By: Dream Chimney

The following interview was conducted on March 25, 2024

We invite Ben Smith aka Templé for a fireside chat about his new EP, his hometown and scene, and what records he has most recently purchased.

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Thanks for talking to us. Where are you this moment and how are you spending the day?

I'm in my studio in Adelaide and I'm spending the day doing press for my upcoming release. Hence me currently talking to with you haha.

Where were you born? Where are you based?

I was born in Adelaide and I'm currently based here. I lived in Sydney for a while when I was younger, but I just love being back in Adelaide.

What do you love most about where you are living? What keeps you where there?

I love how easy it is, it's almost too easy sometimes. Everything is so close; they call it the 20min city. You can be at the beach in 20min, you can be in the hills and famous wine regions, you can get just about anywhere in 20min from wherever you are.

My wife and I have also just had a little one, he's 1 and a bit. We’re lucky enough to have a bunch of family here that support us with that, which gives me time to be in the studio and be creative. Also, a lot of our friendship group have just had kids at the same time. So getting to see all of them growing up together is pretty cool. And watching our closest friends be parents and being able to talk to them about shit is amazing and something we don’t take for granted and may not have if we weren’t here.

I also have a studio in the city, rent is pretty cheap there and we have a house up in the Adelaide hills, that we own and absolutely love. So the idea of living somewhere else just isn’t even in the picture for us at the moment. Our roots are pretty deep here.

If money was no object, and you could choose anywhere in the world to live, where would that be and why?

There are 4 places that immediately come to mind (sorry if this is cheating).

Barcelona - for its food, culture and nightlife. Ho Chi Minh – It’s just a crazy city and the antithesis of Adelaide. Berlin – The freedom and the music and Bali – because it’s paradise.

How long have you been making music? What was your first step as a musician?

I started making music when I was 12. I played in a punk band called DeadSet and when we recorded for the first time I’d never been in a studio before, seeing all the lights and buttons, the console, having no idea what anything did and asking the engineer to "turn my part up louder" in the mix and him just laughing at me. I just got the bug from there and knew that’s what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

Are you a DJ too? What came first Djing or production or being an artist/ musician?

I’m a DJ now too, but it didn’t start like that.

This is controversial to say, because I played in bands, I actually hated DJ’s. I didn’t understand it. I was like, they’re just playing other people’s music, what’s the big deal!!

Fast forward to being 17 and starting work at Adelaide nightclub and institutions, Sugar. I started as a glassy and watching HMC (also now known as Late Nite Tuff Guy) play his weekly residency on Friday week after week for years and it’s fair to say I began to understand DJing and what all the fuss was about pretty quickly. So at that point I started trying to get any dj gigs I could and I would practice on the clubs turntables or if we were at an after party I would just be on the decks trying to figure out how to beat match not talking to anybody.

Watching Cam week after week moving people in ways that I’d never seen, exposing me and the audience to music that we’d never heard was just wild. He was like my Larry Levan in a way and it was a time in my life I will never forget and it’s a feeling that I still try and bring to my sets to this day.

Trying to create tracks of my own and producing was a natural progression after that really.

What kind of artists, DJs, genres were you into growing up?

Embarrassingly, my first musical love affair was with Enya. I was about 2 or 3 years old and I just loved the album that “sail away” was on. I think it was called Orinoco Flow or something. I don’t remember listening to much else on that album, I would just listen to that one track on repeat, anytime we got in the car I would ask mum to put it on, except I referred to it as “dig and delve” hahahaha, no idea why. Also around that time I discovered Michael Jackson and I would just listen to my mums records of him on repeat.

Then I went into a more punk/metal phase at about 10-11 ish, then a psych’y phase around 15-7 and from about 18 it’s been an endless discovery of club music from disco to techno and anything in between.

I’m just constantly hunting to find (and make) music that will move people.

Who are the artists that you follow right now?

My all-time top 3 artist producers that inspire me are; Theo Parish, Metro Area and Linkwood. Their production styles differ from one each other, but the way they use space and repetition in a mix is something that I’m continually striving for. And I just love any output from any of them.

What is the most recent record you purchased or downloaded?

