Interview: Sweet Temper Chat About Their Self Titled EP
Naarm/Melbourne-based neo-soul band Sweet Temper have just shared their self titled EP – produced by guitarist Nick Robertson, mixed by Phil Threlfall (Illy, Bliss n Eso) and mastered by Andrei Eremin(Hiatus Kaiyote, Tash Sultana). We caught up with the band to find out more about the EP, inspirations, songwriting and more!
Congratulations on your debut EP! How does it feel to have the record finally out?
It’s an amazing feeling! Many years of hard work went into creating this debut release and we are so excited that people can finally hear it.
What was the main inspiration behind ‘Sweet Temper’ and do any tracks in particular resonate to the core message behind the collection?
The whole project began as an experiment in combining different genres and moods into a cohesive whole. To that effect, the whole EP is kind of a mission statement for the full breadth of sounds we are willing to explore, from straight ahead neo-soul to hard rock and everything in between. The song that probably best reflects these musical juxtapositions is ‘Mirrors’, which has about a 50/50 split of light and dark in the arrangement. Additionally, Abbey’s lyrics on ‘Better Than You’ really set the tone of what we’re going for with themes of toxicity in relationships, and more so the broad spectrum of emotions within those themes and is really a snapshot of the midframe we were in at the time.
How do you approach writing as a band and developing the instrumentation behind these arrangements?
It varies from song to song to keep things fresh. Usually somebody will bring in an idea — a riff, a beat, a mood — and we’ll play around and experiment with different permutations of that and gradually put together an arrangement. Early on, most of the songs on the EP were written during lockdowns so we were sending voice memos back and forth of ideas we liked and we would gradually assemble them into a demo. Once we have the demo we usually play it as a band and fine-tune things from there. Sometimes songs will go through several different drafts before we are happy with them. Abbey then has this uncanny ability to match the narrative arc of her lyrics with the rising and falling action of the arrangements, which helps to tie everything together into something cohesive.
The EP was produced by your own Nick Robertson – how did you approach recording and producing this particular record?
We had the pleasure of recording drums and vocals at ‘The Base’ in South Melbourne on various busy days over the course of a couple of months, with Phil Threlfall and intern Dash Richardson (Nick’s housemate and long-time friend of the band) overseeing the engineering side of things. All of the guitars, bass, and keyboards were recorded at home by Nick and Dash using digital amp sims and the like to save some money. Nick actually did two passes of the EP on guitars, but deleted the entire first because he wasn’t happy with the tones. His role was largely overseeing the whole project and keeping it focused on a wholistic vision; there was always a risk with such a genre-blending and dynamic release that things would collapse into an incoherent mess. To that, we owe full credit for the lush polish of the EP to Phil Threlfall for the mix and Andrei Eremin for the master. At that stage, we just let the experts do their work. Nick spent a fair bit of time in the studio with Phil during the mixing process, with a focus on polishing the finer details of the mixes and adding little bits of sonic candy for more intent listeners. Andrei’s past work with Hiatus Kaiyote and Closure in Moscow inspired so much of the overall sound of the EP that there was no way we couldn’t at least try to get him involved in some part of the process. Thankfully he agreed to master the record, which added that final cherry on top and made it fulfill the sound we had in our heads from the beginning.
Now that the EP is out, what are your plans to celebrate the release?
We have our launch show at Bar Open in Fitzroy on the 29th of September. That’s definitely going to be a party, and we’ll finally be able to share these songs in a live setting. From there we want to gig as much as possible and embrace the fun parts of being in a band, because we all know that releases are stressful!
Any final words that you’d like to leave readers with?
Thank you for all the loving support for this, our debut effort! We are anything but finished and there will be far more excitement to come. With our breadth of sound, there will be something for everybody.
Sweet Temper’s debut EP, is available now, everywhere.
EP LAUNCH SHOW
FRI 29 SEP | BAR OPEN, NAARM/MELBOURNE VIC