An afternoon of coffee and cheap flea market finds with Jasmine Golestaneh and Eddie Cooper, the duo that is Tempers.

tempers-band-new-york

interviewed and photographed by CARSEN RUSSEL

Tempers, the duo of Eddie Cooper and Jasmine Golestaneh, are making some rad music (their influences reach as far wide as Russian opera to Norwegian ’90s black metal to Fleetwood Mac). With tunes that speak for themselves — a lush mixture of textures, beats and Jasmine’s hypnotic voice — it’s easy to get lost in their vibes. They just wrapped a European tour, will be featured in Refinery29 later this year and are working on their debut album. Not only do Jasmine and Eddie make worthy music, but they’re totally the people you want to be your best friends . I got the chance to sit down and talk with them about topics as diverse as their influences, and do a little flea market shopping.

SHK: A LOT OF INTERVIEWS SEEM TO ASK THE SAME QUESTIONS, LIKE “HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH MUSIC,” AND THAT SORT OF STUFF. IF YA’LL WANT TO TALK ABOUT THAT WE CAN, BUT I THINK IT’D BE MORE INTERESTING TO TALK ABOUT YOU GUYS AS PEOPLE, AND THE MUSIC WILL WEAVE ITSELF IN SORT OF ORGANICALLY, IF THAT’S OKAY?

Eddie Cooper: Sure, totally.

I KNOW, SOMEONE MENTIONED THAT YOU [JASMINE], ARE AN ENERGY HEALER?

Jasmine Golestaneh: Basically energy healing is… I guess it’s like a metaphysical way of doing therapy. So, you like channel energy that kind of puts someone into an altered state of consciousness where they’re more susceptible of clearing blocks, like, mentally powered blocks, or emotional blocks. Kind of maybe a little bit like hypnosis, but it’s slower. I got into it because when I was a teenager my mom used to send me to energy healers and I always found it really beneficial and something that I had a natural gift in as well, so if my friend had a headache, I would take all this heat from my body and I’d transfer it to them. And I trained different modalities just to have a professional sensibility, so that’s something I can pursue. Basically, each modality is different. One of them that I did recently is called Theta Healing. So you do a meditation where you learn how to go into a theta brainwave, which is slightly above delta. Delta is the brainwave that you go into when you’re under hypnosis. Theta is the thing above delta. So it’s very suggestible brainwave, and then from there you’re sort of initiated into channeling energy.

tempers-horse

VERY COOL. EDDIE, ANY HIDDEN TALENTS?

EC: I’ve got epsilon waves… No, no.

JG: You’ve got your trees. Tell her about your trees.

EC: I like trees. I’m actually a citizen pruner of New York City. I’m a licensed citizen pruner.

JG: It’s true.

tempers-band-shk

HOW DO YOU BECOME A CITIZEN PRUNER AND WHY?

EC: Well you take the course, through the parks department. I think I’ve always liked categories of things, and I guess sort of the way little kids like to memorize facts about dinosaurs or trains or whatever, I’ve brought that with me to my adult life. And I don’t really know why but somehow the various types of trees in trees in New York City started to interest me and I took it all the way to the top.

SO IF WE WERE TO WALK ONTO THE STREET YOU COULD NAME ALL THE TREES, OR —

EC: Yeah, yeah.

AND YOU CARRY AROUND SCISSORS?

EC: I could carry a ten foot pole saw. That’s what I’m licensed to do. If I see any low hanging branches or a problem, like a balloon stuck in a tree for instance, I could cut it down. But I can’t climb a tree. I’m not allowed to climb a tree. That’s a whole different thing. So that’s us. That’s us as people.

JG: Totally normal people.

EC: That’s the totality of my interests.

tempers-band-nyc

HOW DID YOU GUYS BOTH END UP IN NEW YORK?

JG: So I was actually born in Florida, so I’m an American citizen even though I grew up in England. I did this workshop, about transcendental meditation, [laughs] and I had this really intense experience during this workshop and I had a very strong dream, that I should be here [NY] and it was like, undeniable. And two weeks later I moved. I had one friend from college who, I slept on his floor, for a couple weeks. And then I just wanted to start a band but also wasn’t sure if I was going to stay here but then as soon as I got here I was like, “This is it. This is where I want to live.”

EC: Well I grew up here in New York, and my parents both grew up here in New York as well so, right here, right in this neighborhood… I was born here. And I left college and then went to Germany for a few years and then moved back.

WHAT KEEPS YOU HERE?

JG: I really, I really love New York. I feel very passionately about it. I feel like there’s a very strong, ferocious, vibrant energy. It’s very inspiring. I really love the color of the sky. I love the sunlight, the twilight shade of blue and I love that it’s so exciting and so exhilarating. It’s a very addictive city. And I feel like everything that I put my energy into has instantly kind of manifested into something, so I feel like it’s just a very fertile place to come with a passion, a dream, and you know, I really also love how multi-cultural it is. New Yorkers are from all over the place, like me. So I don’t feel like such a weirdo. And, it’s constantly surprising me. It’s like if New York was a guy, it’d be the perfect guy for me. [laughs]

tempers-brooklyn

WHAT’S YOUR PERFECT GUY LOOK LIKE THEN?

