TemperTemper’s big break
His jaw dropped in awe.
The first time Thomas Hoy, the lead singer of Halifax’s TemperTemper, saw the Dirty Projectors in concert he was instantly overtaken with amazement by the group’s intricate harmonies.
“They are an extraordinarily virtuosic band,” he says. “(Lead vocalist) David Longstreth’s musical ideas are very interesting and difficult, and there they were pulling them off.”
Remnants of those complicated but gorgeous harmonies he so admired are present on TemperTemper’s newly released self-titled debut album.
“They’re doing a similar thing to what I want to do. It’s extremely interesting music that doesn’t stop being fun when it starts being interesting,” says Hoy.
TemperTemper is definitely interesting. The track “Magnets in Love” is catchy, electric, kind of minor and has a quickening tempo. “Boyzngurlz” is youthful and cartoon-ish, while “Fail” is almost futuristic. With contrasting male and female voices, all the vocal layers, shifts in rhythms within songs and a variety of mellow and upbeat tracks, Hoy has achieved his goal of releasing a fun album that still reveals the group’s ability to create elaborate compositions.
Rehearsals have helped the detail-oriented band perfect their own harmonies. Their techniques include slowing the songs down to a quarter of the usual tempo or playing in the dark, which allows the band to listen and stay in tune with one another.
“I almost think of us as an organ,” says Hoy. “I really want it to function as though it’s one person playing an instrument.”
The band, which formed in early 2011, is made up of Leah Collins Lipsett, Jeremy Dutcher, Thomas Hoy and Ben Shaw—all current music students at Dalhousie.
But aside from Hoy’s classes over the last two years at Dal, he was never formally trained in music.
Always a fan, Hoy grew up listening to The Beatles and loving pop. The first CD he purchased was the soundtrack for The Night at the Roxbury. But one day, he realized music meant something more to him.
“I had this moment one night when I was lying in bed and I put the Bloc Party record Silent Alarm on, and I was listening to it like I’d never heard music before. I was like ‘Oh my God, there is a band, in my bedroom with me, playing amazing songs to me, this is so awesome,’ ” says Hoy with a smile.
During his high school years, he experimented with the guitar for hours in his basement. Then, his time at the University of King’s College cemented his choice to apply to the music program at Dal. And the classical training is paying off.
“Coming to music school and formalizing that training has made me able to hear more quickly what I want and come up with more inventive things. As I continue to write for TemperTemper, I’m really seeing the music take the shape that I’ve always imagined for it as my musical understanding grows.”
As TemperTemper celebrates its new album at the Bus Stop Theatre on March 31, they are sure to leave listeners in a state of pleasant awe.
TemperTemper’s debut album is free online through Facebook and at TemperTemperBand.com