[dropcap]A[/dropcap]fter performing at Berghain for a special showcase at Popkultur Berlin, a festival that including the core members of New Order, Viv Albertine, and more, Eddie and Jasmine of Tempers came over to my studio to due a quick interview in promotion of their new record “Services” out now on Berlin label AUFNAHME+WIEDERGABE.
The first time I saw Tempers was at this past summer’s Wave Gotik Treffen, the world’s largest Gothic/Wave festival in Leipzig Germany. I begun the interview asking them what they thought of the festival…
Jasmine: WGT was insane, it was unbelievable! We were not too familiar with the festival beforehand, but it was a really incredible experience we had. It was a very receptive and warm audience…
How is the music of Tempers composed, where the creative process comes from, and the collaborative relationship between the two of you?
Jasmine: “I’ve been writing songs since I was a teenager, I’ve always been doing music and songwriting is only natural for me, like eating and sleeping. It is a part of my life! We’re very lucky that we have a telepathic creative relationship, so it’s really fluid and seamless to write together – and I think that’s part of the magic of music, that surrender that we have to the identity of Tempers.”
Eddie: “It wasn’t really a stylistic choice that we made this kind of music… We just started and that’s what happened. There is a very clear “yes” or “no” when we work.”
I really love the early 90s feel of your single Undoing off of “Services”, was the garage and shoegaze influences intentional?
Eddie: “Those Garage/Shoegaze influences are definitely there and it’s think of sort of fun to be able to combine
them without necessarily overemphasizing one.”
But what do you listen to?
Jasmine: “I go through phases of listening to all different kinds of things and I tend to get very obsessed with one particular sound, genre, even song – I listen to some every day for three months. Leonard Cohen is a huge influence, and of course Joy Division…”
Did you get to see any of the lectures on Mute, New Order, and Joy Division at PopKultur Berlin, or catch any of the DJ sets?
Jasmine: “Unfortunately we were carried away dancing and missed the lecture (of Bernard Sumner)… Joy Division happned to me when I was like 17 and I heard it without really knowing anything about the history, I had no context… Someone just gave me the record and I put it on, it triggered. When I was 12 I really was into The Doors – and I felt like Ian Curtis had something shamanic, doors-y kind of voice but then he was taking it into a much darker place, which was so intriguing…
Would you say that you two are more into “dark music” or music from dark places?
Eddie: “I did not know that a lot of music that influenced me was considered as “dark” music. I realised that very late, so I was like, “Oh, guess I’m into dark music”.
Jasmine: For me, it is like “Human” music. For me, music is a emotionally healing space with a lot of empathy for my deeper feelings, and I don’t feel like it is “dark” to have deep feelings – it’s just part of being human. There’s almost like a shamefulness around writing songs that involve deeper emotions – I think it is very healthy!
Healthy to explore deeper emotions than to repress them?
Jasmine: It is really brave and life-affirming to communicate a very vulnerable feeling… I think it is way darker to sing songs about superficial feelings and smile… To me, that is the darkest music out there.
Was there a point in your exposure to music that you thought “Oh, I don’t have to hold back, and be afraid to express myself?
Jasmine: Nirvana is a really huge influence! At the age of 14, where your musical taste is programmed for the rest of your life, so basically, everything I listen to now is an extension or variation of that sound, but Grunge was a turning point for me… You could scream, and you could be sensitive and be rebellious – and that opened the door for more underground music.
What do you think of Berghain? Do you see a difference between the dance culture in New York versus Europe?
Jasmine: There isn’t a dance culture in New York like there is in Europe. For us it is even more exciting – you can actually dance! A room full of people dancing to good music!
Eddie: And there’s a simplicity to it. It is just a big blown out room, where’s everyone focused… Just a bunch of people committed having a good time, and I feel that there is a lot of fragmented energy in New York.
Jasmine: There is something very authentic and wholesome about that unity of people that just wanna dance and not give a shit…
Do you see an integration with the Goth/Post-Punk and Techno scene Berlin? It seems to certainly more integrated here than anywhere else.
Eddie: “I lived here a long time ago, and I remember seeing Fixmer/McCarthy when they were first starting at Watergate, in the middle of like, a house night, and it just made sense!
Not to say that NYC (my hometown) is lacking, I still am amazed all the connections made there, and all the creativity…
Jasmine: There’s a magic to new York that will always be there…
Eddie: It is a very powerful place, for good and for bad, and at the same time it is just brutal and competitive, and it takes a lot of focus to stay on top of everything.
Jasmine: I was completely blown away by NYC… I had a very romanticized idea about it, with the CBGB’s, the art scene, William S. Burroughs hanging out with Patti Smith… That was my cultural obsession back then, and I wanted to discover NYC for myself!
Eddie: I grew up there, my parents grew up there, some of my grandparents grew up there… I grew up in Manhattan, in Greenwich Village and Chelsea. For me it is a completely different feeling. It is very lucky but also very unusual to call a place like this a home. It is the most familiar place to me, and also the most alive place.
And Tempers was born out of you two living in NYC, and finding eachother?
Eddie: We have known each other for a while, but we did not make music until quite recently… I joined Jasmine’s old band Seasick and when they broke up, we started writing music together.
What made you connect when you met? What was the foundation for Tempers?
Jasmine: Kraftwerk and Krautrock are like the backbone of Tempers… We have a strong connection to that music, and definitely Krautrock is a huge influence to us. I wanted to take that as a foundation and then add some romanticism to it, in terms of melodies, in terms of sensuality and lyrics.
Eddie: There is a fascination about Krautrock is how there is a freedom, without the restraint of a structure. A lot of music is seemingly very structured and simple, but within that, everything seems to be evolving and wide open.
Jasmine: There is something that happens when you create restraints and then it creates this tension of opposite that I find very interesting like tenderness and violence, which I find very fascinating.
Tempers are Jasmine Golestaneh and Eddie Cooper.
Pick up their album “Services”—out now at AUFNAHME+WIEDERGABE