A lot went into writing your favorite song, but how much do you really know about it? This week Seattle progressive rock band Tempul sat down to talk about the first single off their new album, "Your Machines." In between serious talks about the song writing process, the band delves into grabbing balls at Showbox at the Market and how a dream almost lead to it being titled "Jared Buffalo."
Song: "Your Machines"
Release Date: Single released October 2.
When it was written: The first lines of "Your Machines" were written right before New Years 2011, but it took until August or September of that year to complete the song. We didn't finish the recording until about a year later in the fall of 2012.
Where it was written: The first bits were recorded in Mike's parents house on his sister's laptop. The rest was written at our jam space with bits and pieces filled in from home recordings. We were actually pretty skeptical that we could even pull the song off when we first started writing. J.D. (drummer) and Mike spent several sessions, just the two of them, working on getting the rhythm groove down before the rest of the band started putting together the whole song.
Favorite line in the song: "May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back, may the sun shine when upon your face and until we meet again..." Matt actually borrowed this from an old poem called "An Irish Blessing." It's a very
encouraging, positive line which is a bit out of the norm for us.
Which part was the hardest to come up with: The ending - basically everything past the guitar solo. We really struggle with endings. We get so caught up in our writing, the creativity just flows out of us and next thing we know, we've got too much material to pack into one song. As an artist sometimes it's tough to know when you've reached the end of a piece and you've got to wrap things up. This is something we've gotten a lot better at as we've matured. But it seemed like we tried everything there. We kept trying to build it into this heavy rock-out. Matt (singer/guitarist) had come up with an idea that sounded great on a recording, with this great vocal line that went along with it. But we could never get it to sound good in the space so we canned it and stuck the vocal line in a different song.
Eventually, we came up with the come down after the guitar solo. The guitars/bass are in kind of a subtle frenzy there. Each one is doing its own thing on a constant eighth note rhythm. The parts build and eventually they all come together for the last 20 seconds of the song. It's a 5/4 drum groove with a straight 4/4 feel over a 5/8 guitar riff. Sounds way more complicated than it is. We had that little section in our back pocket long before we wrote the ending as a whole. We were saving the best for last and we think it's pretty bitchin.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be: All of JD's drum fills. Jokes aside, nothing comes to mind. We just finished the recording and are pretty pleased with it. If we give it a few months we'll probably come up with a few gripes.
Odd fact about song: The working name of the song was actually "Jared Buffalo" prior to us having enough content to name it "Your Machines". Before we had even started writing this song, Perry had told us all about a dream he had one night. He had dreamt we were at rehearsal trying to come up with a set list for our next show and for some reason we all felt like we were missing one song from the list. After several puzzling minutes Perry finally blurted out, "Oh Yeah! We forgot Jared Buffalo!" With the rest
of us following with "Yeah! That's it! Jared Buffalo!" Perry woke up lying in bed, half
asleep thinking we had this great song called "Jared Buffalo." The ridiculousness of the
song title stuck with us and when it came time to give this song a working name, we gave
it "Jared Buffalo."
What was your inspiration for writing the song: We probably wouldn't connect the song to any single inspiration. We're a very instrumentally focused band and most of our songs are built from riffs rather than a chord progression and lyrics. We all have a bank of riffs or beats in our heads that'd we'd like to put to use in our songs so when we go to put a new song together, usually the best ones win out. That was true with this song. In a way, you could say it was the instrumentation that inspired us. The lines we used to begin to write this song really sparked our creativity. Mike actually wrote several of the bass lines with quintuplets in mind. The riffs are built around notes in sets of five but the way the other instrumentation was built around the lines, everything just ended up as 5/8.
So the original intention wasn't met but it was a moot point. We were still very pleased
how everything came together as a whole.
When was your favorite time performing it live: At Showbox at the Market in October 2011. That was probably our favorite time performing any of our songs. It was
Showbox at the Market! We've played a lot of smaller venues so that show was a big
deal for us. It was actually the first time we performed "Your Machines" as well. After the
show, Matt said we had the crowd by their balls. We're not sure that we'd all agree with
that statement but then again, Matt's really the only one in the band who likes grabbing
other people's balls.
What is the meaning behind the song: You tell us. We consider
ourselves a progressive rock band. Part of our intentions are to create music and lyrics
that can be interpreted by listeners in a way that is unique and special to them. The
lyrics aren't meant to be cut and dry. We each have our own slightly varying opinions
of what the meaning of the song is. But there's a lot more to the song than lyrics. The
instrumentation really provides a storyline as well. To Mike, it's about letting your
worries, fears and anxiety go. The beginning is so calming and relaxing. In a way, it's
a bit meditative ("shut it out, put it out") Let the bad stuff go.
The second verse sets a very positive and uplifting mood. There's the "Irish Blessing" lines in there that really give you some warm fuzzies. When the song hits the bridge, it's gets a little chaotic. Almost like the bad energy you've built up from stress and fear in your life is battling the good energy the first portion of the song has produced. The drum cut-outs come about halfway through the bridge to lead that huge drop into the guitar solo and the lead guitar just cuts through like a soaring spirit, overwhelming all of the chaos. Then, when everything comes down, again that calming mood sets in. You've put the bad stuff behind and it's time to move forward. The rest is just a party.