New York’s Tempt has brought about a resurgence of the ‘80s music scene with their sound. This young quartet wears their influences on their sleeves and they want to bring back the melodic side of rock, but with their own twist and style. Forming only a year ago and coming off their performance at Rocklahoma, guitarist Harrison Marcello took some time to talk about Tempt’s new record, the band’s influences and his family’s musical history.
Shockwave: The first thing I wanted to start off with was Tempt was picked to perform at Rocklahoma this year. Talk about that experience.
Harrison Marcello: Yeah, that was pretty awesome and it was kinda by chance. I had a mutual friend comment on a Facebook status of the promoter Sammy McCaslin who runs the Retrospect Stage. I posted up a live video of us playing and he immediately messaged us saying we were on for Rocklahoma. That was really exciting. That was back in September and we had planned a little mini-tour out there and we played this show out in Columbus and in Louisville. Then we got to Rocklahoma and it was awesome. We had a bunch of people at our show; it was probably one of the biggest crowds we’d played for and everyone was super supportive of everything and it’s cool how it’s turned into an eclectic group of musicians. A lot of modern, kinda heavier bands and a lot of retro bands playing and everybody’s into it, so it was really fun.
SW: Was Rocklahoma on or around your one-year anniversary of your first gig?
HM: Yeah, I think the first gig we played was June 5 or something. I can’t remember the exact date, but it was pretty much around the year anniversary that we really started playing live.
SW: For Rocklahoma you put together a little limited edition EP. What are your plans for putting together a full length? Is that already in process?
HM: Yeah, we have our full-length album completely mixed and ready to go. It has 14 songs in total and the EP was a little teaser that we wanted to have to promote Rocklahoma. So much of being in the music business – especially as a band – is self-promotion. So we wanted to have some special things like the EP were we could kinda entice people. But, we have a full-length album completely recorded so all those songs were just taken off the full length. So, it was just a little teaser; it wasn’t anything separate.
The album was mixed by Michael Wagener, who I’m sure you know. He did all the Dokken, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, Stryper stuff like that. Right now we’re just waiting. We’ve gotten a few offers and we’re trying to figure out the best way we want to put it out so we can get it out to everyone. We want to get hooked up with a good deal, so we’re not to anxious to jump into a deal that might not be that great right off the bat. We’re trying to be patient with it, but hopefully some time in fall or something we’ll get it out. I’m ready to put it out now, but we’re trying to hold out a little.
SW: When I listened to your EP, it was a lock for me, especially the title track “Under My Skin.” The ‘80s style of music is my scene and you guys really killed it; it’s really excellent.
HM: Thank you. We’re all super fans of ‘70s and ‘80s rock, and we’re especially fans of bands like Van Halen, Beatles, Bon Jovi and Def Leppard and those bands that were able to cross that rock fan base with a pop fan base divide and that’s what we’re aiming to do. Recently we’ve been trying to get our image together and our sound. We’re not trying to recreate an ‘80s thing and be super retro, we’re just trying to extend that musical aesthetic of melodic rock. Why can’t rock music just be pop music with guitars and be appealing to almost everyone?
SW: When you were talking about Michael (Wagener) mixing and all the bands he’s worked with like Dokken and Alice (Cooper), I got a laugh because with your EP cover and the pictures on the back it’s hard not to get a little Alice Cooper “Killers” feel from it.
HM: Yeah, the snakes (laughs). That was done as a random thing actually. We were getting ready for Rocklahoma, like late winter, and we were saying we need some photos. We hadn’t done an official photo shoot yet; we just had some live photographer shoot us. So we were thinking what we could do to make this not some boring band picture that every band has, not just standing next to a backdrop. We just threw some ideas around and the snakes is one that just stuck. Mostly I think because we just wanted to play with the snakes, but it ended up being cool. Then afterwards we thought, well the snake thing in cool because temptation you think snakes, Adam and Eve kinda thing, so it worked out to be pretty sweet.
SW: What are you hoping to accomplish and your overall goals when it comes to the new record?
HM: The music business is in such flux at this point in terms of there’s so many different kinds of approaches, like how can you make money off music now and how can you get your CD out. I think overall with the record we’re just going to have to try and find the best way to do this. I think we’re really striving to break the mold in terms of rock and pop. There’s going to be a rock fan base that’s going to enjoy listening to us, but how can we make something more mainstream?
I think people want to see not just some ‘80s retro style, but a resurgence in musicianship and melodic rock because there’s a void. It’s interesting that so many of my friends from high school come out to see the shows and hear older music being played like “Hysteria,” and it’s almost like a new genre for them. To an older crowd it might sound dated, but to a younger crowd it’s like a new genre that has been under the radar for 15 or 20 years, maybe more.
SW: There are newer bands that have come out in the last eight or so years that have that ‘80s feel, sound, look, but they tend to be really heavy and do the screaming thing and they can be really hard to get into. They all look the same, sound the same and they’re boring. What do you think?
HM: We’re trying to find that happy medium. We don’t want to be a band dressed in Halloween costumes playing retro music where it almost comes off as a joke. We want to have more of an updated look, and when you listen to the record I think it’s obviously influenced by that but it has more of a modern sound and production quality. We’re trying to create something new, and I think the further we move through it – whether it be upcoming albums – we’re gonna develop a unique sound and a unique look for ourselves where we can be something that hasn’t been heard before.
SW: So, you do have a couple of tour dates going, but in general do you plan to extend throughout this year and travel a little bit?
HM: We did that little mini-tour of the Midwest, but we’ve only been together for a year so we’re definitely staying local. It’s so hard to build a fan base, especially because New York is such a great music scene it’s hard to get noticed. You have so many big acts passing through this area all the time that people are less willing to go out and see an unknown band because they can go out and see their favorites already. We’ve definitely been gaining some traction and we’d love to go out on a tour, so hopefully we can do that soon because we’ve played a few shows in Boston and Philadelphia. We’re definitely not afraid to travel.
SW: Talk a little about your influences. What got you into music?
HM: The first thing that really got my foot in the door is my family is super musical. When I was little and we were driving in the car, my parents were always making CDs with a bunch of music on it. My mom and dad actually met in a band. My mom actually played in the band Fiona, a relatively big late ‘80s band. I started getting into guitar when I was about 10, 11, 12 years old and my dad played the Randy Rhoads tribute album for me. When I heard that I really wanted to play guitar like that. So I started getting more into it, but the bug that really bit me was I heard “Round and Round” (Ratt) on the radio and I had never heard anything like that. So it’s like I said before, I had grown up in a world that had already existed but I hadn’t heard something like that, that awesome melodic rock, and from there it spiraled out of control. My first real album experience around that time, too, was Def Leppard’s “Hysteria,” so there’s another one for you.
SW: Harrison, thank you so much for taking some time to talk.
HM: Thank you. We have our single out on iTunes so people can check that out and all of our social media is Temptband. So Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all that stuff and Temptband.com.