Hailing from the land down under (Adelaide, Australia),
TEMPLE is an ode to the dance floor. With a nod to disco’s past and techno’s future. Solo artist, Ben Smith is the man behind the moniker.
Growing up listening to his parent’s musical influences on repeat: Stevie Wonder, ELO and Michael Jackson, it’s no wonder the infectious 4/4 rhythm was engrained in his psyche. Then at age 9, in the mid-nineties, hearing tracks with distortion, that overdriven sound changed his musical influence. He started playing guitar and drums in punk bands at age 11 to 16 and this is where his love for being in the recording studio began.
“I have just recently moved into this studio. I share it with a few friends and it’s like a dream in here. We all combined our equipment and we’ve got more toys than we need, but it’s an extremely fun place to be and it is a super conducive for creativity.”
The Control 24 is my newest addition and I’m loving it. It was worth a bunch of money back in the day, however once protools upgraded their software the Control 24 became virtually redundant. A few years ago this guru Paul Neyrnick re mapped the mixer to work with almost any DAW and has brought it back to life!! You can pick these guys up pretty cheap now and thanks to the V-Control/Neyrnick software it’s a game changer for mixing and DAW control. I’m eternally grateful to Paul and the team. This mixer allows me to control Ableton/Protools and plugins without having to constantly reach for the mouse. It has an analogue feel with digital functionality.
This might be strange for a “tell us about the gear you use” feature, however only in the last few years the thing I’ve learnt is more valuable than anything, is your ears and what’s between them. Honestly, I have a great studio full of toys that is a dream and I am so grateful for, however without me being there in the room, nothing happens. The way you listen is your most valuable asset and learning how to listen is for me what’s made the difference in my creative process. I like to listen in two separate ways; one is analytically, listen for things like “is this dynamic enough, is it muddy, to bright etc.” and then make notes about how to address those things. The second way I listen is creatively, by asking myself the question “what does the song want to be” and listening from there, this is something I’ve only recently developed and I have found so much freedom in it.
I don’t have a favourite synth, they all have their place (in saying that I really want a CS-80 and that will probably be my favourite synth despite never playing one hahahaha). What I mean by “they all have their place” is, it’s like paint is to a painter, my synths are to my track. There essential to the type of music I make, but depending on the song will determine the colour I require from the synth and they all have their own place within the pallet.
I’ve also been playing percussion since I was 12 and have accumulated a bunch of bizarre instruments (non of them pictured here hahaha), I love buying things from music shops while travelling. Adding “live” instruments to electronic music almost always makes the track sound better. I don’t know what it is, maybe because it’s not a 1 or 0, but if I’m feeling a track is sounding too mechanical, by just adding a shaker or tambourine you get instant life in your music.
The SH-101 needs no introduction, however I’ve included it and the Arp Odyssey here because nearly every lead or bass sound on my recent Love Machine – EP was created with one of these two synths. If you’re in the market for an analogue synth the Korg Reissue of the Arp Odyssey is incredible. It sounds great, is super close to the original, won’t break the bank and has 3 oscillator filter options (Korg, le me know if you need a new brand ambassador 😉 )
This actually doesn’t belong to me, I’m looking after it for a friend. But it’s in my studio thus it gets a mention… I never thought I’d have one of these and have wanted one for about 15 years. They sound incredible and I have it running through a bunch of FX pedals and then into the Fender Frontman amp. If you ever get a chance to open one of these things up and look at the build, it’s an incredible feat of engineering. I find myself more often than not sitting down at it, not even hitting record and just playing.
Again this needs no introduction. But it is rad!! Friends lovingly bought this for my birthday about 10 years ago and I only recently found out that the pre on it sounds incredible. So just dry, without FX, use the pre (instrument in) and it’s super yummy and tight. Obviously everything else about it is dope too.
Turn it up & enjoy!