BY DIANCA LONDON Here We Go Magic is like a ray of sunshine inside the cloudy day of their own lovely murk. Since releasing their self-titled debut, the Brooklyn based six-piece has shared the stage with the likes of Grizzly Bear and managed to thaw the permafrost of rock critics’ hearts. Comfortably lo-fi with hints of folk, psychedelia and indie pop, Here We Go Magic is like a kinder, gentler Animal Collective, eschewing heavy-handed distortion in favor of hushed prettiness. Recently we got Here We Go Magic mainman Luke Temple on the phone to chat about the band’s next album, debunk his WikiBio and share his thoughts on Kanye “ima let you finish” West. Here We Go Magic plays the TLA tonight with The Walkmen & The War On Drugs.
PHAWKER: According to Sufjan Stevens you have “one of the most beautiful voices in pop music.” Do you consider this an accurate description of your voice and do you consider Here We Go Magic’s sound as pop?
LUKE TEMPLE: Yeah, I guess so in that we strive to be popular. Like, make music that people like. I guess that’s what pop music is, so yeah sure. I think pop music deludes definition at this point. There’s been the worst music in the name of pop music and then there’s been some of the best music every made. And I don’t even know if Sufjan Stevens ever even said that to be honest… I don’t know if that’s even ever been said. I think that’s like a telephone game, like he muttered my name at some point in a conversation and word got around and all of a sudden that quote formed or something.
PHAWKER: So far the press seems to have quite the crush on your release, mainly focusing on you rather than fawning over the band as a whole. Do you see yourself as a singer-songwriter backed by a band or as one component of a creative collaboration?
LUKE TEMPLE: Now it is a band. We’re a band now. When I first made that record it was just me. I put a band together to facilitate the live show but now that we’ve been playing for awhile and now we’re working on our next record we’re a band, so its no longer is a singer-songwriter supported by a band. I still write the songs but the mixture of everyone’s individual voice is really important for us to get the sound that we get, the arrangements of the songs end up being as important as the writing of the song. It’s definitely a collaborative effort at this point.
PHAWKER: So when do you think your next album will be done?
LUKE TEMPLE: We’ll be finished recording it by the beginning of November and probably mix through the winter and then I think it’ll be coming out in the spring or early summer, something like that.
PHAWKER: Any titles in mind?
LUKE TEMPLE: Nah, I’m going to keep under wraps. It’s a really powerful title and I think that if it gets out early it might snowball in the wrong way.
PHAWKER: According to Wikipedia, you’re a native of Salem. I used to work there, it’s a pretty rad place. Do you miss it?
LUKE TEMPLE: I was literally only born in Salem. I never lived there. Actually I think we lived there for the first six months of my life. I have two memories of Salem. One is being pushed really hard by my dad on a swing. We were visiting there and I was probably a toddler and he pushed out of the swing and I went flying and my tooth went through my lip. And I also remember being taken as a baby to the witch museum by my mom and screaming and crying. She had to take me out. You walk into this room and the floor lights up like a disco or something and this crazy cackling and it was just terrifying. So those are my two memories of Salem.
PHAWKER: Those are some great memories… So on your website under your synopsis, it says that “a song is the rise and fall of an empire.” Which of the songs on Here We Go Magic’s self-titled do you think fully express that idea?
LUKE TEMPLE: That little artist statement is really overwrought. I don’t know if I really stand behind it. What I was really meaning to say by that is it’s a dramatic way of saying that a song or a painting or something is a way of putting a frame on something. It’s a composition that makes sense because life just keeps going, it doesn’t really have a beginning or an end, so a song is away of encapsulating a whole movement. Its kind of like looking at the rise and fall of a city or a civilization or something, all the dramatic events that occur and the resolutions and all the stuff that happens. It also happens in songs. I don’t know, maybe the most dramatic song on that record is “Tunnel vision.” I don’t know.
PHAWKER: Last time Here We Go Magic was in Philly you opened for Grizzly Bear. Has your live set changed at all since then?
LUKE TEMPLE: Yeah. We’ve certainly gotten better as a band on that tour. I mean we haven’t been playing live much recently because we’ve been recording so we need to get our sea-legs back. But we’re on tour now so I thinkthat’ll take a bit, especially because our drummer isn’t playing with us for the first week because he has pneumonia so were playing without a drummer, we’re just doing an acoustic thing for a few shows until he’s better.
PHAWKER: Describe the recording process for the new album in 20ish words or less.
LUKE TEMPLE: Well, it’s great, then it’s kind of okay, and then sometimes it’s kind of shitty. Then its okay, and then it’s really great for awhile and then it’s shitty again, and then it’s great for awhile.
PHAWKER: So it’s a bit like life?
LUKE TEMPLE: Yeah.
PHAWKER: If you could share the stage with any musician, dead or alive, who would it be?
LUKE TEMPLE: I would share it with Neil Young.
LUKE TEMPLE: Because he’s just the genuine article and I really resonate with his voice. Literally and figuratively, like his voice in music, the approach he had and kind of no-nonsense frankness and clarity of his expression is great. Also as a performer he’s just really electric and the best. I’d love to play screaming guitar solos with him. I think that would be really amazing.
PHAWKER: Finish the following sentence. Kanye West is _________________.
LUKE TEMPLE: … a fig brain. That’s spelled F-I-G-B-R-A-I-N.