Temperance – Fascination and Respect

Thursday, 16th January 2020

Most musicians strive to attain a level of competence where they are creatively admired and respected. Each song and each album adding to their legacy, growing and sharing their musical ideas to the world. For Temperance, Viridian (out on Napalm Records – PREORDER HERE) begins another chapter in their already growing modern melodic metal career. Boldly embracing organic and analog overtures at every step of the way, their latest album may be their heaviest and most dynamic at the same time – as you’ll see one of the triad of vocalists Michele Guaitoli explain in his talk here. Everything from folk-like passages to power metal, even gospel choir strains appear depending on the track – plus engaging vocal tradeoffs and harmony possibilities from three stellar and distinct voices.

Taking the time to reach out to Michele on tour in France, you will learn more about the broader strokes taken with Viridian, the attitude of the band on stage and feelings regarding the use of organic instrumentation whenever possible. We also delve into talk about failures and overcoming them, what metal means to him as a genre, and discussion on professionalism and teamwork to building the following of any band.

Dead Rhetoric: Viridian is the latest Temperance album – where do you see the major differences between this record and the previous Of Jupiter and Moons, or do you believe it’s just a natural extension of what the band has been trying to do all along?

Michele Guaitoli: The main difference we had is definitely time. If you remember during our last interview I told you that Alessia (Scolletti) and myself, we came into the band when everything was already settled for the songwriting – we had only a few times to get into the mood of Temperance in general, we are new members. Let’s say that things were rushed, even if it’s not the right thing to say – we took our time, but it was a short time. With Viridian we had a lot more time to take care of every detail, time to work on the arrangements, and after one and a half years together on the road, 80 shows – the band was definitely stronger on every side. Not only on the musical side but also on the human side because we had so much time spent together.

The vocal recordings for Of Jupiter and Moons took three days in a row – this time we had almost one week. The entire recording process lasted two months, whereas the last album we had only a couple of weeks. This time was spent more efficiently on every side. Even if musically speaking it’s an evolution – on the working side we had so much time to work on everything, and it came out more like we had it in our minds than ever before. Time is the answer to this question.

Dead Rhetoric: The first two single releases “Mission Impossible” and “My Demons Can’t Sleep” definitely showcase the catchy and commercial side of the band – is it a challenge to decide what those initial singles will be to give the listeners an accurate representation of what to expect on a full-length, as there is obviously heavier and moodier material through efforts like the title track and “Nanook” for instance?

Guaitoli: When you have to choose the singles, you always have to pick the songs that you think will involve people the most. We always try to think of finding something that will get the attention of the people -if you release something that is too peculiar or too specific, sometimes you risk to cut out a part of the audience that could get involved and discover something more in the album. Often with bands because of this, the first singles are often the most commercial. From the reactions we have seen, maybe “Mission Impossible” was not as we had loved – some people told us this song was a little different from what Temperance was previously. I wouldn’t say it was a mistake, but maybe we picked a song that wasn’t as open as we expected it to be. The exact opposite happened for “My Demons Can’t Sleep”, we have received feedback that is more uniform and everyone seems to like it. This proves that fans don’t always have a clear idea of what the reaction will be.

On the other hand, Viridian is an album that is so different from song to song. There is no song that can entirely describe the sound of the entire album. “Mission Impossible” is super modern and electronic even if it fits the style of Temperance regarding the harmonies of the three vocals. “My Demons Can’t Sleep” is more melodic, I would say it isn’t as djenty as “Mission Impossible”. Then you have “Catch a Dream” that is a gospel, “Guya” is a pop ballad, “Nanook” has a folk-sound. This is the heaviest album that Temperance has ever written, thanks to songs like “Mission Impossible” and the title track – we have so many heavier songs. This is a great thing from our point of view, you can expect to have things changing in front of you song after song.

Dead Rhetoric: What are your memories surrounding the video shoot for “My Demons Can’t Sleep”- was that a castle you scouted out or did the director suggest it?

Guaitoli: We had a great time in that castle in Italy. This castle was discovered by the video maker – we didn’t know of it, but he knew of the place because of the movie The Avengers. There is another castle in the surroundings that was used in the film The Avengers. And we were fascinated by this introduction, and it turned out to be a great place to shoot the video for “My Demons Can’t Sleep”. It fits the lyrics and the atmosphere of the song, we had a great time. The horse that you can see at the end of the video was also something new and that we have never done before. It was fascinating, we love nature, and the creation that Mother Earth gave us. This was great to involve all of these elements in this video.

Dead Rhetoric: At what point during the process do you think about the special elements to flesh out your ideas like having Mindmaze’s Sarah Teets do a guest flute appearance, real organ play, or the children’s choir – do you believe it adds extra colors or dimensions to what Temperance can create and deliver in the studio?

