that Si Shaw has learned the most?
"The most important thing I've learned is to enjoy it. I'm naturally very shy but after a few beers and a few bars of the opening song I'm, the happiest I could be. Seeing and hearing a crowd respond to our songs is like a drug. I recommend it to anyone who's thinking of doing it. Once you get over the first hurdle you'll never look back."

Over the years and especially in the last decade or so, the internet has become vital for bands starting out and getting their music out there. It's a platform that was basically non-existant 20 years ago but these days, Temple Of Lies utilise it to their advantage like any other band would. But the principles and ideas of gaining positive attention seems to be the same as they have always been.
"The internet is a massively useful tool for spreading the word. If we were around 20 years ago I think we would have approached things in much the same way. You have to earn your stripes in the local live scene. I find it mind boggling that people can become an internet sensation and their first live gig will be in front of thousands of people. It's like any profession, start at the bottom, learn your craft and work your way up to where you want to be. It might take longer but the fun you'll have on the way will stay with you forever."




The band are working on new material already for their next album and so the subject of the creative process usually pops up when a band discusses writing new songs. With the amount of insanely great riffs on their latest work, it made me curious as to where these riffs are coming from.
"Jon Scranney is the riff machine. He is constantly writing new riffs and coming up with ideas. I also have a large back catalogue of lyrics and themes. Mostly we'll get together to show each other what we've done and I'll chose a set of lyrics to work into one of Jon's tracks. More often than not, we'll have something that fits together so well that it's like fate. Other times I'll make a few minor adjustments to lyrics to make them flow correctly. Then we'll do a home demo in Jon's personal studio. Programme in some rough drums and record bass. We'll all have a listen then try it out at a rehearsal where Alex and Simon (Ball, the new bass player) write their exact parts. Other times we'll just jam something out and start from there. There's no hard and fast rule apart from that we all have to be into it."

The creative process is always different for every band and it's always amazing to me how your influences are used to create the next generation of music. So I couldn't let this opportunity disappear without at least finding out which album Si would of loved to have seen the recording of.
"I could be really obvious and say "Master Of Puppets". That album is just perfect. I think I'd like to have seen Black Sabbath record their first album. They took even less time than us. I think they did the whole thing in eight hours or something. I'm sure each of us would say something different. I'm a big prince fan (believe it or not) just seeing how he works for one hour would change my life and approach to the recording process. He's a multi talented artist with complete control over every aspect of his music. What a place to be in."

As we come to the end of our discussion, one thing is for certain. These guys seemed pretty passionate about what they are doing but just as importantly, super grateful for any feedback that they can get. While some writers and journalists may blow smoke up a band's ass just to get through another interview, I sincerely think these guys have got something. When you come up with a track like "Riff Machine" with it's insanely hooky groove, how can you not dig it? The fact that it's even called "Riff Machine" pretty much sums up Temple Of Lies. I do leave Si with one final question and it's a Rockpit favorite really.
"The meaning of life? ... show your love to people that matter to you. And whatever you decide to be in life, be the 'rock star' of that thing."


For more info on Temple Of Lies, click here.

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Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on February 2016