After winning the 'Melbourne Music Bank' last year, Tempus Sun have brought to us their debut single Owls, a feel-good tune that gains momentum as you keep listening and has lyrics that are not only relatable but also powerful. Touching on the formerly stigmatised, now empowering topic of mental health and mental wellness with what has become my mantra to start off every day: "Speak up, my friend, the time to be heard is now"
Tempus Sun will be launching Owls with a show at The Toff on June 30.
Directed by Edwin Tedjokusumo (Eskimo Joe), the music video for this song is equally enchanting. Bringing together elements of picturesque landscapes and underwater snapshots and using distinct features of Melbourne, the band openly and beautifully ponder on a positive spin regarding mental health, which all begins with a conversation.
Liam: Andrew Wortes (vocals), Rya Park (vocals), Grant Hardisty (keys and vocals), Ed Borromeo (guitar), Sean Close (bass), and Liam Purser (drums).
Tema: How did the band members come together and decide on the idea to create Tempus Sun? Liam: We were very lucky when it came to putting the band together - we all study/studied at The Australian Institute of Music, which is where we all met. It started in early 2016 as an original acoustic group, which had Ed, Andrew, and Grant. Ed's idea of "Owls" started to evolve and it wasn't until a few months later that they thought putting the song into a full band context was due. Rya Park became a permanent part of the band after filling in for Andrew at one of the band's first performances – and later on Sean and me (Liam) were permanently added to complete Tempus Sun!
Tema: I listened to your single "Owls" and what I got was a range of emotions - there's a bit of chill, a bit of mystery, a bit of adrenaline. And there are so many subtle dark but relatable themes channeled through the lyrics (and the video). What's the story behind the song? Liam: The song was written for a songwriting competition we entered called Listen Up Australia hosted by Ali at The Official Top Ten Night – a nation-wide company that has recently gone international; that Tempus Sun has just become ambassadors for. The competition's main theme was based around mental health, and speaking up when times get tough. With these elements in mind, Ed and Andrew wrote the basis of "Owls". And after the band was finally put together, we created the monster it is today. It's quite a meaningful song for the band as personal experience comes into effect with mental health and the awareness of it. We really hope this helps bring awareness to others who listen to the song.
Tema: Are there any bands / singers / musicians whose work(s) have inspired you to create your own original musical flair? Liam: As a band, our main influences include Of Monsters & Men, and Mumford and Sons. We embraced their use of male/female unison vocals and used that our advantage. We like to see ourselves as an indie rock/pop group (rather than folk). Bands like Coldplay and Boy & Bear are huge influences as well. On the other hand, each band members' influences are another story. With Grant's background in classical piano, Sean's in jazz-fusion, and my own in heavy rock/metal music, we make for a very diverse bunch. This makes the writing process quite an interesting one.
Tema: How would you explain the concepts / themes of your band to someone who has never heard of you before?
Liam: Good question! As a very diverse group, we try to embrace a very warm and large sound that utilises all 6 band members. Absolutely incredible vocal harmonies, chugging guitars, and a tight yet fat drum and bass section. A lot of our songs are very meaningful and captivating, where others are tracks that'll get you dancing all night long. We're all aspiring musicians with huge amounts of passion that just want to make music for the world for the rest of our lives. We believe our live performance quality possibly exceeds our recordings, and we pride that – as playing live is what it's all about for us! We strive for catchy, memorable (yet somewhat complex) music that everyone can enjoy – and we plan on continuing that for a very long time.
Tema: How did your success through the Melbourne Music Bank competition help you move forward in the music industry? Liam: It's helped us a great deal, that's for sure! It has boosted us to a level that we didn't think was possible in such a short amount of time. Since taking out the competition 8 months ago we've done a lot. Firstly, we played at Beyond the Valley festival over the New Year, an amazing experience and a whole lot of fun. We've written and recorded a five-track EP with the amazing Tom Larkin in his studio at The Studios in the City, we've had photoshoots, interviews, radio plugs, some magnificent gigs, and we've recently had "Owls" made into a music video, with one of our other songs from the EP possibly getting one too! We've just recently had plays on Triple J, and our video for "Owls" will be played on MTV and Rage – we're thrilled! The support we've had from our team at the Bank of Melbourne has been simply astounding, and we couldn't thank them enough for what they've done to boost us into the industry!
Tema: How did you come up with the concept of your magical video for "Owls"? Can you talk us through the process from selecting the videographers to the props to the setting? Liam: The Melbourne Music Bank competition prize package gave us a lot, including the chance for the amazing Edwin Tedjokusumo and his team to shoot our video for "Owls"! As a professional, we left Edwin with most of the ideas for props and settings etc., after we gave him what we wanted as a basis. What he has produced for us is jaw dropping - we honestly couldn't be happier with the final product. The two actors; Saiyon Phelan and Rowan Hendrick did an amazing job too!
Tema: What's your ideal scenario of creating music - can you walk us through the creative thought-making process?
Liam: Our writing process is interesting, with Ed, Andrew, Grant, and Rya being the four main creators. They'll go away as pairs or on their own, bring back the basis of a song to the band and we'll turn it into a full band piece – a similar technique we used on "Owls". Generally, Ed and Andrew will come back with a song with guitar and vocals to be completed, while Rya and Grant might go away and come back with a different-sounding tune consisting of simply vocals and keys. The two pairs make different yet complementing music – which really helps us with being a diverse band. With Ed being an ex-drummer, the drum writing process is great. Having two different minds combine really brings out the best beat we need for a new song.
[BTema: ]What should people anticipate from your new album?[/B]
Liam: A warm, full sound – whaling guitars and vocals – a tight rhythm section – incredible amounts of magnificent harmonies – but also, some ambience and authenticity. With different backgrounds within the band, our self-titled EP will make you want to dance, but also really relax and feel the music. Our sound varies from song to song, and we treasure that. Each influence will hopefully be noticeable in some of our tracks – you'll just have to find out when it releases in August!
Tema: How do you feel about people comparing you to the likes of Mumford & Sons, Of Monsters & Men, and Boy & Bear?
Liam: We feel absolutely honoured, as they are some of our biggest influences as a band. Obviously, we hope to be as successful as them one day, like any band would. With the male/female unison vocals, numerous amounts of harmonies and a pop/rock-esque rhythm section; we hope to be as influential as those guys one day. We absolutely love the comparisons, although we have a long way to go!
Tema: Is there anything else that you'd like our readers (and your fans) to know about Tempus Sun?
Liam: If you want to hear the songs from our upcoming debut EP early, and even better, with more authenticity; jump down to our gigs to hear it for yourself!