Machines of Love and Grace; An intimate portrayal of a “Post-Apocalyptic True Story”.
Fashion Industry Broadcast was lucky enough to sit down with Eskimo Joe’s frontman Kav Temperley this week! In light of the Australian rocker’s release of “Machines of Love and Grace”; Kav gives us the low down on everything that went into making this album, including his newfound love for Taylor Swift.
“Machines of Love and Grace” is an incredible display of what one is capable of amidst the chaos of what transposed within the last two years of the Pandemic. A mixture of guttural vocals and a more reflective serenity permeates every track of this sophomore album. “Machines of love and Grace” is meticulously well thought out. Each instrument, placement, texture and dynamic complement one another in a refined alt-rock-infused symphony that listeners may indulge in.
A Pleasant Unexpected Event
The Pandemic for most creatives in the industry was a detrimental time; Although it was a time for what many can argue helped to hone many artists’ skills. Kav talks us through what went into “The Fence” featuring singer-songwriter and producer John Butler. He says;
It came from a conversation that myself and John were having we got together, and you know he lives in a beautiful part of WA.
I went down to visit him at his house, and we were a jam in his jam room, I thought we were going to be sitting down and writing a song for his record because we’d previously worked on.
At the beginning of a songwriting session we were talking about where our heads were at, and the intense decision-making process that we had to go through during the global pandemic. Not only was what we still dealing with like the environment and the bushfires, and then with the pandemic, the whole anti vax movement and how dividing that was.
As adults having to make these actual decisions on what to do you what you want to do with yourself and your family and we kind of came to in the conversation which is basically there’s no room to sit on the fence about these things
That spilled into the song that we’re writing, and they had a bit of a jam and then I took her home and he did some demo vocals on it. I was listening to it and called him one night and said;
“what if you make this a duet and it’s kind of like a question answer thing”
… and he was like “hey great let’s do it”.
We ended up recording some drums and with same setup as I was doing my record and then we went into his studio that he’s got in Freemantle, then we finished off the song and it was just a pleasant and unexpected kind of event that brought the whole thing together.
Like any great songwriter, Kav’s knack for storytelling gently weaves emotions that the majority can relate to. His album reflects a time when many struggled with intimate connections. Emergency in D minor is a Pink Floyd-inspired masterpiece with resonating chords and reverberating synths. The strong presence of the saxophone builds the song up with its cosmic effect. Kav shares elements that influence this track, He says;
“Emergency in D minor was the very last song I wrote for the record. It was intended to be an introduction. I always wanted the whole record to read like my favorite books that I read. I love Margaret Atwood and haruki Murakami and kazuo ishiguro.
… I like the idea of writing this post- apocalyptic true story about the last 2 1/2 years.By the time I’d written it all, I was like;
‘OK well now I need [an] introduction’…
And so, Emergency and D minor is really kind of documenting that moment of where we emerge out of the cocoon for the first time, looking out the windows and going; “Oh my God is does the world still exist out there”.
I’m being literal as like the newspaper was dead, no one buys the newspaper anymore, we stream everything.
… There are elements of this kind of future shock that’s going on in the record… that’s kind of more in the title track “machines of loving grace”. It’s talking about the kind of deal with the devil we have with mobile phones and devices.
…we live these very intimate lives through our phones so it’s really kind of it’s a complex relationship we have with our phones and I’m not being judgy, I’m just saying you know we need to pay to these things.”
Machines of Love and Grace
The title track name is said to come from a poem by Richard Brautigan; “Machines of Loving and Grace”. However, Kav speaks of a particular documentary based on the written work that inspired him. Kav says;
“It talked about this idea that humans differ from everything else. This idea that humans are basically bacterium machines, they’re these functioning little things. Where we differ from everything else is that we have in our pursuit for survival, we have this tendency for love grace. Which kind of is a flaw and as well as makes us amazing at the same time.
What I was kind of referring to -, that’s why I’ve changed the title into “Machines of Love and Gace” – is I feel like it’s it’s more of a comment on the kind of trust and almost esoteric attitude that we have towards our devices…. You know they’re just machines, but we live this very intimate existence through them.
…I don’t think you can box it into this one right word or experience but that’s kind of what i’m trying to refer to as the idea with the title of machines of love and grace.”
A Silver Lining
Despite the hardships that many artists faced during the lockdown, one of the biggest things Kav learnt was that when it came down to it, he was able to produce his album himself. Kav shares some of the biggest challenges faced when producing this album. He says;
“I started writing and recording this record in the middle of lockdown. I was literally pressing record and I’d have to run to the piano and play to the best of my abilities because no one could come over and play the piano for me… then I would go back, and I would listen back to what I’d done. I did less analyzing about; “is this the piano sound am I going for?”
