Tempel: The Toilet Ov Hell Interview
Tempel have had a fair bit of coverage recently around the Toilet Ov Hell and the metal world in general, and rightly so. Their glorious second album is about to released via Prosthetic Records on the 16th of June. Today we were fortunate enough to have been given a bit of insight into the duo’s new masterpiece The Moon Lit Our Path.
Your scaly f
riend was extremely honoured to have the opportunity to ask guitarist Ryan a few questions regarding the band’s origins, getting signed to a label, their influences & interests, the majestic new album & artwork, the equipment they use and more. Stab play and read on.
Lacertilian: Roughly how many years have you been jamming together?
Ryan: Rich and I have been best friends since high school. He got his first drum set about a year after we met. It’s been over 11 years now since we started playing music together.
L: When starting out, did you always envision the band remaining a two-piece?
R: No we actually started out as a 5-piece high school garage band. It wasn’t until after we graduated and everyone went their separate ways that we decided to continue on as a two piece studio project.
L: Were Prosthetic Records the first label to approach you guys for signing?
R: Yes. We never expected any label to contact us, or for any of this to happen. We haven’t played a live show as Tempel and didn’t really promote the album so it came as a pretty big surprise. We mainly have the people on Bandcamp who spread the first album to thank.
L: Was there any pressure to add vocals to your future recordings? Would you ever consider that? (Please say no!)
R: No we’ve never had any pressure to do anything like that. We’re an instrumental band. If we ever considered a vocalist it would be a guest spot from someone we truly respect. One of the downsides of being an instrumental band is that people will always dismiss you because you don’t have vocals. That just fuels us to write instrumental songs that we feel prove you don’t always need a vocalist to make music interesting.
L: There is a strong sense of thematic suggestion from your song titles, do you generally think of a title prior to creation of a song or do you tend to find inspiration from within the song’s motif once recording has begun?
R: The song and album title naming is pretty much the last step of the process for us. We use generic song titles up until we are ready to brainstorm and think of what we would like the concept to be. For this album we knew we wanted to continue with the journey from the first album. Once it was close to completion, we narrowed down the titles and sent the concept over to Lucas Ruggieri. From there he visualized and made the expanded the concept into something truly amazing.
L: Tempel appear to draw influence from a broad spectrum, which artists have influenced you most profoundly in musical terms?
R: Both of us listen to a lot of the same bands and have great respect for each other’s taste in music. There’s so many influences and artists that we look up to, so it would take forever to list them all. Some examples are Opeth, Deathspell Omega, Drudkh, Pig Destroyer, The Chasm, Enslaved, Pelican, Genesis and Rush.
L: What kinds of interests do you both have outside of Tempel and music in general?
R: Both of us are huge film buffs, Rich especially. His film nerd level reaches new levels every week it seems. When I’m not running the recording studio full time I try to spend as much time with my family as possible.
L: Both of your albums have had some of the most apt cover art I’ve ever seen, how did you go about selecting the most suitable artwork for the latest album?
R: We asked Lucas Ruggieri to do the album artwork for us this time around. We knew we wanted someone who would do the work by hand and put great attention to detail into the art. After we sent Lucas our song titles, he sent us a rough concept of what he was envisioning and we both were floored. As he sent us the progress it was eye opening. We couldn’t be happier with the art; we still look at it every day and are just stunned. The full gatefold piece visualizes each song title and a portion of the journey. We really wanted the artwork and music to go hand in hand. Lucas strived to make it possible and succeeded far beyond any expectations.
L: The Moon Lit Our Path seems to have more emphasis on melody than its predecessor, was there a conscious effort to elevate the sound in that direction?
R: Definitely, we knew we wanted to make a heavier album. The problem with making an album of just relentless riffs with no vocals is it can get tedious if you don’t make the riffs and leads as melodic as possible. We also knew we wanted more solos and leads than the first record. We’re not a technical band by any means, but melody and song writing are very important to us.
L: Was it any easier to finish off the latest album in comparison with your first outing?
R: Yes and no. We had a clear direction of where we wanted to take our music. However, we were extremely difficult on ourselves the entire process. I’d say more so than most bands probably are. It can get frustrating, but that’s our personality type. No detail gets unnoticed in anything we do. The easier part with the new album was all the songs were demoed to the point where we knew we were 100% happy with the songs before the album was even recorded. We worked those demos to no end. It was a different story with our first album. We didn’t really know what we were doing or have ambitious goals compared to where we are now. We just rushed through the demo process and it showed when we started recording that album. There was a ton of reworking done after it was all recorded to make that album work. It was a huge learning process for us. We’ll approach things differently with each album because we are always learning on what to do and what not to do.
L: Does Tempel have any plans to tour in the future? If so, I’d imagine you would have to add live guitarist to achieve some of the more complex harmonies found throughout The Moon Lit Our Path.
R: As of now we have no plans to tour. It’s another can of worms we’d have to open. We already feel overwhelmed as it is with what we do. We have full time careers and families. Tempel is an artistic expression and creative outlet for us; we’re more than happy with what we are doing now. As for adding a guitarist, we’d have to for sure, but there’s times on the album where there’s 4-5 guitar parts going on at a time. That would be difficult to recreate in a live environment.
L: I noticed Ryan has a nice 8-string on the captivating ‘Carvings In The Door’ play-through video, are you using the same equipment that was used on On The Steps Of The Temple or did you make some changes?
R: My 8 string was actually a gift from my wife after we released “On The Steps Of The Temple”. Rich told me right away that we need to use it for the next album, but to try to use 8 strings in a way we hadn’t heard before. The key was to not use it in a “Djent” way but try to make melodic heavy riffs with the extremely low tuning. It was a challenge for me to get used to playing it but I love playing the 8 string now.
Rich used the same drum kit as he did on the first album. I have acquired a couple new guitars since the first album including the 8 string and a new Gibson Les Paul for the standard tuning songs. Amp wise I went strictly digital this time around and used a lot of nice amp simulation software.
L: I also noticed you used the ebow in the studio, is there a piece of equipment/tech you couldn’t do without?
R: I love the Ebow! I have to be careful because I always want to use it in every song! There are so many different tools I use in the studio, but for this album Logic Pro was key for the creation of the album. I love that program. It was my go-to software for all the song writing and I used it mainly for all of the guitar recording and album mixing.
L: If you could choose to live the life of any animal other than a human, what would you pick?
R: I would be an Eagle. Nothing would be as invigorating as soaring in the mountains or forest every day. The freedom of being able to fly anywhere to explore would be awesome.
L: Do either of you have any other musical projects you’re working on or have worked on previously?
R: Tempel is our main focus. Sometimes when I’m writing there’s stuff that doesn’t fit Tempel. It’s a complete 180 from the dark and brooding feel of the band. For now it’s in my personal folder. I don’t know if it will be something I have the time to expand on more or ever release it.
L: Thanks for sharing your time with the people of the Toilet ov Hell, is there anything you’d like to add or inform our readers about?
R: Thanks to everyone at Toilet ov Hell for supporting us and we hope everyone enjoys our new album!
So that’s it for now, if you haven’t already bought the album in one (or all!) of it’s various forms head on over to their bandcamp. There’s something for nearly everyone’s price range, even a cool t-shirt combo.