Welcome to Part 2 of our interview with Robert Diament of Temposhark. In this part Rob talks about touring, some of his favourite Madonna albums, blogging and even takes on some EQ reader questions! In case you missed Part 1 last week, make sure you click here.
‘Winters Coming’ is such a beautiful electronic track – can you talk a little more about how this track came about?
Even though it’s the last song on the album, its probably my favourite song on the CD! I wrote it with Guy Sigsworth in his London studio one day. He was playing on the harpsichord and I just sang. I’d written the opening phrase of it on my keyboard, and a few pages of a related poem, the previous weekend, and just took that with me to Guy’s. It’s a song about dreading winter, knowing you have to move on from losing a loved one and get on with your life.
So we have an EQ reader question from Michelle in Florida, she asks – “In the behind the scenes ‘Blame’ video footage, you all appear to be really good friends and have a marvelous sense of humor. Is this typical of how the four of you get along with each other?
Oh yes! I think that video was filmed at RAK studios in London when we were recording one day. We all get on very well, it’s nice, we’re a bit like brothers. Mark and Mathis make me laugh so much. Mark is particularly comic, he likes to wind us up!
Any plans for any other music videos coming up?
Yes we will be making another video soon! It just has to be the right idea. That’s a side I’m really looking forward to experimenting with in the future.
We have another reader question from Maria in Venice, she asks – “During the last year you’ve travelled a lot, you’ve brought your music to the US and Canada, and you’ve visited Cyprus, Turkey, Italy, France… Have you felt inspired to write new music while you were surrounded by these new realities, and how have these places affected your writing, if they have?
Yes I always write when I travel. I’ve just got back today from Berlin in fact and I’m considering writing some of the next album in Berlin. I have some friends there with cool studios. I caught up with my friends from Noblesse Oblige who are a cool punk rock band over there and also saw Joel from The Hidden Cameras there…there’s a lot of great music stuff happening there right now and I love the atmosphere. I’m also addicted to France, I’d love to live and work in Paris at some point soon. Touring is always amazing too. The US and Canada tour in 2007 blew my mind. It was a total dream come true. I’ve actually written loads of new songs since that tour, I have about 20 or so ideas plus about 8 songs ready to be recorded for the second Temposhark CD, most of which were written just after travelling…
So Rob, you recently just finished guest blogging for Arjan Writes. How important do you feel blogging and social communities like MySpace and Facebook are relative to your music and making it successful?
I think blogs are amazing. I love their instant nature. I love the way everyone can express themselves and their thoughts on the world. I try to read as many as I can when I have the time. Some of them are so funny! MySpace has really helped us to connect with our fans and make new fans. We got selected by MySpace Music in both US and UK who put us on their front page and this led to so many new people discovering us. It’s amazing how powerful the Internet has become, and how much smaller the world is. I don’t think we’d ever have been this successful over in the US had it not been for the Internet, digital music, stores like iTunes, blogs like yours and Arjan’s opening up new doors for us. It’s brilliant!
Any plans to tour in 2008? What can we expect from a Temposhark show? Believe it or not, I haven’t seen you live yet! More London dates – I demand it!
YES! I promise. It brings the album to life. Live drums, live bass, live keys and in 2008 we’re planning on a few acoustic tracks and even me singing alone at piano, you’ll see! We’re planning a tour right now so keep an eye out!
So I noticed you have covered Madonna’s hit ‘Like A Prayer’ in some live footage. Why this song? Any other Lady M songs you’d like to cover? Are there any other musicians or artists that heavily influence you?
I really like Madonna and other pop legends like Prince. I know some people slag her off, but I don’t know why really. She fascinates me, and always has done. I love songs like ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ but the ‘Like a Prayer’ album is really amazing. I like her when she opens up and explores her inner self. I actually like ‘American Life’ a lot.
Me too, one of her most underrated albums actually…
Some of the songs on there are beautiful, and Mirwais is a great producer. But I also have a side to me that loves less pop stuff like Joni Mitchell, Jeff Buckley, Tori Amos, Laura Nyro, Regina Spektor, David Bowie, when I was in my teens I was really into Suede and Skunk Anansie.
What have you found to be the main difference between playing to US crowds versus UK crowds during your recent tours?
US crowds tend to interact more with you. I loved it when people on the US tour would just shout things at you. Like, “YES! YOU ROCK!” or “PLAY ‘PARIS’!!!!” which really took me by surprise! And I actually had conversations with a few people, we haven’t had that as much in the US. The thing I found most surprising about touring the US was that most of the audiences knew the lyrics to our songs! It was madness! I mean we haven’t even had an album out yet, that’s the power of the net I guess. Very cool!
What’s it like working with Melnyk? Any more planned colloborations with artists from the brilliant Gaymonkey label?
Melnyk is really cool. I respect him a lot because he runs his own label too and has done really well for himself. I loved his Pet Shop Boys remix recently. We’re talking about writing together, I’m up for that! I think we’d work well in the studio, let’s see…
When I think of other artists that you remind me of, Nine Inch Nails immediatley spring to mind. Fair comparison or completley off the mark?
Nine Inch Nails? Wow that’s cool. I like Trent Reznor a lot. I think his voice is great and his energy. So to be compared to them is cool! He’s someone I’d love to work with actually, now you’ve said that. I only discovered NIN in 2005, I was a late fan of theirs, as I grew up listening to people like Kate Bush and Tori Amos, lots of female voices.
So that’s it – thanks Robert. Any parting words for the readers of EQ?
I hope you enjoy the album! If you come see us on tour, make sure you stay after the show because it’s always nice to meet up after a show!