Exclusive Interview with Tempers (NYC)

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Tempers @ Casa del Popolo

We were gearing up for another epic Montreal Ice Storm, but that did not deter the sold-out crowd for showing up to heard Tempers perform live for the first time in Montreal.  

Before the show, we sat down with Jasmine Golestaneh and Eddie Cooper of the New York band Tempers to discuss their retro sound, the power of vulnerability, why their music is considered “dark” and the true meaning of a private life.

Jasmine Golestaneh (Tempers)

Montreal Rocks:  Is this your first time in Montreal?

Jasmine:  Yeah.  We were in Toronto the day before yesterday.  It’s my first time in Canada.

(They played at The Baby G)Pause:  While waiting for Eddie, we spoke of my trips to New York and visiting CBGB’s.  Best show was The Distillers.

MR:  How has Canada been treating you?

Jasmine:  It’s been amazing, a really enthusiastic welcome.  

Eddie:  We play Europe all the time and this is connected to that…the vibe, the venues and the promoters.

MR:  Montreal has a lot of European vibe, especially if you go to Old Montreal.

Eddie:  Yes, we were there last night.

MR:  We also have French…again…a little European flair, and we are polite.

Eddie:  Yes.  Everyone is polite, it’s kind of off-putting…till we remember…oh wait…we are in 

MR:  My first question relates to a few days ago when I first heard your music.  It brought me back to the 80s/90s, my formative years in music.  What was it that attracted you to that era in music?

Jasmine:  Definitely not a conscious decision at all.  It just goes back to influences.  As a teenager, I listened to a lot of Joy Division and Nirvana.  I like music that is emotionally intense.  Unconsciously, those influences get absorbed into the sound that we are making.  We definitely didn’t set out to sound like a specific genre, era or band.  It’s more of an aesthetic taste in terms of textures and emotional worlds.

MR:  From what I think I know about you, you guys have a very interesting collaboration where you don’t really have to say much, but instead zone into what you need, without having to communicate.  Just like the influences, they crept in and you didn’t necessarily need to talk about them.  You go with your gut, right?

Jasmine:  Exactly.  We actually do very well.  We are just transcribing all of this information going through us.  

MR:  Is that how you collaborate in the writing process, where it’s not necessarily a spoken thing, but you rely on instinct?

Jasmine:  Yeah.  It just happens.  It feels like a telepathic connection.  We have the same impulse around worth…what feels meaningful, what feels touching and what doesn’t.  We both know when we hit something.  We also have the same taste musically and aesthetically.  It really works.

MR:  It’s bringing back a revival of that music that was so raw and honest.  Your music has also been described as dark.  What does the word “dark” mean to you?


Jasmine:  Deep and dark get confused with each other.  If you are talking about intense or difficult emotions, that gets categorized as dark, even though it’s a very healthy and healing thing to do.  People call talking about pain or grief as dark.  If they had more empathy and courage to talk about their feelings, we would be a much better society.

MR:  It’s actually light…

Jasmine:  It is light.  It’s optimistic.  

MR:  When you talk about your innermost feelings, you are bringing light to your thoughts.  You can then understand what they mean in relation to the world.  So, to me, it’s the opposite.

Jasmine:  Yeah.  What I love about music and the reason I wanted to be a musician was that the music I was listening to was so medicinal for me emotionally.  I could relate to hearing people sing about loss or feeling isolated and have a connection and solace in having that affinity with other people, the song, the musicians and artists.  It was natural that this would be the space I come from if I was to become a musician.  

MR:  I’m seeing a connection, the more I speak to musicians, that the music becomes the way they express their emotions, an outlet they would not have otherwise.  It’s almost like a saving grace for many.

Jasmine:  Yes.  

MR:  One (Bad Child Interview) suffered PTSD after the death of a family member. For Bishop Briggs, it was the act of shaving her head in solidarity for when her friend, who was going through cancer treatments, that changed her.  She became the true version of herself.  

When you deal with whatever darkness you have and bring it to light, you can make connections with people.  I think that is why, especially in the UK, you are really connecting with fans.

Eddie:  What’s interesting is that we both listen to music that isn’t dark at all.  When creating, we don’t stop till we hit something that is satisfying and important, and that is what makes it dark somehow?  If we care about it, it gets called dark.

Eddie Cooper (Tempers)

MR:  Would you call it more:  Raw?

Jasmine:  I would say raw, vulnerable.  

Eddie:  Or deep.  There is a certain moment where you go “ouhh.”

Jasmine:  I don’t see the point of doing it any other way.  I wouldn’t do it unless I was being vulnerable.  It would be wasting everyone’s time, and my own.  

MR:  I honestly think that in all the eras, we are living in a time where being vulnerable is being championed. Brené Brown has a whole Ted Talk about vulnerability.  

Jasmine:  Yeah, I saw it.

MR:  It’s becoming valuable.

Eddie:  Even in Pop and Hip-Hop, there is so much more melancholy.  Even huge mainstream acts have way more…

MR:  Personality.

Eddie:  Yes, also more sad songs on the radio.

MR:  Do you write your songs in a biographical way, where you are telling a story about your own life, or is it more like you are creating a fictional character to live through a story?

Jasmine:  It’s a combination.  Some of it will be autobiographical, but it will get mixed in with fantasy or some concept I’m interested in.  It could be some character I want to create, so it’s usually a collage of different elements.

MR:  You can be a lot more vulnerable when you have a mask, or a character.

Jasmine:  Yeah, or you can use metaphors.  There is a difference between art and therapy.  It’s not just this pure vomiting out feelings.  It’s tailored through this talent-like alchemy of creativity which can involve different impulses and your imagination.

