Since their 2012 single, “Shelter Song,” and its follow-up full-length, Sun Structures, the UK’s Temples have caught ears because of their clever interpretation of ’60s and ’70s psychedelic rock sounds through modern technology. This ethos is carried to their second album, Volcano, but not necessarily replicated.
Recorded primarily at vocalist James Bagshaw’s home studio, which since Sun Structures has expanded out of one room into two plus a storage unit, the setup is a combination of vintage and modern pieces. Updates for Volcano include a Neumann U47, whose quality pushed him to switch to Apogee Ensemble, which brought a better sound with more headroom. From a sonic point of view, the main change for Bagshaw for Volcano, which he produced on his own, is going from a stereo setup to a 2.1 setup. The addition of a subwoofer allows him to be more aware of what is happening subharmonically, which makes for a higher fidelity, more contemporary and bigger sound.
“You can contemporize with production without compromising on songwriting,” says Bagshaw. “Last time, we had go-to sounds we liked and didn’t stray from them. This time, we weren’t afraid to put on sounds that wouldn’t, on paper, necessarily fit into the mix. It was just a case of manipulation.”
When overdubbing drums, Bagshaw puts the bottom snare through a Fender ’63 Reissue Tube Reverb Blonde Tolex. “The reverb didn’t have the headroom and the same balance it would with the guitar level,” he says. “I brought the input down to the guitar level and gained it up afterward because it was hitting it too hard. That sound nobody wants but they all have, which can be very apparent, is going through a valve reverb to take that horrible ‘80s thing away.”
The older pieces tend to have extra noises. On the song “Strange or Be Forgotten,” for example, a Clavioline with a loud hum is used, but in the mix it was too loud for the bandmembers’ liking. For this, Bagshaw employs a Waves X-Hum plug-in. “You can try to ground lift, or some other unsafe things. We used the plug-in but we could have just done an EQ filter on the frequency on the input, but we didn’t think about it at the time.”