By Jamie Franklin
Australian four-piece, The Temper Trap, have finally set up camp in good ol’ Blighty. With single ‘Sweet Disposition’ all over the airwaves, the only way is up for our favourite band from down under. We talk to drummer Toby Dundas about stage fright, Nick Cave and what he wants Roland to make next.
How did The Temper Trap evolve?
Dougy and I worked together at a shop in Melbourne and he was looking for people to play with. I was already playing bass in another band, but had played drums in high school and thought it could be fun to play, but from the first jam we had I was really floored by Dougy’s voice and it got a lot more serious pretty quickly. Jonny and Dougy had been friends when Dougy first moved from Indonesia to Australia and though he didn’t play bass either he came to the second practice when another guy didn’t show up to try out. Jonny picked it up really quickly and we had a band. We lost a couple of guitarists over the next year or so until Lorenzo, who was a friend of mine from school, came onboard after his other band called it quits and I guess that’s the real beginning of The Temper Trap
You’ve finished the summer’s festivals. What was the highlight?
Of the UK festivals I’d have to say Reading. The tent was packed and the crowd was going nuts before we even walked out on stage, which was a first. Luckily we played one of our best shows of the summer as the pressure was definitely on. The Summersonic festival in Japan was crazy too; just being in Japan was great. I ate so much food. We played to 5000 people in Tokyo, which was by far our biggest crowd for the summer.
What is the music scene like in Melbourne? And what are the differences in touring in the UK compared to Australia?
The music scene in Melbourne is really healthy; there’s a lot of great venues and plenty of places to play when you’re first starting out. There are also a lot of great bands so there is a healthy competition and you have to get good live if you want to be able to keep up with the big guns.
You use numerous Roland and Boss kits throughout the band. Can you talk us through the gear and how you use it live?
Our live set-up is getting complicated. It’s grown over the years, and we’re using more and more pedals. Lorenzo builds a lot of his sounds using the Boss DD-20 and he’s just started using a RC-20XL LoopStation as well. Jonny had three Boss DS-1s running together at one stage: he loves distortion. Later, we got the SPD-S Sampling Pad, which is a fantastic tool and we run loops and extra drum backing tracks to fill out the sound and give us more flexibility on stage.
At one stage, I used to have to play guitar as well in two songs (I used my Roland JC-60 Amp and had a pedal set-up including a Boss DD-3, DS-2, and one of my favourite Boss pedals the LS-2, so I could blend a couple of different sounds with more control). We’ve since added an extra touring member so he gets to play with all that, plus a few extra toys he’s got. We’re also looking at getting a Juno-Di or Juno-G synthesizer to add a little more oomph to our keyboard options.
What are the best/worst things about touring?
The best thing is getting to travel to so many new countries and meet new people and the worst thing is the time it takes to get there in the van.
Do any of you suffer from nerves on stage? Any advice to people who do?
Dougy used to have this involuntary retching thing that would happen before we played but that seems to have disappeared. There have been big shows, especially supporting bands that I really look up to where I’ve been really nervous, but the more shows you play the easier it gets.
What bands have impressed you since being in the UK?
We’ve done a couple of festivals with Florence and the Machine; they are always amazing on-stage. Also a London band called Mumford and Sons who we played at the iTunes Festival with.
You have mentioned Nick Cave as an influence: what is it about him that people revere so much?
Ol’ Saint Nick huh? I’m not sure which one of us said that, I don’t think he’s a musical influence but certainly as the elder statesmen of Australian rock he is someone who has to be looked up to. He wrote some of the most visceral songs of his time and is still doing it. If you haven’t heard his last record Dig Lazarus Dig, you’re missing out.
Your new album “Conditions” was produced by the illustrious Jim Abbiss. How did he get the best out of you?
Jim really focused on capturing great live takes. We would spend a whole day doing the bed tracks for one song if he thought we hadn’t found some magic. Other times he could feel something after one or two takes, which gave us a lot more time to work on all the cool noises, atmospheres and beeps and bleeps. It was definitely challenging having an extra voice in the decision-making but those little conflicts can throw up some really cool ideas.
Any questions for Roland?
When can we expect an update of the SPD-S that can handle SD cards with more memory and has at least four outputs? That would be amazing and would sell like hot cakes. Pretty please?