“There is a difference between art and therapy.”  – Jasmine Golestaneh

MR:  We are constantly bombarded by all the Social Media stuff.  Thinking specifically about the title of your new album “Private Life”, how important is it to you, to look inside oneself for self-discovery?

Jasmine:  It’s essential because if you only live in a completely externalized life, there is no culture and you can’t really create anything.  In order to have freedom, you need to have a private life and separate yourself from the pressure to constantly externalize your experiences on Social Media…to have a boundary.

MR:  I think the whole world of influencers is slowly crashing inwards.  It’s so fake.  People taking 6 hours to take the perfect picture, and they are not really enjoying themselves.

Jasmine:  Not at all.  It’s really sad.

Eddie:  It’s also sad to notice that you can be alone and mask the inner private life.  There used to be a delineation between your private life and your outward facing life.  It can be confusing now, and easy to get lost.  Aloneness is not the same as privacy.

“Aloness is not the same as privacy.” – Eddie Cooper

MR:  What do you do for self-discovery?  Do you take time with yourself?

Jasmine:  I meditate every day.  That’s been really helpful for me because it allows me to go to a place where I’m within myself and beyond myself at the same time.  When I meditate, I like to just listen to traffic or the ambient noise in my bedroom.  It makes me feel connected to the world in my head and my thoughts.  I realize that I’m part of something greater than me.  Sonically, it’s really nice to be aware of the subtle sounds of my environment and focus on that 20 minutes a day.  It’s very satisfying.

MR:  I think silence is very important.

Jasmine (Tempers)

Jasmine:  It’s amazing.  There is so much in it.

MR:  You can’t have a truly original idea if you are constantly bombarding yourself with other people’s thoughts.

Jasmine:  You need to be able to incubate your ideas and thoughts and not share everything constantly.  At least, I do.  Some people are really good with Social Media and can be spontaneously creative in a way that is really inspiring.  It’s just not my creative process.  I need to incubate my ideas and hide them away until I write them, and then they can come out.  I’m not great on Social Media.

MR:  I like how you used the word “incubate”.  It implies an egg.  Keep those thoughts inside, till they are ready to be hatched, and only open it when it’s ready.

Jasmine:  Yes.  

MR:  If you break an egg from an outside force, you kill it.  If it’s broken from an inside force, it’s life.  You can’t force the birth of ideas.

Jasmine:  Yes, you have to wait till they are ready.  If you respect your private life, you can have the patience to sit with an idea, let it cultivate and let your imagination run away.  That space is so critical to evolve on so many levels.  It’s also important to be OK with human complexity.  By constantly externalizing, you are simplifying emotions and experiences in order to get likes and be relatable.  Sometimes, there are so many contradictory feelings and forces and just being OK with them is important.  That strange ambiguity, the subliminal space of not knowing is actually very profound an interesting, a lot more than defining everything and every moment.  

MR:  This is sort of a silly question, but which one of you has the worst temper?

Eddie:  If we had to pick one (looking at Jasmine), it would have to be you.

Jasmine:  Yes, if we had to pick one.  We don’t really fight.  

MR:  You are both so calm, the definition of chill.  

Jasmine:  It’s all happening internally, but externally I’m pretty chill. 

Eddie:  You just push it down…

MR:  And then you perform and let it all out!

Jasmine:  Yes, it comes out.

Eddie:  We then disassociate completely.  (laughs)

Jasmine:  I’m definitely the more awkwardly emotional person.  

Eddie:  I have a hard time stirring it up, to agitate, sometimes.   

MR:  But yet, you live in New York!  The culture of “Yo…I have to speak my mind!”.

Eddie:  You don’t always have to.  (laughs)

Jasmine:  I speak my mind.  I like that about Eddie, the directness and authenticity. 

MR:  If we were to sit here, mid-January of next year, to open a bottle of Champagne to celebrate something you just accomplished, what would it be?

Eddie:  There is something, but we can’t really talk about it.  In general, it would be to get to level where we are connecting with more people than we’ve ever have before.      

MR:  That goes along with the meaning of success.  What’s the first band that comes to mind when you think of the word success?

Jasmine:  I think of Nirvana because they set this model for me, as a teenager, of having creative integrity while also reaching a lot of people.  Not only being able to make a living being an artist, but also making an impact on culture through art.  Creating such a profound empathetic space for people’s collective pain and healing that.  All great artists have done that, change the culture in some way and provided a mass Shamanistic healing.  

MR:  I think your description of success is a fan, sitting alone in their bedroom, feeling that you are speaking to them.  Impact.

Jasmine:  Exactly, making an impact, but also creating a realm where people feel free.  They can listen to a song and think:  This person really understands me.  I feel free, inspired and confident because I feel seen and heard by the song.  That’s what music does for me, so that is what I want to do for others.  

MR:  That goes back to the beginning of our conversation about vulnerability.  The fact that you guys can be vulnerable and make those connections.  I think that’s the secret to why you are like a snowball, going down a mountain, slowly getting bigger and bigger. 

ConclusionThe band played a great show in front of an appreciative sold-out crowd at Casa del Popolo.  They played new and old songs with a great intensity.  I’m sure some in the audience felt that Jasmine and Eddie were speaking only to them.  For that reason, I say their first show was a smashing success and I’m sure the next time they visit our city, they will have gathered a few more fans as they snowball bigger and bigger.  

Interview: Randal Wark is a Professional Speaker and MasterMind Facilitator with a passion for live music.  You can follow him on InstagramTwitter and YouTube. His new Podcast RockStar Today helps musicians quit their days jobs is coming soon.

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