EC: He’s Mike Bloomberg.

JG: [laughs] Well, I have no idea.

EC: So a really expensive guy. [laughs] Who never sleeps.

JG: He never sleeps.

ADDICTIVE.

JG: He’s totally addictive.

EC: I think I have a more… I love New York, but it feels kind of complicated because I don’t really feel like I chose to live here, even though I obviously have. And that’s where I think the other side of the addiction lies. When I sort of ask myself… I don’t think I could go anywhere else. That’s a scary feeling on some level. Even though, luckily all my family that I’ve ever known is here but, there’s sort of like I do feel like it’s my only option.

tempers-band-lazy-sunday

OKAY, SO IF YOU COULD ONLY LISTEN TO FIVE ALBUMS FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, WHICH FIVE WOULD THEY BE?

JG: So Leonard Cohen, Songs of Love and Hate, I love that one. Nirvana… I’m trying to think which one. It’s hard to pick just one. Maybe, In Utero. Let’s see… I really like the Dylan album, Desire. There’s like a Russian opera by Shostakovitch. [laughs]

EC: Digging in deep.

JG: I’m really obsessed with it. It’s called The Death of Stepenrosen. It’s unbelievable. I could listen to that, a lot. What else, what else? Oh, Stevie Nicks. Stevie Nicks maybe?

EC: Yeah. I was just listening to Tusk yesterday.

JG: I would say Burzum, but I don’t know if I could handle listening to Burzum. I think I would go crazy.

EC: Two of your five albums for forever would be the Shostakovitch opera and Burzum that’s a little bit…

JG: It’s a bit too much. I do really love this album by Burzum, even though he was a psychopath.

SORRY?

JG: The guy from Burzum, it’s a black metal band from Norway, it like from the 90’s, but the lead singer is a kind of sociopath, killer and he used to burn churches —

EC: He was more than a socio.

tempers-band-eddie

WELL THOSE ALL PUT MINE TO SHAME.

EC: What are yours?

THEY’RE ALL WHINY WHITE GIRL MUSIC. JUST CRYING ALL THE TIME. CONSTANTLY.

JG: I mean you can cry to all of my albums too. [laughs]

I THINK MUSIC IS ONLY REALLY GREAT WHEN YOU CAN CONNEC TO IT AND JUST CRY TO IT. PREFERABLY IN A PUBLIC PLACE. JUST FOR MAXIMUM EMBARRASSMENT AND PURGING.

JG: Yeah, I love that. I recently went through a phase of public crying [laughs] where, it was so strange. Every time I would walk down the street I would have some horrible thought, really sad thought, and I would just start crying. For some reason I couldn’t cry if I was on my own, at home. Something maybe about just being witnessed? Or just how awkward it was? [laughs]

tempers-interview

THERE’S A CERTAIN CORNER, RIGHT OUTSIDE THE MOVIE THEATRE, WHERE I’VE HAD LIKE FIVE OR SIX EMOTIONAL BREAKDOWNS. THAT SPOT FOR ME, IS LIKE, WHENEVER I PASS IT, IT HAS EMOTIONAL RESONANCE.

JG: So you cry on that corner? Interesting.

EC: We need some sort of app for, like mapping—

JG: Sentimental places. Emotional breakdown spots. [laughs] Trauma hot spots. You might want to visit another person’s trauma spot. Maybe it works better for you than the one you have. “Actually, there’s a really good street in Tribeca…”

EC: Or, if you’re going on a date and you see that like there’s all these people that have breakdowns there and you want to rethink that place.

tempers-painting

WHAT ABOUT YOU EDDIE, FIVE ALBUMS?

EC: Oh. I thought I got out of it. I guess I would choose, I would choose Man Machine by Fat Boy, and, um, I would choose, Royal Scam by Steely Dan. I would choose maybe Tusk or Rumors  by Fleetwood Mac. And how many is that? Six?

JG: [laughs] The Tempers.

EC:   I’m trying to think in terms of something you play that’s a complete album. Because obviously I have more favorite songs — I think it’s kind of interesting actually that it’s kind of… I hardly even think of music in terms of albums. I mean, anymore. I don’t think many people do nowadays. It’s an interesting exercise to go back, I mean, maybe some people still listen to albums but for the most part I don’t think of it as albums. I think of like, the few songs that I love, and the rest is good too. It’s just so easy to indulge yourself now whereas with a cassette it was too much of a pain in the ass to rewind to that certain song, so you’d just listen to the whole thing.

tempers-flea-market

YOU GUYS ASSOCIATE COLORS WITH SONGS A LOT, LIKE VISUALS WITH SONGS. IS THAT SOMETHING YOU BOTH SEPARATELY DID AND THEN CAME TOGETHER AND REALIZED?

