“It’s a Good Feeling”: An Interview with Here We Go Magic

Greg Merrell chats up Luke Temple and Michael Bloch of ambient indie quintet Here We Go Magic. Topics discussed include finding a bassist, Krautrock, and touring with Grizzly Bear.

Sufjan Stevens said that Luke Temple had “one of the most beautiful voices in pop music.” Yet in his new outfit, Here We Go Magic, Temple’s voice isn’t the only awe-worthy feature. Their genre-expansive album is full of ambience, melodies, and grooves to sooth the soul. Pitchfork compared them to other lo-fi acts like Deerhunter, No Age, and Women, but Here We Go Magic is something far more delicate and introverted.

I interviewed Temple and the rest of the band after their show at Chop Suey in Seattle on June 25.

Here We Go Magic; photo courtesy of Western Vinyl.

Here We Go Magic; photo courtesy of Western Vinyl.

The Bygone Bureau: Do you expect to keep both names of Luke Temple and Here We Go Magic going?

Luke Temple: Yes. Right now my heart is set in playing as Here We Go Magic. I’ve never played with a solid band before, and it’s a lot of fun. I’m sure Luke Temple stuff will keep happening though.

How did you guys end up playing together?

Temple: Well I’ve been playing with Mike [Bloch] for a while. He’s my roommate as well.

Michael Bloch: We met and picked up our keyboardist [Kristina Lieberson] from a show we played with a project that she was in. Luke really liked her voice.

Temple: We also met our bassist [Jennifer Turner] from another show. She was the only one at that show who was really ecstatic about our music. She asked if we needed a bass player, and we currently had been trying another one that wasn’t working very well. So she came out and played with us. The first song we played went on for like twenty minutes, and she just stood really close to our drummer [Peter Hale] and felt out what he was playing. That was one thing he was really struggling with when we were playing with the previous bass player. So, it was a good sign that things were going to work out.

What kind slower/spacier/ambient music inspired songs like “Ghost List” and “Nat’s Alien”?

Temple: At that time, I was listening to the soundtrack to the remake of Nosferatu a lot. It was done by Popol Vuh, which is really cool German Krautrock.

Is it hard to go from recording everything solo to playing live as a band? What was that process like?

Temple: It’s really hard. The first time I played with a band, we had six days to figure out how to play all the songs as a live band. But I don’t currently play with that group anymore. This time around, we had a few months.

Bloch: It felt like a few months, but really it was six weeks.

Temple: Okay, well… six weeks. We really got to work through our songs this time around though.

There were a few new songs you played at the show tonight. Are these also songs you wrote and then tried to figure out as a band?

Temple: No, these are more band-oriented songs. All the live versions of songs are band twists on my original ideas. I write the core of all the songs, but the songs have a much different feeling when they’re written out with the band in mind. It’s a good feeling.

When do you think you’ll record next?

Temple: We’re set up to be recording in August and should have the record done sometime in September. We’re putting it out with Secretly Canadian.

How was touring with Grizzly Bear?

Temple and Bloch: Amazing.

Temple: [It's] really inspiring how four people could make so much noise on stage.

Bloch: They have done a really good job of recreating their new album [Veckatimest] on stage. It’s absolutely beautiful.

Temple: They have such a full sound with every little detail tweaked to perfection. We play within the limitations of our equipment and try to be creative with it.

This philosophy is shown through in your recording. Your recording process has always been analog. Why do you like analog better than digital?

Temple: I’ve always really liked what tape does to music. It compresses all of these audio signals on to just one thin strip. I also just listen to a lot of older music and like how those recordings sound.

What was the recording process of your recent album like?

Temple: I recorded the entire album, which was recorded on a four track and GarageBand with one microphone. I would record four tracks and then bounce them to two tracks in GarageBand and put on all sorts of effects. Then I would bounce these back as two tracks onto the four tracks and have two free tracks to record more on. I’d continue with this process and have unlimited tracks to record on the four track, but still have that tape sound.

The last song on the album is different…

Temple: That song came from a Luke Temple recording session. I was playing with Mike and a few others on that track. It’s the only song on the album that I didn’t entirely record.

Here We Go Magic is closing their tour in Europe. Their self-titled debut album is out now on Western Vinyl.

Greg Merrell enjoys music equivalent to post-modern art, believes the spoon is a superior eating utensil to the fork, and believes the analog synthesizer is the song of god. He currently plays in the bands $2,000 Puma and Mellowtron and the Harp.