His forthcoming album “Jealous Heart” could be considered the album of maturity for Mark Templeton, as it seems that he retraced some of the sonorities and emotional sets he already explored by filtering them through a renovated and more pensive awareness of his compositional possibilities. The way he blended together tape loops, found recordings, fragmented horn phrases, occasional string instruments could resemble some stuff by Black To Comm, Philip Jeck, The Advisory Circle or Jim Kirby, but Mark’s way of intertwining past sonic evidences and futuristic patterns is really original and it seems that he managed to simulate a collision between those two opposite dimensional vectors just like what has gone could be declensed by means of many different future tenses so that you could imagine that some of his tracks have been recorded inside some old jazz cafè which still works in the most secluded caves of some deep ocean or in parallel universes. Labelling Mark’s sound as just ambient could appear a little bit too reducing. Just have a listen to this new lovely release in order to understand what I mean. Mark Templeton’s “Jealous Heart” comes out on Under The Spire Recordings.
Chain D.L.K.: Hi Mark. How are you?
Mark Templeton: I am well. Surviving -30 weather that feels like -40 with the wind chill!!
Chain D.L.K.: I was almost sure your sound was somewhat “accomplished” since your first album “Standing On A Hummingbird”, but you managed to enhance it with your following steps. In your own words, could you trace your pathway?
Mark Templeton: I desire to grow and change as an artist. I try to avoid recreating works that I have already released. Therefore, after experimenting a little further with acoustic sounds on “Inland” I set out to work more with sampled material to change my approach. The “Scotch Heart” cassette and “Jealous Heart” LP took cassette samples and reel-to-reel tapes to communicate something in a different way. I’m working with different mediums and source material. Something I’m increasingly interested in.
Chain D.L.K.: Could you describe your typical compositional process?
Mark Templeton: With my earlier albums I set out to take acoustic instruments and found sounds and degrade the quality through editing in a software program like Logic. Recently, however, it consists of experimenting with a sampler. Working with sounds that are less honed, encourages me to act more intentionally in the moment of experimentation.
Chain D.L.K.: There is often that “something-gone-by” feeling in most of your tracks. It’s like you find some ancient relics in the depths of the ocean and you try to save them from impairment. Could you say your music is somehat melancholic or not? If so, is there a sort of mission you’re trying to accomplish by your art?
Mark Templeton: I would say at times it’s melancholy. When I take in various forms of art I am hoping that I am impacted emotionally in some way. That there’s a moment of personal reflection. While working on “Jealous Heart” I was going through a lot of changes in my life; seeing the birth of my son and watching him grow and experience things for the first time impacted me.
Chain D.L.K.: You’re also a skilled sonic portraitist… for instance I still remember tracks like “Lisbon”…would you call it a sort of psychogeographic experiment? How does ithe place which surrounds you touch your music?
Mark Templeton: I think place definitely affects my work. I live in a very underpopulated part of western Canada. There is lots of land to explore. I think the openness of the prairies and how distant things can feel come through in much of my compositions.
Chain D.L.K.: Let’s speak about your new album…it sounds so cinematic that it seems to remind some plot…is there any story behind it?
Mark Templeton: There is no clear storyline behind the album, but it deals with themes and perspectives that related to me during the time of creation. Noticing flaws in oneself as you age and witnessing the creation of things that are beyond your control is a humbling experience. I want the album to tell a story, but to do so in a complex and an abstract way.
Chain D.L.K.: Some tracks partially recall the style by some “plunderphonicists” or I’d say better a sort of hybridization between plunderphonics and tape-artists. Is it so?
Mark Templeton: Yes, plunderphonics or sound collage is something that I have been intrigued by more recently. Taking a sample, regardless of content, and moulding and shaping it to bring out new perspectives. Retelling a story through someone else. Using tape as the source is what I had available at the time. I don’t see myself as a tape-artist, as I’m working with tape in a very simple fashion – starting and stopping the sample and working with pitch. No tape loops.
Chain D.L.K.: Could you reveal the origin of some samples or the source of inspiration of some fragmented tunes?
Mark Templeton: I think the origin of the samples, to me, is of little importance. It’s more about the medium that it’s told through. I used a crate of reel-to-reel tapes that my parents picked up at a garage sale and some cassette tapes from a second hand store. I then began to listen and search for a melodic movement, rhythm or colour that I wanted to isolate as a starting point.
Chain D.L.K.: Is there any favorite track for some particular reason? Which one?
Mark Templeton: “Carved and Cared For”. It was used in a collaborative project with filmmaker Kyle Armstrong. I like seeing how he interpreted my sound and what he communicates through his visuals. The creation process was handed off and continued through a different perspective. I like that idea.
Chain D.L.K.: What about the choice of that artwork for the cover?
Mark Templeton: I wanted to have a film-like approach that had traces of the source material. After 15 attempts I abandoned that idea and started to work with the archived family image thatyousee on the cover. I still wanted to incorporate a film-like approach. The triangle acts like an odd letter-box. It’s like you’re seeing the image through someone else’s eyes or seeing it on-screen.
Chain D.L.K.: Is that sinking voice in “Sinking Heart”, one of my favorite track, the one by a cetacean?
Mark Templeton: No, the voice in “Sinking Heart” was taken from a sample from a reel-to-reel tape and pitched down. I think it was an older country song, but not certain.
Chain D.L.K.: As we talked about cinematic stuff, is there any particular movie you’d like to rescore?
Mark Templeton: Nothing comes to mind.
Chain D.L.K.: …and a director whom you’d like to have a cup of tea with?
Mark Templeton: Sofia Coppola and Kelly Reichardt.
Chain D.L.K.: Tea or coffee before a recording session?
Mark Templeton: Definitely coffee!!!
Chain D.L.K.: “A distant hum” seems to mirror an unexpected call from inner voices during ordinary activities…what about this track? How have you assembled it?
Mark Templeton: I like the idea of sounds that come in briefly, almost as if they were coming from another room as someone opens the door for a brief moment. I took some percussive elements from my friend Bill Hesselink, added some found sounds and worked with a cassette sample.
Chain D.L.K.: Any work in progress?
Mark Templeton: Yes lots of good stuff!! Just finished a piece that uses 4 televisions and VHS machines – an audiovisual performance that unlinks the sample’s audio from the visual elements to tell a different story. Collaborating with Nicola Ratti on an audiovisual installation and LP. As well working with filmmaker Kyle Armstrong on a A/V project surrounding Marshall McLuhan to be released on Blue-ray and LP.
visit Mark Templeton on the web at: www.fieldsawake.com