I was literally like “does that sound good? Brilliant! OK moving on”. It added to this feeling and this kind of tangible sound of the record.
… At t a certain point in time I started to reach out to friends as the world started to open. I had people like Katie Steele from little birdie come in and help cowrite a song and John Butler with the Fence. I would ring friends and send them mixes and be like; “have I finished it? I don’t even know…” and then they’d kind of send me back feedback, which was good.
The biggest challenges I think we’re getting to that three-quarter mark and going; “OK need to make decisions, I need to finish this record”. When it’s just you having to make all those decisions everything could go on forever, but you have to say it’s finished at a certain point.”
Kav reflects that there’s no real closure over what many went through over the past three years. His albums aim to write a storyline and document real things that went on around the Australian artist. “Last of Wine” sheds light on the painful reality of domestic violence during the lockdown. Carefully written, Kav entwines themes felt throughout the last two years. Themes of hope and alcohol as a coping mechanism and emotional low points are felt within the track “Twin Flames”.
“Twin Flames” is said to be about the intimate connection felt between a loved one. The Australian artist warmly reflects that lockdown with his wife Beth; who is fondly referred to as his “Beth- Friend”, was a great time. Kav also adds that the lockdown may have been a time for many relationship realisations. He says;
“I was reflecting back to some people probably aren’t going through that experience. A lot of couples didn’t make it through this whole lockdown experience… you spend that much time apart to spend all that time together you realize don’t really like this this person and that’s OK.
Life goes on, but I was reflecting back to before I got together with Beth, and again talking about alcohol is this kind of way that we cope.
All of the themes with alcohol seem to be about this fine line between what point are you having a glass of wine. Everything’s light and it’s good for you and it’s a distressing thing… to this point where you’ve tried to stay in that nice place for too long. That came up a few times during the album, and I think that was a real experience for a lot of people.
Unexpected Musical Direction
Kav credits many artists that helped inspire him throughout listening in lockdown. Proudly proclaimed “indie kid”, the Australian artist was surprised to find out that his lockdown listening obsession was Taylor Swift’s eighth studio album; “Folklore.” Kav expressed that he “couldn’t stop listening to it”. The Eskimo Jo frontman shares his much of inspiration towards this album. He says;
“… that was actually a really big influence on me. It’s funny to say that but also it’s Taylor Swift making her indie album. She’s working with Aaron Dessner who is from the national. I love all the work he does with Lana Del Rey and everyone, that seemed to be a pretty magical moment, the combination of those guys getting together and making that record”
Collaborations With Women
I also really loved the album “Women in music” by Haim. It was just this perfect, it gave me good direction. I was making this record myself it gave me a lot of confidence that what I was doing was the right thing. “
Kav shares how he expanded his versatility and skills through the production of this album. Everything he practices is a means to an end. The Australian artist extended his skill set by cultivating all of the production of his latest album. The talented musician also learnt how to edit videos and highlights. This skill as an important medium for communicating with his fan base during the lockdown. Kav also revealed that he had used his newly found skills to edit the video clips for the records. He goes on to say;
It’s just something that’s evolved. You start doing these things and you realize they’re a alot easier than you think and you’ve probably got more of an idea of what you want, so it ends up quite well.
What to Expect Next
Machines of Love and Grace is an intimate portrayal of life within the last two years. Kav hopes listeners connect with their own stories. He hopes that many receive their own stories back once again and celebrate the album as it is. With meticulous thought towards track listings, the Aussie artist aspires that this album can take listeners on a journey with it. Fans can expect next some NFTS that Kav will have out in November. He goes on to explain this creative and innovative process. Kav says;
“…They’re like a kind of a web three extension of what I’ve done on the record. So, I’ve worked with the guy who did all the artwork for the record, and I’ve written this first set of NFTS called “love in the key of ABCD EFG”. And basically, I’ve written a song and then re-recorded it and rewritten it seven different times in the keys ABCDEFG.
Now they all go for about a minute each, but they present these kind of animated playing cards which look like the artwork from the record. It feels like there’s a linear kind of line to it but I love the idea of what NFTS can be because they’re basically digital collectibles and so for music lovers its perfect. “
It’s an incredibly indifferent way of extending the art of what one can already do. And these songs are limited solely to these NFTS. After the much-anticipated drop of Kavs Sophmore’s album “Machines of Love and Grace”, the talented artist shared one of his goals for the end of the year is dreams of touring and playing the newest album with a band.
Kav’s latest Sophmore Album “Machines of Love and Grace” is available on all major platforms to be streamed.