By Jim Schutze
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Luke Temple sounds like he's in the middle of an afternoon party—as he talks over the phone, his sentences are cut off with background laughter and shouts of glee.
In reality, he's just in a van with his four fellow musicians from Here We Go Magic, rolling down the highway en route to San Diego. They've scheduled a few shows in California in order to make their performance at Indio, California's Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival a little more lucrative.
A long drive from the band's home in New York for just one performance in California can be quite time-consuming. Sure, it would be nice to have a few extra days off in the California springtime, but neither Temple nor anyone in his band is complaining. In fact, they seem to thrive on it.
"Time goes by pretty quickly when you're doing something you like," Temple says. "I remember looking at our tour itinerary at the beginning of last year, and we had this nine-month tour with no breaks at all. I remember thinking, 'I don't think we're going to be able to do this. Someone might pass away along the way.' It didn't seem possible—then all of a sudden it was over and it was like, 'Really? That was it?'"
After their nine-month tour was over, the band took some much-needed time off from the road. But, instead of working in some rest and relaxation, they spent the whole time hashing out ideas for new material, which is still only in the beginning stages.
"We were rehearsing six days a week," says Temple, who hopes his band's new material will differ slightly. But he has no plans to leave behind the psychedelic sound of the band's 2010 sophomore LP, Pigeons.
On Pigeons, Here We Go Magic made a strong musical statement, incorporating ethereal, tripped-out moments with rhythms and melodies similar to that of The Talking Heads.
"We all wanted it to be more of this experience that goes in and out of the murk," Temple says. "A song will kind of pop out of this amorphous cloud, go back underwater, and another song will poke its head out."
And, slowly but surely, so will different aspects of the band. The recently released The January EP, stands as proof of the band's wide-ranging capabilities. Despite being recorded during the same studio session as Pigeons, it's somewhat different from its predecessor. A faint taste of the ethereal lingers on this six-song offering, but it's far more song-focused—the direction Temple hopes his band will pursue on its next full-length.
"There's an emphasis on clarity that there never really was an emphasis on before," he says. "I like the idea of returning to good songwriting."
And, after a few years of opening for some of the world's best bands, including their friends in Grizzly Bear, the prospect of the band incorporating some new inspirations into their material seems like an exciting one.
"You can't help but be influenced by your peers, by the zeitgeist you're in," Temple says. "We sort of have absorbed stuff through osmosis, [even if] it's not a conscious thing."