Temptress caught our affections this summer seducing us with brazen single Naked, but now they’re back with their most pop sound yet with Paradise. As a pair of multi-instrumentalists and producing everything in their own studio Temptress aren’t for the disposable pop fans they’re for the pop lovers. Kindly Temptress let us step into their world…
Hi, how are you? You’ve just dropped your latest single ‘Paradise’ how are you feeling as a duo right now?
Jess: We’ve had this song in the pipeline for a while now and it’s great for it to see the light of day! It’s such a fun song that feels very uplifting for this time of year and current climate.
At present we’ve had your releases as singles track at a time but some of the artworks suggest links between the tracks, can you give us an insight into ‘Paradise’? Where does this track fall into Temptress’ vision?
Vlad: What I Want was our first self managed release, and from that song until Naked we wanted to have a visual cohesion to go with the sonics. For Paradise, which is more vibrant than some of the past singles, we felt it was time for a change, so to mark a new chapter we broke away from the stark white and bought in some colour to go with the sound.
Jess: Paradise is a lot more pop than our other tracks but it still feels like a natural progression. The artwork felt like it needed a change, to be hyped up a little, to signify this jump.
Your last single ‘Naked’ we believe the idea originally came from being sweltering hot in the studio but then took on sexual connotation, ‘Paradise’ has a far more romantic tone; can you tell us more about how ‘Paradise’ came into being?
Jess: We wrote Paradise at the Dairy Studios with Chris Zane and Negin Djaffari. I was on the piano playing some notes and everyone was like ‘thats so dark let’s try something different to usual, something unashamedly positive and uplifting’ so I changed to the chords of the song and it immediately had that dreamy romantic feeling, the rest song and the lyrics just flowed naturally.
The pair of you create everything from the music, recording, visual imagery and even your music videos; how do you manage to keep a sense of reality when working together? Is there a figure in Temptress’ life that you use to give honest feedback throughout the process?
Jess: I think the reason we work together so intensely is because it just works. When we met each other we just clicked and got into a flow and it’s been like that ever since. Thats not to say, that we don’t disagree on things but we keep each other in check, and I think it makes for a better end result.
Vlad: We also do share work in progresses with friends and family to get some perspective. You can always rely on family to give you an ‘honest’ opinion, even if they say they hate it!
Can you explain to us how your ideas form, we’re aware that the initial idea for ‘Naked’ came on the piano; how do the pair of you work in a collaborative approach to create your work?
Jess: We are both producers and play several instruments so I think we both naturally start at the computer, making a beat or with chords. Either one of us will jump on and start something and the other will cut in with ideas and we just keep developing from there. Sometimes though I can start a song with a lyrical idea and then we go from there!
Vlad: I think we’ve got to a point having worked together for so many years where we try to really mix up what we’re doing and be free flowing with it. It used to be the case that I always programmed the drums and Jess always did the keys but now there’s no set rules or roles which is quite liberating.
The video for ‘Paradise’ has been described as ‘a love letter to London’, how did you plan the concept to lead it to work successfully rather than 2 people thrashing around on bikes?
Jess: Initially we were thinking of taking irony to the extreme and shooting the grimmest looking places in a grey London but it developed into something else.
Vlad: What came out by surprise was a fresh look at the place we’d both grown up and fell in love with it all again. Going to a lot of major landmarks just gave us a sense of nostalgia and when it all came together what we’d thought would come out looking ‘the opposite of paradise’ actually felt like, in a rough and ready kind of way, paradise.
With 2020 just around the corner can you talk to us what we can expect of Temptress next year?
Jess: 2020 should be an exciting year for us, we’re going to be playing a few shows, will be bringing out more singles and videos, as well as our first EP!
Your home of South London has always been a hot bed of talent what artists past and present from South London influence the sound of Temptress?
Vlad: I grew up in South London and we both went to Goldsmiths in New Cross studying music, so were surrounded by a lot different and interesting artists. Maybe a bit of a cop out answer but I don’t think there was anyone in particular from South who inspired us, instead we picked up production tricks and tips which do come through in our sound, while equally a lot of our group were really into Jazzy hip hop/R&B which definitely helped shape what we do.