From left, Tom Walmsley, Adam Smith and James Bagshaw are Temples. (Courtesy Matt Clarke)

Temples build ‘Hot Motion’ in deluxe studio

Frontman James Bagshaw builds sound space from scratch

Temples frontman James Bagshaw has a lot riding on the band’s new third effort, “Hot Motion.” For starters, he’s had to fight to be heard in the underwhelming English town of Kettering, he says, “which just gets more dismal by the day.” Plus, his fellow members have parallel careers to rely on, financially: keyboardist-guitarist Adam Smith has a master’s degree in music and drummer Tom Walmsley earned a degree in journalism. In the meantime, he was unemployed for several years, spending every waking moment teaching himself the latest recording techniques. To achieve the dense, dreamy psychedelia he imagined for “Motion” songs “Monuments,” “Holy Horses” and “The Howl,” he spent two years constructing a top-flight home studio for the grandest album possible.

You were dead serious about this studio, right?

Yeah, and it’s a former outbuilding, is what they call it. I think that 300 years ago, it was used as a dairy. It’s abut the size of two English garages, or maybe half of one American garage. And the great thing about it is, with any studio as a recording space, you don’t want stuff to be parallel and in perfect straight lines, because that causes tons of sonic problems. Whereas if you’ve got limestone and really thick walls, straight away you’ve got a great sound diffuser. So I can basically fit all my gear into the room, but it’s not echoey. There’s life to the room, there’s ambiance, but it’s not detrimental to playing or recording music.

What all was involved in the process?

Essentially, it started with replacing the roof — it was this horrible corrugated-iron thing, all rusted through, so I had it replaced, then insulated the ceiling, then poured a concrete floor and added some special doors so you could open it up when it’s nice weather out and let the fresh air in. So it’s not like some stagnant space. I had to put a dehumidifier to get rid of all the moisture.

Did you come across any strange animals or arachnids that had claimed the place as their own?

Well, I still get the odd spider. But when the roof was taken off, it flushed a good deal of its inherent ecosystem away. But there weren’t that many insects, no nests of pigeons or anything.

When you were on the dole, you really studied sound, it seems.

It’s funny. I got 50 quid a week, and I’d borrow cigarettes and save all my money, just in case something came up in a pawn shop — a pedal or an old sampler — I could then have something else to play, something new to create sounds. So even though I was unemployed, I wasn’t lazy. I was trying to be creative every day.



Where: Independent, 628 Divisadero St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15

Tickets: $27.75

Contact: (415) 771-1421,

Pop Music

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