JG: I read recently that it’s like a mental disorder [laughs] There’s a word for it.

EC: Synesthesia.

JG: Yeah, so I think we both have that mental illness. There’s definitely like a palette, a color palette, when we’re writing music. Yeah, it’s just like… I don’t know.

DO YOU WORK TOGETHER ON SONGS? LIKE DO YOU SAY, “I WANT TO MAKE A SONG THAT FEELS LIKE BLUE, OR A SONG THAT LOOKS LIKE A SPECIFIC THING?

JG: Right. I guess, if I think about the beginning when we started writing songs together, I think that we’re really lucky because Eddie has a studio, because of his job. He does sound design, so we write songs and record them at the same time. We would improvise together. We just kind of kept layering things, but sort of intuitively. I think we both had an intuitive sense of the sound that is Tempers, and we both are telepathically channeling this entity that is Tempers. We were just noting it’s components and parts musically. It’s odd in that we sort of have this instinctive understanding of what we want it to sound like, without very much discussion about it. So I think sometimes we’d be like ‘Oh, let’s do a faster song or let’s do a slower song” but it’s never been like “Oh, I want it to sound like this or that.” And I notice sometimes I’ll go through a phase listening to like a certain genre or whatever and then I wouldn’t even tell Eddie about it, but I’d want to bring some of that into the music. Maybe just a certain texture and then Eddie would just sit there and play guitar and he would play exactly the texture that I had been thinking about. Without me even saying anything. So, I guess we’re lucky.

tempers-music

EC: I think what it is also interesting is when we started accumulating songs, we kept making them individually and then at some point it became an album, or a start of an album, and then we said to ourselves like “well, what sort of feelings are we missing?” Like what do we want to express that we haven’t yet, basically. We’d be like, “We’ve already covered a lot of this ground, lets try and cover more of this ground.” That was kind of satisfying way to work as well.

JG: So then, once we’ve written all of the instrumental stuff then I’ll kind of take it away, then I’ll go home and I’ll write the lyrics and the vocalities. And then go back to the studio and sing over it then we’ll kind of like, rearrange it around the vocals and kind of change things.

EC: I think the fact that we work immediately, it helps with the visual component too, the getting it out of ourselves so quickly. It’s not just like the two of us practicing a song together. It becomes this sort of external mass… It’s like we react to it. I can inspire you [Jasmine] and we’re just like creating a ton.

tempers-jessica-band

ARE YOU WORKING ON A NEW ALBUM NOW?

JG: Yeah.

EC: Should be out this year.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO GET OUT ON THE TABLE?

JG: No, not really. We’re just in the process of doing a music video for our song. I think that’s about it in terms of things that are upcoming. I have a really dear friend who is a photographer, and it’s a collaboration, we’re working together. He’s insanely talented. I totally trust him, and he’s a genius. So I’m just really excited. And for the previous video, that I did, I pole dance in a waterfall. [laughs]

WHAT WAS THAT LIKE?

JG: It was really amazing. Actually. It was very surreal. I’ve never experienced anything like that before, especially because they put a lot of dry ice in the water and fog, so, I felt like I was just floating and there was this gushing waterfall behind me, and I was balancing on this pole in a nightgown. It was really beautiful, and a really powerful, surreal moment. I wanted to do something just because I do pole dancing as exercise, and have been for a couple years. So, I’m pretty good at it [laughs] so I thought it would be interesting to incorporate that in a music video, but in a non-conventional setting. It was filmed on video from the 90’s, which gave it this kind of weird, film quality, which I thought was nice too. It’s not like the Disney colors of like Lady in the Waterfall or it’s more just like a security camera.

jessica-tempers-mirror

EC: It’s kind of nice how on one level it’s that, that quality is a stylistic choice, but it kind of gives everything a safe gloss, but on the other hand it exposes everything and it’s so cold and ugly. It’s so easy to shoot beautiful footage nowadays and that’s nice, but it also is a lot more difficult to actually say something.

JG: I guess another thing about the waterfall scene was that it was also really dangerous. [laughs] Which I think made it really thrilling as well. And it was completely illegal.

HOW SO?

JG: It was dangerous because if I fell I could really hurt myself and the pole was incredibly slippery and it’s very hard to pole dance if there’s like any kind of moisture, at all. It was tough. I was really lucky that I brought this cream that dries out your hands. If I hadn’t done that there’s no way I could have pulled it off.

EC: One take.

JG: Yeah, we didn’t have very long to do it either. It was the crack of dawn, we wanted to get there before anyone arrived and saw us so we only had like twenty minutes.

tempers-jessica-eric

SEE: Yourself.

HEAR: Everything, really. Is that cheating?

KNOW: The truth.

 

Comments

comments