Guaitoli: Definitely. This is always something that we try to improve on album after album. As musicians, I will use a technical word that is analog sounds. When I talk about analog sounds, I mean organic sounds – we are not great fans of the fake amplifiers, the digital amplifiers, programmed drums, fake orchestrations for pianos, for orchestras, for the strings. We always try to have everything organic, a real flute, a real harp, the children to sing the choir parts, real strings. For this album we had four strings – a cello, a violin, a viola, and a double bass. We had so many organic instruments – the real piano, so album after album, especially with Viridian we had more time for the recording process. I really believe and hope the more that we go along, the more chances and possibilities we have to produce more organic instruments and dig into this process. We really love this and want to improve more and more, it gives more color.

It’s the vibe of real (instrumentation) on so many productions that is fading year after year in the market. We want to get back to the analog days. Our dream would be to have a real orchestra to play all our symphonic parts and to have real musicians that could jump in for everything that we need to sample for instruments. We will see where this will go.

Dead Rhetoric: And what can you tell me about the cover art for the new record?

Guaitoli: Yann Souetre is the same guy who worked with us on Of Jupiter and Moons. He’s an amazing person, he’s a great artist and a fantastic human being. He is so kind, so there was no reason for us to look after someone else for the creation of the artwork. Once again, as we did for Of Jupiter and Moons, the main concept that Viridian had, and the guideline was to give him some lyrics and the idea of our concept of this. Everything came out of his mind, this sci-fi cover artwork in line with the future. It’s a continuation on the other side. This is his part of being involved in the Temperance family, and I believe he’s the sixth member of Temperance. I really think we will work with him again for the next album.

Dead Rhetoric: You are also a part of Visions of Atlantis – how are you handling the workload between these two bands, and where do you see the major differences between Temperance and Visions of Atlantis at this point in their careers?

Guaitoli: Well, organization is something that is very important. With three bands, there is also ERA, it’s really filling my schedule. Sometimes I have to make choices, some shows with Temperance I couldn’t perform with ERA and I had to give them the priority – sometimes you have to choose between single shows and a tour and as a professional, you really cannot get away from longer tours to make single shows prevail. This is my way of working. Keeping the two bands in touch with each other is the only way to make everything work. At the same time, both bands are really open-minded to each other. They both know the other one exists.

When I got into Visions of Atlantis. I have to say I asked the guys in Temperance for permission at first. I wanted them to be happy with this decision, it was not a decision that I took on my own without telling the others or forcing the others to accept my decision. The differences between the bands are in terms of sound. Yes there is a female counterpart in also Visions of Atlantis, but Visions is more of a female-fronted symphonic metal band with Clementine in the first vocal and I feel like a musician being a part of the band there, not the ego prevailing male vocalist of a band. In Temperance everything is different because no one of the three singers is prevailing over the other. I want to say Temperance is a female fronted metal band, and at the same time I will not say that myself, Alessia, or Marco are the main singers. There is a balance between the three singers, and we give the vocals the same importance as the bass guitar, drums, or guitar itself between all the instruments and the sound, everything within Temperance. Plus you have to add that Temperance is a really modern band with electronic elements, and this wouldn’t be possible in Visions of Atlantis because it’s a different style, it’s a symphonic metal band with orchestration being the power points and the voices.

Dead Rhetoric: What steps has Temperance taken to move up the ranks and hopefully become a stronger headlining act when it comes to live performances across Europe and other territories? Do you believe that the stage is where you can make the biggest mark/impression on listeners and develop them into lifelong fans?

Guaitoli: The stage is where Temperance lives. We live for the stage. Temperance lives more on stage than on the record- somehow when it comes to recording an album, we are eclectic. Often during a show for Temperance, you will find that Marco will sing my parts or Alessia will sing my parts, and I will sing Marco or Alessia’s parts because we like changes. We improvise, often changing setlists from show to show so if you see us Temperance in London today you will see something different in Manchester for example, or in Munich on the third day.

On the album you have to decide things, you cannot improvise or change the listening experience from play after play for the record itself. This is just limiting for Temperance it’s the only way you have to introduce your new music to your audience. The live stage will make the difference, this is what we long for and ultimately we will put on our best performances through our headlining shows. (This is) one of the main things that will bring us on a higher level, and this can make the band grow.

Dead Rhetoric: Do you take the feedback of the fans into consideration when it comes to the songs that you choose to perform live on stage with Temperance?

Guaitoli: You always have to do it. All the bands that say that they don’t do it, they do it, but they don’t want to show people that they do it (laughs). Every musician that I talk to, they know what is happening on YouTube, they know what is happening on Facebook, he knows everything on social media and they talk to their own fans. You have meet and greets, after show meetings, a lot of people that come to you discussing their favorite songs. If you don’t listen to your fans, you are blind. There are some crazy requests that you cannot satisfy because the people… for example in Temperance, it’s harder for people to understand we can’t perform the older songs that are written by the other members that aren’t in the band anymore. We decided we aren’t going to play those songs anymore, because it’s not our work and our credit to have the recognition for those songs. When they ask us to play the song “Maschere”, the song with Italian lyrics, we knew that sooner or later that we will do it because we want to satisfy this request. It would be stupid not to fulfill this kind of request because even if only one man wants us to do this song, we can do this little sacrifice to satisfy him.

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