Adelaide producers/labels:

Gratts – Sun Circles/Rhythm of Love

Isle Of Jura – Instrumental Dubs #2

Secrets Of Sound – The Last Resort

Inkswel – Space Love

James Curd & Osunlade – Chocolate Puddin’

DJ Dogg & Furious Frank – Volume 3.

Rest Of World:

Tartin – Ayo! (it just gets the party going every time)

Olof Dreijer - Camelia

East Coast Love Affair/Athens of the North – Chicago

Ben Sun – Apex EP

Lindstrøm – Everyone Else Is A Stranger

I also just purchased a 14-crate record collection from an old DJ of funk records, jazz, world music, disco and 12” singles for $400 dollars. Crazy! So I’m just starting to make my way through that.

If you could choose a few words to describe the vibe of Templé what would they be?

Maybe a little cheesy… but my aim is to make music that moves the body and touches the soul.

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Talk to us about the new EP and the initial idea. When did you first approach this concept and what was your original intention?

This EP is from a collection of ideas that have been in the works for about 5 years now. My intention was to separate the songs into EPs that sounded cohesive, whilst aiming for the EP’s to be versatile for any DJ wanting to play them. The goal is that the record can stay in your bag. I have another EP ready to go from these initial ideas and a third almost finished. To aid in the cohesion across all of the EPs I brought in a bunch of amazing local jazz musicians to play parts over my ideas.

What was most important for you to convey through these tracks? Do you feel that you were able to accomplish all of your intentions?

The most important thing for me to convey with these tracks; was my growth as an artist. I really wanted these tunes and the next to demonstrate where I’m heading musically. I’m still chasing the metaphorical musical “dragon” of what I want to create and probably always will be, which is half of the fun. I definitely feel like I’ve accomplished showing the next level in my musical output, whilst being true to my ever-present goal of creating music that moves people.

What are you most proud of with this release?

Working with other artist to bring this release to life was really just so beautiful. However, it also had it’s challenges, just from an organisation perspective alone. We had a studio booked (shout out to Forest Range Studios and their lovely team), deadlines, takes to get for 10 tracks and about 14 artists coming through over 3 days. It was intense. And then having to go through all the takes after leaving the studio and make sure I was keeping what the musicians were trying to convey with their parts, whilst making it work with what I wanted to say, was a delicate balance. And I feel like I really nailed that with this EP. Making it greater than the sum of its parts and letting everyone that contributed stories be told.

What was the most challenging part of bringing the release together?

Figuring out how I was going to release it haha.

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Who are the other artists/musicians on this EP that you would like to shout out?

Quartz Pistol – Vocals

Dan Isler – Trumpet

Giacomo Guttilla – Sax

Prins Thomas – Remix

Luke Million – Add production and final mix

Andreas Kauffelt – Mastering (Schnittstelle)

What drives you to create music?

There’s 3 things I think

It’s a form of communication without language, only emotion.

The quest for sound and nailing the perfect song and mix.

Being part of a musical landscape of people that inspire me and being able to contribute to that ongoing story that sound has given before human existence.

What has been one of your favorite moments from the past year?

Watching my little dude do just about anything. I’m lucky enough to have a favorite moment with him daily and there are just way too many to mention.

Where do you find the most inspiration when it comes to discovering new music?

I’m super lucky that a lot of my friends are DJs or have great taste in music, so they share a bunch with me. Being out playing I hear new music all the time. Also, local radio show “Raw Like Sushi” is a great source of new music, shout out to Sam at the helm, I think he hit 10 years running last year and is one of the nicest dude’s in the world, with encyclopedic musical knowledge!! And funnily enough Instagram and YouTube too, they’re actually a great avenue for not only discovering music, but also testing tracks before you buy/play them, because you can hear a track and see how it’s working on a dancefloor via the video. Probably a controversial DJ life hack.

Tell us something we might never know about you?

I really love eating and cooking food, however I don’t like sharing leftovers.

What can we hope to see next from Templé?

I’ve got a bunch of DJ shows planned for the rest of the year, another EP scheduled and maybe a live show with my 8- piece band towards the end of the year (we’ll see about that one though haha).


Check out the latest release from Templé


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