‘Progadelic Space Rock’ | Interview with Temple Garden

Describe your sound in three words please!

Progadelic Space Rock

How did you start making music and how did the band meet?

Brandon and Eric Carbenia are brothers who have been playing music together for a long time. We were previously in the band Firmament in the same roles as guitarist and vocalist. The Three of us, including Jimmy Cosner, have been friends since we were really young – we went to school together in Ohio before moving to Austin together a couple of years ago. We formed Temple Garden and recorded from our home studio near Austin and have been making music together since then.

Redshift includes 13 tracks and a 4 part “radio drama” mini-series. This is a fascinating idea for which we’d love to know more about. Also, would you say that the listener needs to treat the whole album as a whole to better understand it or is it autonomous enough for those who don’t listen to entire albums anymore?

We released the 4 part series over the course of a month, leading up to the full album release. The songs were spread across the episodes, framed by voice-acted scenes that were inspired by “Golden-age” radio dramas – stuff like Orson Welles and X Minus One. We spent a lot of time listening to these old radio dramas, and were really surprised at how well they were written and acted. It’s really kind of a lost art form! But streaming platforms are really the perfect place to resurrect that kind of thing, and I think that you do see some podcasts going that way (like The Magnus Archives or audio experiences like Zombies, Run!) and we wanted to explore that as a rock band. It’s not something that really would have been possible on physical media.

But the whole radio drama is more of a time commitment to get the whole thing. I think that you can understand and appreciate the story by just listening to the album, it’s pretty concise actually. Most of the main events happen in the songs themselves, with the acted parts filling in context. But we really would encourage anyone who likes the songs to look into the play, the actors really exceeded our expectations and had terrific performances (especially Robert Duncan, who voiced the protagonist Miro). Still, reviewers have said that many of the songs stand alone as good on their own. The lyrics aren’t all storyline, and have plenty of relatable themes.

How much time did you invest in the making of the album? Did the pandemic influence your usual creative process and if so, how?

The album took about 6 months from start to finish. The pandemic kept us in the studio for the majority of the time that we’ve lived in Austin actually. It started right when we were getting settled in, but it gave us a lot of time to work on things. Aside from Redshift, we’ve also had the time to write a bunch of other songs that didn’t really fit the concept, so we’re hoping to get those out there pretty soon as well.

Do you have an artist/art show/exhibition/installation that you would have liked to make music for?

One thing that we were thinking about is doing a re-score for the Soviet era animated short film Babochka by Andrey Khrzhanovskiy. It’s a really pretty film, and that era of art is really interesting and inspiring for us. There’s also this cool piece called Submergence by the UK based art collective “Squidsoup”. It has a bunch of independently programmable LEDs that hang from a bunch of lines that change colors and form interesting patterns. Something like that would be cool to design sound for. A lot of times you have pretty abstract sounds for that kind of thing, but I think you could make it into a very interesting musical experience, like a 3 dimensional song with tons of color.

What is your ideal venue to play live?

We actually haven’t played out as Temple Garden yet, due to the timing of the pandemic. We do have longer term goals of putting an interesting show together eventually; something with stage gimmicks and the works, but we’ve been focusing on other things. We did play a lot of venues and bars as Firmament, and I think that some of the funnest places to play were smaller stages like Buzzbin in Canton, OH and the Empire in Akron. We just had so many good shows at those places, and there is always a nice familiarity with the regulars and the locals that come specifically to hear local music. I’m sure that Austin is an amazing place for that kind of thing too, we just haven’t gotten that opportunity yet.

What is your favourite album of the previous year?

Here’s a couple favorites from each of us:

  • Existential Reckoning by Puscifer
  • Tonic Immobility by Tomahawk
  • The Future Bites by Steven Wilson
  • Phanerozoic II by The Ocean
  • Kg by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
  • It Is What It Is by Thundercat
  • American Head by The Flaming Lips

What would be your best sci-fi novel (if you have one)?

The kind of sci-fi that effectively blends fantasy elements into the story is the thing that really inspires us most. Writers like Clark Ashton Smith, where you have dark wizards conjuring ancient and terrible gods alongside high technology races of aliens from other worlds. You see that kind of thing in a good amount of Sci-fi from the 1950s and earlier. So writers from that era; HP Lovecraft and Issac Asimov. Other than that, some specific favorites are Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light, Dune, and The Hyperion Cantos, and Hellstar Remina by Junji Ito.

Thank you!

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