Stream Tempers’ New Album Private Life and Read the Stories Behind Its Steely Post-Punk Songs

Having channeled the faded glamour of shopping malls on a singular and surreal Rem Koolhaas collab (Junkspace) last year, Tempers turn their focus towards the human condition itself on this week’s Private Life LP. Due out tomorrow through DAIS, the shape-shifting effort features an expanded palette of moods and melodies, with Jasmine Golestaneh weaving in tightly wound “interior landscapes of shame, hope, weeping, daydreams, secrets, love, loneliness, courage and sleep — oblique recesses that I wander through alone and can’t always share.”

“[It’s] a complex inner life that dwells hidden in a culture where I am encouraged to quantify and externalize all my experiences,” she explains. “The disconnect between what is valuable to me, and what I am told to do and think based on other people’s interests.”

In the following exclusive feature, the New York-based duo (rounded out by multi-instrumentalist Eddie Cooper) shares their dark but never despondent album in full alongside a complete track-by-track commentary that pulls the curtain back a bit, revealing the restlessness within….

Jasmine: “Capital Pains” is about opening an internal space of possibility, in a world where you are told what to do and think based on other people’s interests.
Eddie: The track has this breezy bounce to it that our music hasn’t really had before. I think we wanted to pair that quality with these soaring, cycling elements in the guitars and vocal effects that bring it into our world.

Jasmine: A song you love lives in your heart and bones unmediated by anyone else. That intimacy with something completely intangible is a precious relationship. I wrote the lyrics after Leonard Cohen died, speaking to the imaginary relationship I have with this artist who has impacted me so deeply.
Eddie: This one has a slow driving thump, like a dance track played at the wrong speed. We added these distorted arpeggios that cut across the straight-ahead bassline, which pair this fluttering high-end with the ominous underscore.

Jasmine: Wrestling with solitude, feeling overwhelmed by the state of things, and the hope of creating change with imagination and will.
Eddie: “Peace of Mind” and “Push / Pull” are somewhat of a departure from our previous work, and came out of improvisation sessions we did. They’re both deep and slow, with vocals and guitars that are almost a whisper. It’s satisfying to try to come up with something catchy using a palette like that.

Jasmine: What if an Instagram filter had a voice, and it was demeaning you and celebrating its power over your image?
Eddie: Another track with a new (for us) kind of bounce to it, this time rolling along with sparkling overlapping digital synths. This one, to me, feels like it’s painted in primary colors; there’s a logic to the interaction between elements that I find really harmonious and peaceful.

Jasmine: This song is about the relationship to fantasy life, and how things we dream up can sometimes make an appearance in reality, and sometimes live in their own reality, and there is a vitality to both.
Eddie: A little like “Leonard Cohen Afterworld,” this song straddles the line between deep drive and soaring glitter. The vocals are understated, with a spoken chorus that lives within the glassy melodies flying above.

Jasmine: Guidance is about the idea of having a spirit you can call on, and be created by, when you want to go beyond yourself.

Eddie: This track has a relentless techno drive, layers of evolving, expanding synth with chopped-up vocals providing a lot of the rhythm.

Jasmine: “Why do I love someone I don’t like?” pretty much sums it up. I mean, sometimes I’ve been compelled to people for reasons I don’t understand, despite having better judgment.
Eddie: As I was saying about “Peace of Mind,” “Push / Pull” is another deep dreamy song, this time with some slide guitar added as well. I was a little worried about how we’d work these songs into our live set, because they’re so different tonally, but we just performed them for the first time and it felt great.

Jasmine: This song is about getting burnt, having the courage to speak up, boundaries.
Eddie: The vocal harmonies are what make this song, I don’t remember how many layers there are, but it was a lot. Then we cut them up on the back end and layered them in as a rhythm element, which I like paired with the dirge quality of the song.

Jasmine: I think of sleep as the last vestige of personal privacy, a mystery that cannot be invaded.
Eddie: This is one of the thickest songs we’ve made, production wise; it came from an improvisation we did, and we worked it into this dense soundscape that still feels kind of light and grand to me.

Jasmine: A space of amorphousness that cannot be defined by language.
Eddie: We stayed in this hotel in Berlin that had a TV playing a video of a fish tank when you enter the room, and the soundtrack to the video was this mesmerizing ambient music, in between Popol Vuh’s Aguirre soundtrack and Roedelius. We tried to find it online but we couldn’t, so we had to write this to get it out of our heads.