Although it seems that many songs today sound so similar that you can't tell one band's tune from another, Australian export the Temper Trap seem to have been able to break that mold. Though they might not have a marquee name just yet, many people will recognize their song 'Sweet Disposition' within seconds of hearing guitarist Lorenzo Sillitto's opening riff. While the song has appeared in the latest Diet Coke commercial as well as 2009's sleeper hit, '500 Days of Summer,' the anthemic alt-rockers have been able to keep a low profile yet enjoy the rush of the spotlight when onstage.
When the band recently came to the New York, they invited Spinner to hang out with them and experience a typical day on tour. Although the Temper Trap have been enjoying the praise from their live shows and their debut record, 'Conditions,' they haven't let it all go to their heads. "We're pretty good at putting everyone else in the band down if anyone gets too big," bassist Jonny Aherne told Spinner. "We quickly get on their tails and make sure they come straight back down to earth."
Kicking the day off with breakfast at Café Select, the band demonstrated their mindfulness of proper nutrition, ordering fruit with yogurt and medium boiled eggs rather than bacon and pancakes. That's not to say these guys don't like to eat -- both Sillitto and drummer Toby Dundas agree that, thanks to their manager, they're now all foodies at heart, watching what they eat most of the time so they can indulge later. "You can really fall off the wagon when you get to Austin and go to rib joints or come here," Dundas said. "Like we went to Five Guys the other night in Minneapolis, and their burgers were so good. We try to eat healthy most of the time so we can really go for it every now and then."
And the foodie mindset has made their tour a little more interesting, turning each stop into a hunt for the best local fare while avoiding McDonalds and other chains. The band has also made it a point to review the catering selections at each of the festivals they've played, noting that Belgium and Japan had the best spreads. "Japan was amazing," Sillitto said. "They had a sushi chef there that just cuts sushi for you."
After breakfast, the guys enjoyed the sun and strolled along Lafayette Street before heading to MTV to do a few interviews. The ride to 1515 Broadway was filled with cracking on billboards and just goofing around. With all the fun they're having now, the band is thankful that Temper Trap is a full-time gig opposed working at retail stores and donut shops. "It's awesome," singer Dougy Mandagi said. "It's a very privileged existence to be doing this."
Sure, the guys are enjoying their rock-star lives and playing all over the world, but Sillitto admits that despite their fame, they aren't being surrounded by fans or paparazzi back home in Australia. "I don't think anyone really knows what we look like in Australia, which is kind of a blessing in disguise," Sillitto said, jokingly questioning if their loved ones even remember what their faces look like.
Despite being away from their families, the band have stuck it out together; they even lived together in a London house for a year, though they now have their own flats in and around the city. "Surprisingly, you kind of write that down in the top five ways to break up a band: stick them in a house together for a year," Dundas said. "But for us, the personalities worked and we almost had fun."
Once the band finished up at MTV, they were whisked to Webster Hall to get ready for sound check after a quick session of signing merch. Settling into their stage for the night, the guys ran through their set like pros. Even with Mandagi suffering from sore vocal chords, they managed to rehearse 'Sweet Disposition' without a hitch. Although the song is played all over the place, the band hasn't really grown tired of it yet. "Playing it is different than hearing it," Aherne said. "When we hear it, we just probably laugh and then probably turn it off because we just don't want to hear our song. But playing it seems to have a life of its own because you know you're playing it to an audience, and they're enjoying it. It's the song that people first heard so it's kind of cool because of the response we get with it."
Although some bands may worry that having their songs in movies or commercials can cause people to grow tired of their music, Temper Trap welcome the exposure. "It's probably helping more us out if anything," Dundas said. "Given that people aren't buying albums so much and a lot of other stuff, commercials are now a really good way to get your song out there, and so are movie soundtracks. Most people go, 'Oh, I just heard that one song on '500 Days of Summer,' but I'm so glad I came and checked you out live because wow it was amazing.' It's a really good way to get people interested, and after, they might go out and buy the album or spend 10 bucks and come to see the show."
Dundas' hopes became reality as the band played to a packed Webster Hall later that night, which included the members' girlfriends, wives and many of their friends. It seemed everyone knew every word to every song Temper Trap sang and, of course, the place erupted when Sillitto picked the opening notes to their hit song.