London based progressive rock band, Temples On Mars recently released their self-titled debut album! Formed in 2017 by ex-members of Agent, The Spindle Sect and Starseed, the band have played with the likes of Skindred, Devil Sold his Soul, Voyager, Ill Nino, Hed PE, Enter Shikari and more, as well as making appearances at Download Festival, HRH prog, HRH road trip and features on BBC Radio 1, Kerrang, Prog Magazine and Metal Hammer. We caught up with the band about their UK tour and what we can expect from them in the future!
The band consists of James Donaldson (vocals & guitar), Gerald Gill (guitar), Daz Carikas (bass) and Dean Gibb (drums).
D= Daz Carikas
JMD = James Donaldson
G = Gerald Gill
Hi guys! Thanks so much for taking the time to have a chat with us! Let’s get started!
Our pleasure entirely! Thanks so much for having us 🙂
Where did the name ‘Temples On Mars’ come from, and what made you decide on it?
JMD: The short answer is the shower! The long answer is that we had been tossing up names for a while then I had this kind of Eureka moment where a lot of ideas and things I had been seeing around in the news/social media, and hearing in conversation came to form one idea. I had been reading about missions to Mars, aliens, where humans would go once we squeeze the last life from earth, and conspiracy theories about evidence of ancient civilizations on Mars. It was such a juicy subject I thought it would be cool to put all into a band name.
That’s awesome! You guys have just announced a UK tour, are you excited? Is this your first tour there?
G: As Temples on Mars it’s our first tour, so we are super excited! All of us have toured and gigged up and down the UK independent of each other with previous bands so we know what’s involved. Just looking forward to doing it with T.O.M.!
Two of you are from SA, when did you leave, and how different was it living in a new country?
G: I’ve been here since 2002 so unfortunately with the slow and relentless erosion that only time can elicit, no matter how tight one grips, memories fall like sand from clenched fists. So drawing comparisons often results in just pointing out the stereotypes in both nations cultures. I do try and go back as often as life allows, as I still have strong friendships there and S.Africa will always and forever be in the possession of a large piece of my heart.
D: I have been here since 2008 – I still miss SA and family, but, get to go back once a year at least. It was different and the same in a lot of instances. Mainly bigger and more of everything – and that helped with inspiration and music.
Glad to hear you guys still come back where you can 🙂
You guys have played at festivals like Download, HRH Ibiza, HRH Prog and Hammerfest, what were those like? Which one did you enjoy playing most?
G: I’m going with Ibiza just because….well …. IBIZA!!!!
You guys released your self-titled debut album on the 6th of April, what has the response been like?
JMD: It’s been a great response! Media have got right behind it. We have had some great reviews and are getting some very cool shows and opportunities off the back of it.
What was the writing and recording process like?
Bands tend to either have an “organic” process or they employ a structured approach. I think ours was neither. Some songs originated in the rehearsal room from a riff or melody. Others were written by one of us at home where a foundation was laid and then shown to the rest of the band with the quest of building a palace upon it.
In our case we all wrote on Logic Pro and then shared the sessions on DropBox where we would all contribute until we believed the song could get no better, or we had followed the infinity path with no rewards, and it was time to retrace our steps.
In doing this not only where we solidifying a song but also creating a listenable demo as we all took some degree of care in experimenting with various tones and mixing it to a certain level. This made the physical recording process relatively painless as very little on the spot changes needed to be made regarding song structures and tones etc. So it was just a matter of laying it all down.
What were the influences behind the songs?
JMD: Musically we have a wide range of individual influences within the band which is the bedrock for the vocals and lyrics. These range from death metal to 80’s synth pop. Lyrically the themes tend to be dark and deep, usually inspired by life events either personal or based on current affairs and social issues. Most of the tracks on the record can be interpreted multiple ways and we hope that listeners can find something in each track that means something personal to them.
Have any of you ever had a ‘fan-girl’ moment?
G: Years ago I snuck into Gavin Rossdale’s dressing room to give him a demo of my previous band, as this human mountain range was dragging me out, I told him “I love him”.
I don’t love him. I just like his band. I cringed for days.
Hahahaha!! That’s the best thing I’ve ever heard!
Tell us about your coolest experience, and your weirdest one. On stage as well as off?
JMD: In a past band I played a show with a stomach bug and sharted whilst singing.
Oh wow! That must have made for some very pretty faces!
Cool experience off stage was arriving at a premiere of ‘Legend’ in Leicester Square a few years ago and sharing my red carpet walk with Tom Hardy. I think he was trying to steal my limelight. So desperate haha!
Haha! Tom Hardy, who right?
What are your plans for the foreseeable future?
JMD: We have a few cool support slots followed by UK tour and festivals. We are working on some new content to release in the coming months as well as playing around with some song ideas for a follow up album. Maybe a new video as well. But before all that I plan to drink a well chilled Franziskaner Weissbier to combat an unseasonably warm UK summer.
We look forward to seeing what you guys put out next!
Most of the musicians that I know are huge nerds! So I’ve got some nerdy questions I’d like to ask to end off the interview.. DC or Marvel? And who are your favourite superheroes?
G: Neither. I’m such a nerd I prefer books….with words.
Favourite superhero: Too many to mention but Harriet Tubman or Nelson Mandela spring instantly to mind, but search the world past or present for tragedy or war and you will find real superheroes within.
Star Wars or Star Trek?
DAZ: Trek Wars
Console or PC? And which games are your favourite?
DAZ: XBOX – Fallout 4 and GTA V
Game Of Thrones or Vikings?
Finally, what facts can you tell us about the band members that people might not know?
DAZ: At one time, the drummer Dean was actually the youngest person in the world.
Wow, that must be so cool!! 😉
Check out the album here – http://smarturl.it/TemplesOnMars
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/templesonmars/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/temples_on_mars/
Website – http://www.templesonmars.com/
Interview by Tanika Coulson