We sat down at Jera On Air Festival with Neal and Kev from Templeton Pek to chat about the festival, their awesome new album and who would star in a Hollywood movie about the band…
Hello Neal and Kev! We’re here at Jera On Air, how’re you doing?
N: We’re all good! Loving the sunshine, getting ready to play. It’s our first time here, it’s one of the festivals that we’ve always wanted to play because it’s like a who’s who of our genre.
What are your first impressions of the festival?
N: It’s great. I like that it’s compact and all the stages are close together. It’s good that all the stages are in tents as well because it’s so hot, it makes people go inside and watch bands.
K: There isn’t much that overlaps either, so most of the time there’s only one band playing so you don’t miss too much.
You recently released a new album, are you happy with the response to it so far?
K: It’s been pretty overwhelming really.
N: We’re blown away. We’re proud of the album, but the feedback that we’ve had from press and our peers in other bands, they’ve all universally said that it’s our best work, so to have that on our fifth album, ten years in, we’re pretty happy with that!
Obviously there’s a standard response that the new album is the best when you’re on that cycle, but when you were putting the record together, did you genuinely feel that it was the best material you’ve ever written?
N: The goal was that we wanted it to be. Whether we achieved that is a different story. We made the decision that we wanted to do ten strong songs rather than fifteen and an acoustic one at the end or any of that crap that some bands do. We wanted this to be our landmark album that people refer to us with. That was the goal from the start. I think we’ve achieved that.
Despite being a UK band, it seems that you’ve always had a bit more success in mainland Europe, particularly in Germany. What do you put that down to?
N: You could argue that it’s industry policy, or that it’s timing, or whatever. I think it’s just simply that we’ve had some better support slots on the mainland and just toured more here. Although, surprisingly, this year we’ve actually toured the UK a lot more. We did Slam Dunk which was amazing.
We tried to come and see you at Slam Dunk, but we didn’t get onsite in time. The queue was going right behind your stage as you went on!
K: We saw that, yeah!
N: The good thing about that stage is that you get a lot of passing traffic that may not be coming to see you. It was full when we went on. We stayed at that stage pretty much all day because the line-up was so great.
There’s a really strong scene in the UK at the minute with loads of great bands on a similar level to you guys. Who would you recommend that we check out?
K: We know a fair few but now you’ve put us on the spot I can’t think of a single one!
N: Any that I can think of are probably already on people’s radar…
K: We actually don’t get too much chance to check out too many new bands because we do this and then go back to work. Our drummer is married with three kids. We haven’t even rehearsed in about four months because all of our spare time is taken up playing.
N: When I’m at home I don’t actually listen to much music of our genre at all. When you’re around it all the time, and you play it, the last thing you want to do is go home and listen to some loud punk songs!
K: They’re not a UK band, but we went to see NOFX recently and the opening band for them, Bad Cop Bad Cop were amazing. You should definitely check them out.
N: They’d just finished their album with the same producer as us when we went into the studio. He played us the first mixes that had just come back, and that’s super strong. We went out to him with all the songs and just spent days ripping them apart. We’d never really done that before.
There’s been a lot of controversy in the music scene over the past year regarding the behaviour of certain bands. How important do you think it is for bands such as yourself to use your platform to create a safe environment at shows and the scene in general?
N: You shouldn’t have to create one, it should be there anyway. It should be standard. It’s worrying that we’re at a point where we’re having to think about it, and it’s worrying that there are bands that take advantage of their position. We’re lucky that we’ve never seen anything like that with the bands that we’ve toured with, so we’ve not seen it first hand. But it should be a standard thing where everyone feels safe, you shouldn’t have to make sure that everyone is safe, they just should be. I’m not saying that it doesn’t exist, from reading about it online it’s clearly a problem but we’ve just not come across it.
Changing the tone completely now – Hollywood calls, they’re making Templeton Pek: The Movie and you’re in charge of casting. Who stars as the band?
N: John Goodman would play me!
K: The actor who plays Phil Mitchell [Steve McFadden] would play our drummer.
N: Kramer from Seinfeld.
Finally, is there anything else you’d like to add?
N: If you haven’t listened to it already, please check our album out and share it.