Spotlight: The Cooper Temple Clause
1am, Fox & Hound
Already, it's become part of SXSW folklore: Reading, England's the Cooper Temple Clause were forced to drop out of last year's festival after their crazy-face visa photo contest raised red flags with U.S. immigration officials.
"Actually, we were just late applying for our work visas," admits singer Ben Gautrey. "So there were some photo mix-ups. It was our own fault. We were lazy. The rest is just legend."
Fortunately, there's nothing lazy or suspect about the sextet's ambitious Stateside debut (sophomore LP overall), Kick Up the Fire, and Let the Flames Break Loose, an album NME says "laughs in the face of 'genre,' taps the wrong shoulder of 'pigeonhole,' and ties together the shoelaces of 'expectation.'" While the truth lies somewhere between Kraftwerk and the Deftones, most critics are settling for favorable Radiohead comparisons.
"It's flattering," says Gautrey. "The similarity is that we're both trying to make music for ourselves. We're sick of bands without imagination. Aren't there enough dull bands aping acts from 30 years ago? There's a real hunger within to test ourselves and push forward with the music."
While Gautrey says there's no shame in admitting that breaking in America is one of his band's primary long-range priorities, he says he's set a more realistic goal for SXSW 04 reconnecting for a few drinks with one of their favorite bands, Austin's Trail of Dead.
"I'm not even sure they remember, but we met last summer at a German festival," Gautrey says. "We were leaving drinking loads of Jägermeister. And they turned up because they were playing the next day. They were stone-cold sober, so we gave them a leftover bottle of Jägermeister. It was like a relay baton at the Olympics. It might be fun to find them now and hear how it turned out."