Heavy Temple at Psycho Las Vegas by Dante Torrieri

Nighthawk: My history with music goes as far back as I can remember. My parents had a pretty diverse record collection and they encouraged me to play early on. I started on piano and eventually moved to cello as a classically trained musician, though admittedly I hated practicing. I was a music major for a year and then realized I just wasn’t cut out for it. I dropped out, bought my first bass and discovered that playing it came much more naturally to me. I was at my friend’s house getting stoned and he put on Black Sabbath’s first album (for those who are wondering, yes, I didn’t hear that record until I was 20). That’s when I knew what I wanted to do. I also make flyers for our shows, and had made a bunch for our tour that just got postponed. I just really enjoy doing anything creative when it comes to music, be it writing, playing, making flyers, just experiencing it in any way possible. You can check out my flyers here.

What can you tell us about your band Heavy Temple?
Nighthawk:
I found myself without a band in 2012 and was rather depressed. I went through the “I’m gonna sell all my gear and quit music forever” phase. Then one day I just sat in the basement and started recording a few riffs that had been kicking around in my head. Fast forward to 2 records, 6 lineups and 8 years later. I feel like we’re really starting to hit our stride as far as live performance and collective writing. We all have different desert island records but also have a strong foundation in heavy rock. Our personal influences span everything from punk and black metal to psych and doom. The Sabbathian overtures on the first two records are obvious but not directly intentional. With this third record, you’ll hear more vibes like Black Angels, Queens of the Stone Age, Acid King, if I had to put a finger on it.  We were set to release that this year on a label, but since the world is ending we might just put it out ourselves.

Is there any artists that stands out as an influence to you?
Nighthawk:
I always find myself struggling to answer this question succinctly. If I’m naming bass heroes, I’d say Nick Oliveri (as bassist for Queens of the Stone Age), Bootsy Collins, and Lemmy. The bass playing I enjoy the most is groove based and more complex than you think, like Captain Beyond, early Scorpions, Grand Funk. Overall I’m influenced by a lot of things. Basically whatever sounds good to me. Could be High on Fire, could be Interpol. Could be Tchaikovsky. 

You recently got the OB1-500, how are you getting on with it? Have the neighbours complained yet?Nighthawk: Oh. My. God. I can’t believe I haven’t played through this before. The tone that I’m able to get straight out of the head is insane. Honestly it’s a real game changer for me. The fact that it splits the signal so you can dial in the clean sound before sprinkling that distortion on top is great. And if we’re being honest I like the easy to discern images on the face plate for people like me who sometimes have one too many shots of tequila before playing. As for our neighbors, they’re actually pretty cool. One keeps asking when we’re putting out a new record, so we got that going for us.

You also just released a solo album, what can you tell us about it and the influences behind it? 
Nighthawk:
Well, I love Italian horror movies and film scores. I also really enjoy the process of composing, so the album I just released, “The Dimensionaut” (listen here), is really an homage to all of that. It’s nearly a decade of music that I’ve wanted to put out for the longest time, so I figured I’d just go for it. I dig what you can accomplish with synths. There’s so much atmosphere you can achieve. My favorite tracks have a sort of ethereal synth sound with a massively wet reverb guitar track over top. We’re also releasing a split Funkadelic EP on Riff Merchant Records with our friends from Wolf People in a couple of days on the 31st of May which we’re excited about.

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