TEMUJIN

You don’t always have to be ten to create. TEMUJIN is proof of that. Interview replies from Karl Lean. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

What is the idea behind Temujin? What is it that makes you want to create music under this name?
-We started as just a project to write and record music. As things took shape it was a simple decision to take to up a level and find a name – “Temujin” had a ‘feel’ to us that suited the music we were writing, and continue to write.

I sometime wonder what it is like to play in a band, run a label and not use all the resources to promote your own band over the others. How do you prioritize?
-It’s not actually all that hard. A guiding philosophy behind the label is that ‘the music comes first’, so whichever band (s) are currently writing, recording or touring and generating interest get the most immediate support. Temujin have been reasonably quiet recently (we’re working away in the background), so there’s really no conflict to resolve.

What kind of musical vision do you have for Temujin? What would not work within the context of the band?
-We’ve always tried to write ‘whatever comes out’, not try too hard to direct the style or sound into a pre-conceived direction. Keeping a twin focus on melody (vocals, keys and strings) and on metal (guitars, bass, drums) is the only rule we try to follow. I think it would be a poor road to follow for Temujin if we tried to change this balance – pushing too far in either direction.

When you work with somebody you also share your life with does that make it easier or harder? How do you separate the business side from the personal side?
-It’s easier once we start working – music should always be emotive, and working with someone you care for makes it a great experience. But it can also be harder in practical terms – we need to always free up both of us from all other commitments in order to get things done. That’s often not as possible as we’d like it to be.

With you being only two in the band does that ever feel limiting? Can you achieve all that you want with the band still?
-Again, it’s both a strength and a weakness. Fewer songwriters in a band can give a better focus and lead to faster results. But it can also lead to repetition. We try to guard against this through involvement in side projects, and staying in touch with music in general. Working with BlueFreya means there’s plenty of exposure to great new music in a number of genres. Musically we can achieve what we want I suppose … although it’s harder to approach the live side of the industry as essentially a duo.

There is no escaping that Australia is on the other side of the world no matter where you live? Does it ever feel like you are stuck alone on an island far from everything that is cool?
-Yes, Yes, Yes! But’s a pretty cool island to live on, so we cope. And we have (musical) visitors every now and then to ease the pain.

How much of Aussie culture do you incorporate into Temujin (which to me sounds Japanese)?
-“Temujin” is the birth name of the Mongol warlord Genghis Khan. So not really a terribly Australian name or cultural link there. I doubt we bring a lot of Australian culture directly to the music, although I think our approach to life, making music, and spreading our music is strongly influenced by ‘the Australian way’ – passionate, determined, honest, but always remembering not to take yourself too seriously.

What kind of Aussie culture are we talking about for such a young country as it is?
-The Indigenous culture is both ancient and unique, but not really a part of everyday life at all. For mainstream Australia it’s really essentially a blend of English and US influences. Musically, we have a strong Rock genre, but metal is small for local acts yet very well supported for big international touring bands.

When you release stuff digitally are there any advantages to it that you don’t get with physical records?
-It’s a hell of lot easier to get the music off this island digitally! I also think that the changing shape of the music industry will lead to bands and artists releasing fewer songs more often, rather than the more traditional model of write-record-release-tour every 12 to 18 months. For example, bands can write a few news songs, refine them playing live perhaps, record over a few days, and then release while still touring. This is only possible digitally, and is yet to become widespread – but I think it is coming.

What kind of future do you envision for Temujin?
-New recordings coming ‘soon’ (we’ve been saying that for a while now). Once we get that next release done, there’s plenty to consider – we’ve had some solid offers recently for gigs that we’ve had to let go for now, but that’s certainly something to get back to.

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