Hitting High Notes With The Temper Trap

A third (and highly anticipated) album later, their musical disposition is a sweet as ever.

jbe2682-01retOn the 10 year anniversary (almost to the day) of releasing their debut EP, The Temper Trap were somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, making their way back to their old stomping ground of Melbourne after what could only be described as a stellar chapter of international success. Their long awaited Australian tour duly kicks off in St Kilda on Friday night followed by a headlining spot at A Day on The Green in Adelaide, Perth, the Hunter Valley and more.

A couple of weeks ago, in between another set of long haul flights, we caught up with lead vocalist, Dougy Mandagi – this time in Dallas. Not exactly sure when and where he’d be getting on a plane home, the days of organising their own travel arrangements are clearly long way behind the boys who, despite a four year gap between recent albums, have managed to keep a strong hold on the much-eluded rock ‘n’ roll dream since that fateful day at St Jerome’s Laneway festival in March 2006 when they first rose to public acclaim.

This was just the start of a highly covetable list of festivals to come. While Laneway still holds a special place in their heart, Dougy cites Coachella as a definite favourite, while Glastonbury is “OK – good to have on your CV.” His ultimate career pinnacle so far has been supporting The Rolling Stones (naturally!) for their 50th anniversary celebrations London’s Hyde Park – a sure sign that you’ve absolutely ‘made it’ in the music industry.

For a guy who doesn’t come across like a typically gregarious showman, Dougy confesses: “It’s a lot easier to play in front of a crowd that size because there is a detachment.” Live shows are still very much The Temper Trap’s domain and feedback from the live performances since the launch of their third album, Thick of Thieves, back in June has been “super positive”.

Despite over a decade in the business, a couple of hugely celebrated albums and a global hit (Sweet Disposition) that has secured a place in many people’s all-time favourite song lists after featuring in the soundtrack of Hollywood blockbuster 500 Days of Summer, releasing a new album is still ‘a bit nerve-wracking’, admits Dougy. Devoting “three or four years of your life then giving it to the world in musical form, you never know what the response will be like,” he says. Thankfully, the creative labour has paid off and the foursome have produced another ARIA nominated album with the perfect blend of familiar and fresh – 11 tracks of idiosyncratic sounds they have became known and loved for.

“We changed things up this time [and] collaborated with different song writers and producers,” Dougy explains, which include, Justin Parker (Lana Del Rey, Sia, Bat For Lashes), Ben Allen (Animal Collective, Deerhunter), Malay (Frank Ocean) and Pascal Gabriel (Ladyhawke, Goldfrapp).

When asked what makes for a great music collaboration, Dougy understandably can’t quite put his finger on that one magic ingredient. On one hand, he says, it can be helpful when “the two parties have similar taste because you’re operating on same level… Then again, there are people you’d never expect to work with and could make something very different and cool. It depends how far you’re willing to explore outside of the box that you’re used to. You can get results with both.”

An emerging talent that will be joining The Temper Trap at A Day on the Green is YouTube sensation, Tash Sultana. Like us, Dougy also first discovered her online. “I was at a friend’s rooftop party in Berlin [his home city these days] and she said you’ve got to check this girl out, she’s amazing. It was one of those moments when you’re all standing around a laptop going ‘woah, she’s insane’.”

When pressed on who else we should be keeping an eye and ear out for, Dougy said ‘so many’ but specifically he is excited about Lucius, a five-piece Indie pop band from Brooklyn, who Rolling Stone magazine also call “the best band you might not have heard yet.” The Temper Trap aside, of course.

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