A global hit gave Aussie rock­ers the Tem­per Trap a fly­ing start – all they have to do now is top that on their sec­ond al­bum, as Cameron Adams re­ports

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

Rock­ers fi nd sweet spot

LIV­ING in London’s grim- but- af­ford­able Hack­ney placed Melbourne band the Tem­per Trap in a good ge­o­graph­i­cal po­si­tion for their global as­sault.

It also placed them in a risky ge­o­graph­i­cal po­si­tion.

Front­man Dougy Mandagi was con­fronted by a no­to­ri­ous lo­cal gang of hooded youths last year.

‘‘ They’re quite in­tim­i­dat­ing and scary when they travel in packs,’’ Mandagi says.

Luck­ily the sav­age thugs had been soothed by the Tem­per Trap’s world­wide hit Sweet Dis­po­si­tion.

When they recog­nised Mandagi, the sit­u­a­tion turned from a mug­ging op­por­tu­nity to a photo op­por­tu­nity.

‘‘ They asked for a photo. I obliged,’’ Mandagi says. ‘‘ I al­ways make time for the fans. And ‘ no’ was not an op­tion.’’

Avoid­ing im­mi­nent dan­ger is one of the many things for which the Tem­per Trap can thank Sweet Dis­po­si­tion.

The song peaked at No. 6 in Bri­tain, went dou­ble plat­inum in Australia and was so pop­u­lar in Amer­ica it con­trib­uted heav­ily to the nearly one mil­lion sales of their 2009 de­but al­bum Con­di­tions.

Aside from re­lo­cat­ing to London, the band fol­lowed the song, and the al­bum, around the world. Sev­eral times. But as with any band that has ma­jor suc­cess off one song, the Tem­per Trap has had an in­ter­est­ing re­la­tion­ship with Sweet Dis­po­si­tion.

The song helped them live the dream very few Aus­tralian bands get to ex­pe­ri­ence – they can pull an au­di­ence al­most any­where in the world.

‘‘ I wouldn’t be here now if that song wasn’t as suc­cess­ful as it has been,’’ Mandagi says.

‘‘ I won’t lie, I en­joy the com­fort in be­ing able to go where I want and do what I want.

‘‘ There’s a lot of perks that come with suc­cess, the mod­er­ate suc­cess we’ve had.’’

Sweet Dis­po­si­tion was used in movies ( most notably 500 Days of Sum­mer) and, more lu­cra­tively, in Amer­i­can tele­vi­sion ad­ver­tise­ments.

‘‘ For ev­ery ad we said ‘ yes’ to, we said ‘ no’ to an­other 20 ads,’’ Mandagi says.

‘‘ I’m over try­ing to be ide­al­is­tic and cool. Peo­ple don’t buy records any more. If they did, I wouldn’t put my songs in Coke and Chrysler ads.’’

The un­avoid­able Sweet Dis­po­si­tion cast a shadow of ex­pec­ta­tion over the band’s self- ti­tled sec­ond al­bum, which was a year in the mak­ing.

Mandagi ad­mits that, to­wards the end, record com­pany rep­re­sen­ta­tives started to hover, ea­ger for an­other ma­jor hit.

‘‘ It rubs off on you. We got wor­ried by the end. But they’re just do­ing their job,’’ he says.

Luck­ily they had an ace up their sleeve. Live key­boardist Joseph Greer, now an of­fi­cial fifth mem­ber, had played a riff dur­ing sound­checks, which Mandagi hummed over.

It turned into Trem­bling Hands, one of the first songs fin­ished for the new al­bum and their most heart­felt to date.

Veer­ing into emo­tional rock ter­ri­tory, it’s be­ing ear­marked as the song to se­duce Amer­i­can ra­dio once again.

‘‘ I al­ways thought it had a Cold­play tinge to it,’’ Mandagi says. ‘‘ Cold­play slash Snow Pa­trol. Not a bad thing.’’

How­ever in­sid­ers sug­gested Trem­bling Hands was too Cold­play for Mandagi’s lik­ing, es­pe­cially when it was men­tioned as their come­back sin­gle.

‘‘ I played it to friends. They liked it. They said it sounded like Cold­play. My worry was I didn’t want to come back with a song that sounded like Cold­play,’’ he says. ‘‘ Even if peo­ple don’t like Need Your Love, at least it sounds like us. A lot of peo­ple don’t like Need Your Love, to be hon­est. Some peo­ple do. You’ve got to be brave.’’

SEC­OND TIME AROUND: The Tem­per Trap are back with a new al­bum out soon.

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