Eskimo Joe will make a massive resurgence in 2019 starting off this January with the Under The Southern Stars tour with Hoodoo Gurus, You Am I, The Superjesus, British India and more. 2018 has seen a lot of awesome things happen for The Eskies including re-releases of Girl, Inshalla and Ghosts Of The Past as well playing shows with orchestras in Sydney, Tasmania and hometown Perth not forgetting Kav Temperley’s debut solo album All Your Devotion. It was a great chat with Kav Temperly about what’s in store for 2019 including the Under The Southern Stars tour.
2018 sounds like it had been an epic year for yourself personally and for Eskimo Joe?
Absolutely, I have been lucky enough to put out a solo record which has been awesome and then jumping back on the road with some classic rock shows with the Eskies is great to. I feel very blessed.
Your solo record was outstanding, you should be very proud of what you’ve done with that.
Thank you very much, I really appreciate that. I put a lot of love and effort in to it so when you put the full stop on the end of it at the end of the project you don’t know if anyone is going to here it.
Did All Your Devotion feel like a long time in the making to find yourself musically?
It did, I started with mucking around with as many different sounds I could get my hands on. The thing about being in a band is that you end up comfortably putting yourself in to a pigeon hole and when you go out to do a solo record you’re like I can do anything I want. You end up going around in circles but where I came back to was that I wanted to make a modern sounding record and make it honesty and earthy, just like a real sound. I mucked around a bit until I found this place and the place was more like what I was doing was when I wrote the Eskimo Joe album A Song Is A City. There’s a lot of me on an acoustic guitar and a piano making a song work acoustic and building up the song from there. Then it was getting all my favourite sounds in, all these cool sounds from the seventies that I love like Neil Young and putting it in which is a really lovely holiday from what I do with Eskimo Joe where everything is bigger and rock ‘n roll.
Once you finished the album did you have the belief you created something amazing?
Again, that’s why I really appreciate people like yourself saying you heard it and understand it. I think when you make a record you have to be your own biggest fan, you have to listen to it thinking this is amazing! Certainly I did! Everything takes a bit longer when you’re doing a solo record, you don’t have lots of people pulling together to get it done. For me, the biggest moment, I made the record so it would sound good on a piece of vinyl, I love listening to records still. So when I got the first print of the vinyl and I put it on my record player there is that moment where you can’t do anything else or change it any more but just listen to it. That was a really proud and fantastic moment.
Are you still writing new solo material whether that’s an EP or another album?
Absolutely, I have started working on whatever the follow up is going to be to that record. That might be an Eskimo Joe record, it might be a solo record but I’ve continued writing and once you get in to a momentum of writing, with this solo record I feel like I’ve uncovered a new place in my creative world that I really haven’t explored before. That is really exciting and I have continued writing songs and my plan is once I have done these Under The Southern Stars shows is to really put my head down and really start writing. I have to ascertain whether I’m going to make an Eskimo Joe record or solo record because that will change how I write the songs. Doing the solo record was so liberating, I could be very personal and I could say I. That makes a lot of sense in a solo record situation but when you are doing a big Eskimo Joe record then I need to think about making people a bit more universal. I’ll work out who I’m writing for and I’ll keep writing these songs.
How do you know what’s an Eskimo Joe song or a solo song?
I only know now after making a solo record, we’ll see! I don’t really over think it when I sit down to write a song, it’s just trying to write the best song that I can write and most inspired as well. Once I do these shows and see how everyone is feeling I’ll sit down to write a record for either myself or the Eskies and on we go.
Have you seen 2018 as a re-launch for Eskimo Joe re-releasing three albums?
I definitely do, we did these orchestra shows which was so much fun and revitalising for everyone in the band. At the end of our last record in 2013-14 we all decided we would step away and work on some other projects. I do feel that with the re-release of all these records and doing these shows that’s come to an end. We’ll be jumping back on and doing something else, I do feel that it has been a re-awakening of everything.
You must be quietly chuffed with all the feedback that there’s still plenty of love out there for Eskimo Joe?
Sometimes you need to sit back and be quiet for a year or two and let some water flow under the bridge before you can go out and expect that people are going to pay attention again. I feel like there has been enough time with us chilling out, people are coming out of the woodwork and saying they love Eskimo Joe. We forget we have fans out there and all the rest of it. It is a lovely feeling.
How was it going back through the archives when putting those re-releases together?
Especially going through the b-sides, these are all songs we wrote thinking that might end up on the record but for whatever reason they didn’t fit in with the rest of the songs. It was interesting going back and revisiting those moments in time, those were demos so we didn’t spend to much time on vocal takes. The amazing thing about the re-releases was that when you make a record you’re in it one hundred percent and you go out and tour the record.
For me, as the writer I’m thinking about the next bunch of songs I going to write, what production, what style… I start focusing on that and never look back. As these records came out on vinyl, I got them and thought that is cool, I actually sat down and listened to the records again for the first time since we made them. It was fantastic, there were songs, especially going back to Girl, there’s songs we haven’t played in a long time such as Who Sold Her Out which was a big single. Listening to it on the record I was thinking this is a great song. It is kind of silly but I love it, so I’m going to push to play that song at Under The Southern Stars. With all the records I sat down and listened to all of them properly and with a little bit of distance, not cringe at things or thinking about the next record, I could listen to them and enjoy them. It was a really great experience.
I won’t bring up when I saw Eskimo Joe supporting The Offspring way back when!
It was amazing for us at the time because we hadn’t played that many shows and suddenly we’re in front of thousands of people with this big machine called The Offspring. I have no regrets or cringe about that, we were enjoying playing music and blown away that we were getting to do it.
Will the re-release treatment happen with some of the other albums?
We’ve still got a couple to go, A Song Is A City which was such a prolific album for us, We wrote two or three records and condensed that down in to one record. We were firing so many songs out and it is a really cool moment in time because with Black Fingernails Red Wine which is a succinct record, with the tone you know exactly what album you are listening to and that’s what Black Fingernails was about. A Song Is A City was us exiting that, with Girl there was still a cutesy tongue in cheek thing going on in parts of that record. With A Song Is A City we entered this more adult style of song writing and it was such a prolific time and I wrote so many songs over that time, I don’t think we can even find half the demos but I’m sure there will be a millions extras to come out with that one. Black Fingernails will be a big one as well.
Would you do a tour where you would play every album in full?
Ha! We have brought it up and discussed playing some classic smaller venues we used to do back in the day before Black Fingernails broke. We thought it would be great to go to each state and play the first four records over four nights and you could come each night to your favourite album if you want. That’s an idea that’s floating around for next year but we’ll see.
Playing Under The Southern Stars is a cracking line up?
The great thing about it is a lot of these bands such as You Am I and The Superjesus is that we toured with a lot of them back in the day. We had amazing experiences doing these big long six week tours you used to. Everyone has gone off and done their thing coming back together. Australia is such a small scene and people are fully appreciative of how much work goes in to being in a band. Everyone will get on like a house on fire and none of those weird dickheads when we were first starting out trying to make it in the world. I’m sure you’ll see some really great performances and certainly will be fun backstage.
Interview by Rob Lyon