DFW Music News

Temptress Is Making Heavy Music, Not Metal

Temptress may have come out swinging as a metal band, but time and practice have them thinking about new sounds.
Temptress may have come out swinging as a metal band, but time and practice have them thinking about new sounds. David Fletcher
Dallas’s woman-fronted metal band Temptress had barely gotten their first demo EP out before the world shut down on them.

For about 360 bucks, the band recorded the three songs they would use to promote themselves in one afternoon in a friend’s recording studio.

The tracks were raw, flawed, raunchy and a perfect sign-off from a previous project.

You may know vocalist and guitar player Kelsey Wilson, guitarist Erica Pipes and drummer Andi Cuba from that project, the punk-metal band Tricounty Terror.

“It's not off-limits, but it's not something that you really want to promote or bring back up,” says Cuba of  her previous band. “It was a good stepping stone for getting us to this project. But it's something that's, like, in the past and better left in the past because we're super proud of this one.”

Cuba took the reins on that first EP, penning the lyrics to one of its more sexually suggestive tracks “Ride of Your Life” — a speed metal-inspired track in which the woman narrator takes the lead in a sexual encounter, asking her companion if they “are ready for the ride of your life?”

“I wrote the lyrics to that because in a previous project we were told to be aggressive, aggressive, aggressive, so we wanted to write a song like Motörhead,” Cuba says. “My favorite Motörhead song is ‘Limb from Limb’; that song is very aggressively sexual, but not in a bad way, just like the lyrics are like, ‘Lover, I want to tear you limb from limb.’”

While that fast, aggressive, heavy sound may have carried over from their previous project, the women of Temptress are not interested in keeping that sound going as they enter the studio to begin working on their first album.

“Those songs were written with just us three,” Wilson says of the new EP. “Then we had [bass player] Christian [Wright] come in with a few songs. So, we have this really crazy mix of chill music and then really intense music. And then throughout COVID we kind of phased out the things that we weren't really feeling anymore and started to work on what we wanted to be in the future. That kind of came out as this kind of doom psych-rock.”

The band isn’t planning on phasing out absolutely everything from that first EP. Die-hard fans can still look forward to hearing one of those first three songs live.

“We're going to keep one of them in the back pocket,” Wilson says. “I think we'll probably keep ‘Heavy Woman’ in our back pocket. It's just a really catchy song, and it's got more of a rock ‘n’ roll vibe to it.”

With the addition of Wright on bass, the band became increasingly aware of their separate influences and began working to bring the sounds together into something that is just a little bit harder to define than simply “metal.”

“What is great between our connection is that we're always down with everything else,” Wilson says. “We just have like so many different influences, like Erica's into different stuff than Christian, than me than Andi.”

Pipes goes on to explain that while she favors thrash punk, Wilson veers toward classic rock, Wright likes the heavy stuff and Cuba is a fan of shoe-gaze.

“We're not all like-minded,” Wright says. “We are together as one, but not from our background. We're bringing more post-rock, which is kind of edgy.”

Reflecting on what Temptress has been working on in the studio, Wilson says we can expect something that builds on the first EP without repeating what has already been done.

“There's a couple of them that are heavier, but not as much,” she says. “They're a little more complex. And like Christian brought a lot of lyrics in that were, you know, just … I don't think you can pinpoint more of one thing than another.

“I would consider ourselves heavy music. I think that is a term we would claim.”

"Our playing level right now, we're not going to get shit for it because we know what we're doing, we have an idea and we can carry it out.” – Andi Cuba

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When we'll actually get to hear the music Temptress has been working on in a streaming or physical format remains to be seen, as the band takes its time in the recording process.

“We're going to shop it first,” Wright says. “Hopefully by spring next year we'll have a full release party. We're going to see how it goes, and hopefully, there won’t be an apocalypse by then.”

For the time being, Temptress is focusing on beefing up their live shows and looking forward to their tour with Austin doom metal/stoner rock band Monte Luna this fall.

While live shows for this mostly-woman band have often been ridiculed by other players and fans in the male-dominated genre, the band says they have experienced it less and less as they've proven themselves masters of their craft.

“Our music speaks for itself, and it's to be taken more seriously, which helps a lot,” says Cuba. “That has a lot to do with being taken seriously off stage as well. What we play — the style, the genre, how we present ourselves on stage — it's like we get more respect. We’ve grown as musicians, as well. Our playing level right now, we're not going to get shit for it because we know what we're doing, we have an idea and we can carry it out.”

At the moment, Temptress only has one show scheduled for North Texas before heading out on tour — a free show Oct. 2 at Division Brewing — but its members say to keep checking their social media accounts because anything could happen between now and then.

“Give us a good, hard shot,” Wilson implores. “Listen to the new album. I think everyone's really going to like it, but I also think it’s much better live.”
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David Fletcher writes about music, arts and culture for the Dallas Observer. You can usually find him at a show in Deep Ellum whether he's writing about it or not. A punk scholar and local music enthusiast, David focuses his attention on the artists screaming in the margins of Dallas' music scene.
Contact: David Fletcher