GLR Exclusive: Q&A with Gentle Temper

Catch up with Green Line Records’ very own Gentle Temper!

How would you describe your songwriting process? Do you usually start with lyrics, or a vocal harmony, etc?

We’re kind of at the mercy of ourselves when we write. It has taken us 3 hours of sitting on the front porch of our old house in Allston, tossing ideas back and forth, just to come up with one line. On the other hand, our single “Sugar” took us less than 2 hours to write from start to finish. “Sugar” is one of two songs that actually started out as poems that I brought to Ryan. I started playing a simple bass line, Ryan came up with a guitar melody, and it unfolded very quickly from there. So our process really varies from song to song.

What are your favorite bands? Who would you cite as inspiration?

Local Natives, Bahamas, From Indian Lakes, Andy Shauf, Fleet Foxes, Rayland Baxter to name a few. The flawless vocal harmonies of Local Natives and the Bahamas’ backup vocalists, the way Joey Vanucci of From Indian Lakes seems to lay his emotions bare with each album he puts out, Andy Shauf’s and Fleet Foxes’ intriguing use of instrumentation, and Rayland Baxter’s raw, catchy realism are all immensely inspiring to us.

Where can those inspirations be found in your music?

Our inspiration comes out in different ways, from what we choose to write about and how we choose to write it, to the production of our recordings and what direction we decide to go in with our live sound.

Would you say that “Sugar” differs from your other songs? If so, how does it differ?

Yes; “Sugar” was originally a poem that kind of blossomed into a song that wades on the softer side of our sound without completely declawing the cat.

So “Sugar” is your first single. What was it like recording it?

It was a pretty sweet experience. We had the intention going in that “Sugar” would be a one-take acoustic track, and it came out better than we’d imagined thanks to Joseph Newmann. He did a really awesome job capturing our vision for this track.

How do you dig into difficult emotions like heartbreak, knowing you’re sharing it with others?

Writing is a pretty therapeutic form of expression for both of us. Emotional honesty has more than a few levels to it, and sometimes putting those feelings into words and molding it until it’s a finished song makes it possible for us to share it with others. We’re grateful that we get to do so. That being said, there are some songs we’ve written that we’re not ready to share with the public for the same reasons.

How do you want listeners to experience your music? What do you want them to take away from it?

We aim to put our all into our live shows and we have a lot of fun doing so. Engaging with people in a live setting is a completely different animal from listening to a record in your car or your house. We’ve grown almost entirely on live performances over the last year and we really thrive on that energy.

We’d love for them to take a CD… No, but in all seriousness, one of the most beautiful things about music is that it’s a very personal, intimate experience. We can write a song about how we feel about a specific moment in time in our lives, and someone can listen to that same song and relate to it in a completely different way from an entirely unique perspective. It’s magical.

What feels different about performing songs live versus recording them?

Right now there are only two of us, so when we play live we’re a little more limited in what we can do (though we do try to make as much noise as we can with what we’ve got, playing 7 instruments in total between the two of us). When we’re in the studio we have more room to play around, and often have to dial it back so it still sounds like us.

Listen to ‘Sugar (Acoustic)’ here:


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