The Temperance Movement are a real breath fresh air with their blues rock fusion and mainstream appeal. The British rockers have been writing music since 2011 and arrived with their highly praised self-titled debut in 2013. Their bluesy melodies along with the impeccable voice of lead singer Phil Campbell make The Temperance Movement one of the best rock bands to come out of the last decade.
The Temperance Movement stands as Phil Campbell (lead vocals), Paul Sayer (guitar), Nick Fyffe (bass), Damon Wilson (drums), and Matt White (guitar). The band’s latest album White Bear was released on January 15th via Earache Records and has also gathered critical acclaim for the band. While on the road for their extensive tour in support of the release, we had the opportunity to chat with lead guitarist Paul Sayer about the songwriting process for White Bear, preparing for a third album and their opportunity to open up for The Rolling Stones.
TSL: You guys just released your latest album titled White Bear earlier this year, which is the follow up to the band’s self-titled debut in 2013. I immediately noticed changes in sound; I heard a lot more variety in influence on this record. Where did the influence to change up the sound come from?
Paul Sayer: Well I think we never felt like we’re a band that kind of wanted to make the same kind of record over and over again, but when we made the first album, we wanted to make a very honest sounding, rock and roll band live in the studio. So we did that in the first record and we didn’t really feel like we needed to revisit it and obviously between five members in the band, there’s a big range of influences and we’ve all been into lots of different music at different times, and it’s just an opportunity to explore some of our other influences– which will happen on upcoming albums as well.
TSL: So what would you say more specifically were your influences for this particular record; any bands or any art that really touched you guys and you felt like putting it into the album?
Paul: I think it’s really hard to think about specific influences because like I said there are so many and it kind of all gets distilled into this one thing, which is the band. Even self-consciously you know when you are writing and recording you are drawing from literally hundreds or thousands of influences at once, but I think kind of an easier way to think about it is that we approached the recording process differently, the second record to the first. On the first we were literally just a band set up in the studio, we pressed record and it was very live. On the second record we had more time and space and just the ability to explore different sounds more, so that was kind of more a contributing factor to the sound on the second record; more than what kind of bands we were growing up on it was more of what we were allowing ourselves to do in the recording process.
TSL: How do you guys collectively decide on changing course, in terms of sound, lyrics and all around musical arrangement? I know it can be difficult to bring up new ideas and have them be rejected if not everyone is on board. So how do you guys make it work as a band?
Paul: We spend a lot of time on the road together and we play together a lot, and so we’re kind of very close and we know each other very well. Everyone also respects each other, so there really isn’t that kind of a fear of bringing ideas up. It’s a very natural kind of free process and we don’t overthink it, we just do it. We don’t analyze it, we just kind of get together and someone will have an idea and we just play. Sometimes you worry about it afterwards and then you go back to your future stuff, and especially when you’re in the studio recording, a lot of ideas get thrown at the wall and some of them stick and some of them don’t. But definitely in the initial writing process we just do it without thinking pretty much. No one is too attached to anything at that early stage so it doesn’t really hurt too much if someone isn’t into it or whatever because you’re just throwing an idea out there.
TSL: What is your personal favorite track off of the album and why?
Paul: It’s really hard to pick a favorite because you know, I’m really proud of the whole thing and your favorite’s kind of change from one day to another, especially when you’re away playing them all of the time. During the show you kind of sign a section off to one of the songs and you get really into playing that song for awhile, then you move off from that, you pick another song and put it in so it’s hard to say.. but I really love “Get Yourself Free” on the record and particularly the actual recording of that, I think we just captured exactly what we wanted to do and its kind of a good song that captured the sound of the album.
TSL: You guys have had some awesome shows over the past year, you guys have toured in support of White Bear but you guys also had the opportunity to open for The Rolling Stones last year at the Orlando Citrus Bowl. How was the experience for the band?
Paul: It was amazing! We got to play some shows with them in Europe in 2015 and then in 2016 they asked us back to play the American show with them. It was everything you would imagine it would be.. It’s just a massive boost to the band and literally the kind of thing you dream about happening and it’s not very connected to the reality of being in a band.. it’s kind of an outer body thing.
TSL: The tour continues for now, where are you guys headed towards?
Paul: We’ve got about two weeks left of shows here in the US and then we go home and in November we’re going to hopefully work in new music. In December we’ll be touring in Germany and then we’ll take a break in the holidays, then we’ll do more European touring and more US touring later in the Spring.
TSL: Is there a specific city you’re excited to play?
Paul: We’ve played a few of them already, obviously we love coming to New York, it’s always a great time for us. Plus Chicago, although it would’ve been nice to spend more time there but we’ve spent time there in the past, which is cool. I think everyone’s really looking forward to get back down south, we’ll end up in New Orleans and eventually Nashville. I think especially at this part of the tour we’re getting to some really cool places. We also met a lot of great people last time we played these towns so we’ll probably have a lot of great crowds coming out at the shows.
TSL: I know it might be a bit early to think about but, after the tour, have you guys decided on what’s next for the band? Will you guys take a break again or will you guys begin writing new material?
Paul: Well I think we’ve already started to think about the next album a lot and we started doing a bit of writing, so it’s definitely on everyone’s mind. But I think the trick for a band like us, and I think there are a lot of bands that are on the same boat, is you kind of need to keep touring but you also need to make new music at the same time, it’s very difficult to do two things at once. We’re not very ready to make new music but I think over the next three months we’ll really start to get stuck into the next album, alongside the touring we already have. I don’t really feel like taking any real time off, I mean we always have a couple of weeks off after long tours like this one but I don’t really see any big gaps in the future.
TSL: Is there any particular direction of where you want to take the third album?
Paul: Not particularly, like we said we kind of know each other very well and even if we don’t talk about it, you always know what the people around you are listening to, in the band or outside and what they are into at that time. I kind of got a rough idea of where it might go, but I definitely think it’s too early to say. That’s definitely one of the things that we don’t want to do is put any restrictions on it or say it’s going to sound like this, or it’s going to sound like that, I think we just want to make some music and see how it turns out, then that will kind of start the informal direction of the record and shape it a bit.
We want to thank Paul Sayer for taking the time to chat with us and hope you all take the opportunity to follow them on their social’s below:
*EDIT: Drummer Damon Wilson departed the band on November 30th, 2016.