Wednesday, April 02, 2003

The Cooper Temple Clause

First published in The Badger, January 2002

Holed up in a tiny windowless room somewhere inside the Concorde 2, The Cooper Temple Clause vegetate on a large leather sofa prior to their gig. Were it not for this sofa and the rock graffiti coating the walls and ceiling, this room could well pass for a Munchkinland gas chamber. Guitarist Dan points out his addition to the scribbles – someone has written an ode to childhood memory Ed The Duck, and Dan has corrected their spelling: “Edd The Duck has two D’s, you wanker”. Rock ‘n’ roll.

The Cooper Temple Clause have been touted as the next big thing for some time now. Radio 1 have given them plenty of support over the past few months, not to mention the assorted praise from numerous music publications. “It’s funny, more often than not,” says vocalist Ben. “We just go, ‘Kieran, look what they wrote about you’ and laugh.”

“It’s nice, but we don’t really feel like it’s us a lot of the time. We try not to get fazed by that kind of thing. Press pressure can be the worst thing to happen to people. I mean, The Strokes got huge press but they were ready for it. But then you’ve got Gay Dad and Ultrasound, who had so much exposure before they released, and…. well.” The pitiful tone in his voice says it all.

The band are fairly outspoken about their dislike of the marketing mentality of the music industry today – so assuming they manage to step out of their current guise as promising underdogs into the upper reaches of the chart, how would they get around that? “We haven’t really got any kind of political manifesto or scenario,” says Dan. “We just try to think on our feet a lot of the time. If it did happen, then we’d just try to address it in our own way.” Their rising success suggests they’re getting increasingly closer…

Last single Let’s Kill Music was less than a hundred sales short of a Top 40 placing, although they made quite an astonishing achievement that week. While the tabloids were blowing the Posh vs Kylie non-argument out of proportion, the CTC outsold the pair of them by miles in their home town of Reading.
“It was a very well co-ordinated buying plan. We had our parents buying, our cousins buying, our friends buying,” jokes Dan. “It goes to show that there could be a scene or a market in Reading, but there’s just no outlet for it. There’s just that monotonous thing of going to your Ben Sherman sort of pubs, then going to a club and listening to whatever music’s in the charts.” And what do these Ben Sherman, Reebok-Classicked wideboy types make of the festival that invades their home annually? “They tend to just stay indoors,” Ben sneers. “Although I think they liked Eminem!”

The CTC list their influences as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Blur, Massive Attack, Spiritualized and Portishead to name just a small fraction. But the varied blend of musical preferences within the group can sometimes be an issue: “Often, three of the band will really like something intensely, one will think it’s okay, then the other two won’t like it at all,” Dan explains. “When we started out, we were all in the same bracket, whereas now everyone explores different avenues of music. It’s very healthy, someone might bring in a record we wouldn’t normally have heard, so you get exposed to a lot of different music.”
“Except Tom.” adds Kieran. “Tom plays the same record over and over again.” The rest of the band groan in unfortunate agreement. Dan divulges: “It’s this really hardcore Northern drum ‘n’ bass remix of that Madonna song Music, with all this [cue fifteen seconds worth of an interesting vocal interpretation of random D’n’B noises], which he plays about 10 times a day. He’s one boring fucker.”

Love of ropey remixes aside, the Cooper Temple Clause have a lot to offer, and thankfully it’s beginning to reach further than their Reading fanbase. Debut album See This Through And Leave is to be followed by a Japanese tour, and a showcase in Texas for US record companies. This band will go a long, long way – and in a year’s time, it’ll be nice to remember that they stopped off at The Badger.

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