Tem­pered friend­ships

The Tem­per Trap have been look­ing out for each other since their way­ward early teens, a bond that keeps them to­gether to­day, writes KRISTY SY­MONDS

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MUSIC -

THE foun­da­tions of The Tem­per Trap brother­hood were firmly ce­mented by the age of 13 for bassist Jonathon Ah­erne. The self- de­scribed wan­derer, who grew up around Mel­bourne, first met and formed a friend­ship with In­done­sian- born front­man Dougy Mandagi dur­ing his early teens.

“I grew up in, like, a mis­sion­ary or­gan­i­sa­tion,” Ah­erne says.

“It’s like a church and lots of peo­ple came to vol­un­teer, and Dougy was one of the peo­ple who vol­un­teered.

“There were al­ways a lot of peo­ple who had gui­tars and I was al­ways go­ing ‘ Some­one give me a les­son,’ and Dougy was one of the first peo­ple I asked.”

Mandagi, who was five years older, soon be­come a broth­erly fig­ure to Ah­erne, teach­ing him how to pluck (“very badly”) a few chords on the gui­tar.

“Not to get all su­per Oprah, but I dropped out of school when I was 14 and he was like a big brother to me,” Ah­erne says. “So there was def­i­nitely a bond be­tween me and Dougy.

“Dougy looked out for me when I was pretty young, in a nice way … I never thought I would play in a band with him.”

Years later, when the pair were work­ing in the same shop­ping mall, Mandagi ap­proached Ah­erne, telling him his band needed a bassist for prac­tice that night.

“I’m like, ‘ Dude, you know how bad I am – you taught me’,” Ah­erne says.

“He knew my abil­ity was lousy, at best, so he just went, ‘ Just come and I will tell you what to play and it will be fine’.”

Af­ter re­hears­ing their “butts off”, Ah­erne says he pretty quickly be­gan to pick it up and seven months later the band were ready to start gig­ging.

“The band’s men­tal­ity was that we needed to be sharp be­fore we ever per­formed in front of

THE TEM­PER TRAP play Groovin The Moo, May 11, Hay Park, Bun­bury. Tick­ets $ 99.90 plus book­ing fee from Moshtix any­one,” he says. “For a band just kick­ing about Mel­bourne, we al­ready had quite a pro­fes­sional men­tal­ity, so we were pretty tight.”

Ac­cord­ing to Ah­erne, their first show was at a mate’s 21st – a lit­tle less glam­orous on the scale of the now Lon­don- based band’s cur­rent con­cert re­sume, which in­cludes their cel­e­brated half- time per­for­mance at last year’s AFL grand fi­nal.

“It’s hard to get peo­ple in the in­dus­try to no­tice you, so we played a lot of gigs,” he says, adding they would of­ten drive to Syd­ney for shows.

Ah­erne says while work­ing at St Jerome’s Bar he used to fre­quently pester his boss, Jerome Bo­razio, who ran St Jerome’s Laneway Fes­ti­val with Danny Rogers, to give the band a break.

Rogers, who now man­ages Go­tye and The Tem­per Trap, agreed to give the band a slot on the fes­ti­val bill be­cause Ah­erne and drum­mer Toby Dun­das knew of some cool spa­ces around town and were “pretty in­ven­tive with putting on silly gigs in car parks”.

“That was the first time we ever had any­one throw us a bone,” Ah­erne says. “There were peo­ple there [ at the show] that had never heard us or seen us and then peo­ple started to act in­ter­ested.”

Ac­cord­ing to Ah­erne, friend­ships be­tween the five piece, which in­cludes Lorenzo Sil­litto, who went to school with Dun­das, on lead gui­tar and Joseph Greer on key­boards, re­main a strong foun­da­tion.

“No one wants to hear peo­ple talk about mu­sic as work,” Ah­erne says. “But oc­ca­sion­ally times can get tough and so many bands break up be­cause of stupid things, but [ not] if you have a friend­ship and a brother­hood.

“Your abil­ity to get along with one an­other is equally as im­por­tant as your mu­si­cal abil­ity – it’s not sep­a­rate to me.

“A lot of peo­ple don’t see that but that’s key for us.”

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