Just over a month ago, I attended Temples Festival in Bristol. The festival, in it’s second year, completely blew my mind. The alcohol helped, but the banter, atmosphere and performances from some of the heaviest acts in extreme music were primarily to blame for the blowing of said mind. I have not had that much fun listening to music, ever. If I could share another drink with every person I met, I would do so in a heartbeat.
Temples, if you didn’t know, is a completely independently run event. No sponsors or partners involved, it is a music festival for music enthusiasts and snobs like myself. Sludge, hardcore, grind and doom were all very well represented this year. On the final day of the festival, I got to sneak in a chat with the man in charge, Mr Francis Mace. We chatted about the origin of Temples itself, future lineups and of course, chicken shits (Eggs. Duh).
Firstly, where did the original idea for Temples come from?
Well I’d been putting on gigs for a long time, to be honest it was really the natural progression from putting on all dayers. I really liked doing them as I got to curate a line up, programming a headliner and support acts who would adequately match them. It always made more of a spectacle than just a gig. After that I just wanted something more challenging where I could put on as many good bands as I could. Bands that wouldn’t otherwise come to Bristol or even the UK. I thought, fuck it, a festival is the way to go.
Fuck it indeed! What’s been your biggest challenge two years in?
It’s a huge learning curve man. I mean, until last year I’d never run a festival. I guess there were aspects of last year that I was quite ignorant about from a production stand point, even though I’ve worked production for years and years. A fest is a different thing though. The goings on behind it like ground transport, shuttling people to and forth, COS permits. There are loads of different things, too many to pinpoint any one aspect of it. With it being such a steep learning curve though, I do feel like we’ve almost hit our stride and we know exactly how we’re gonna run it from here on in. So yeah, it’s all a challenge really.
Hard work is good work though!
Absolutely! Actually, no, I don’t agree with that. I’m lazy as shit. I’d say hard work is obviously the most rewarding though, even though it’s challenging it’s the most worthwhile. Like with the festival, it’s a big undertaking, both financially and time wise it’s a big strain. Doing something like this and seeing so many people going off to see Nails on Friday or Goatsnake last night. You look out in the crowd and yeah. it’s a big affirmation of why I do it.
I know you’re very vocal with patrons on the internet, looking out at what they’re saying and responding a lot. Do you enjoy getting involved in that side of things?
We don’t have a social media manager. I do everything. As well as running the fest, booking the bands and what not I do social media and production. I have a great team around me now, a team who support me in actually organizing the festival. The social media stuff I do pay a lot of attention to. I try not to get involved when people say dumb things but I like to take comments on board and respond to people, let people know we’re actually keeping them in mind and doing things to make their experience easier and better, putting on lineups they want to see. Yeah I pay a lot of attention. I like to listen, I like to take things on board. I think nowadays with social media it is a great way of developing a festival like this, which was an idea I had a long time ago. After the first year I took a lot of those comments on board and things have changed somewhat because of that.
For sure, that slips nicely into my next question actually. Do you think Temples could have worked say, ten years ago considering your mantra “No Sponsors. No Gods. No Masters”?
No. In a nutshell. If it was me doing it, no, I wouldn’t have been in a position to do it. I didn’t have the knowledge I’e acquired over the last ten years working as a promoter, in production and in venues. It took that time for me to gain the knowledge and confidence to move forward with Temples and orchestrate it in a professional and successful fashion.
Which you are definitely doing!
Thank you very much! Going back to the hard work thing, it’s definitely that. This year really feels a lot smoother and it’s very refreshing to hear that, thank you.
No worries at all. Gonna ask you about some of the performances from this weekend so far. Who’s been the best, most refreshing new band you’ve seen this weekend?
Venom Prison. They just played on the 2nd stage. Absolutely amazing. 90’s throwback Euro metalcore. I can’t go without mentioning Sonance’s performance yesterday. They were absolutely incredible. They played last year too and blew me away. I’m god friends with the guys but even if I was to speak objectively, if I didn’t know them, if I saw them I’d still be blown away. Anta today, they were also very good.
Missed them! Got here too late today.
Too many drinks last night?
None actually, staying fresh for today (it was my birthday, I got drunk – MM).
Fair play, I like your style!
Obviously the venue is very much a Bristol institution now. I’ve been to a lot of fests and venues around the UK but I’ve never really seen anything like it. Everything bleeds together without being cramped or closed up. How much stake do you put in the venue itself in terms of it helping the patrons have a good time?
I think the venue is just perfect for what we wanna do. It’s a modest size, it has a great layout and the staff here are really into what we do. They love the fact that all of our patrons are so friendly. The security engage really well with people too. I first put a gig on here in 2009 and I remember thinking if I was ever going to do something bigger, this was place for it. It was a stepping stone venue, that’s how I originally thought but after the first year I thought, fuck it, we’re doing it here again. It worked perfectly. Now, with the development of the third stage it’s really come into fruition. It’s become part of Temples now and we have no desire to move away from Motion. The staff are perfect and we’ve got a great working relationship. It feels like a European kinda thing. I mean, it’s a venue in a skatepark! Last year we turned a skatepark into a venue, this year we turned an old car garage into a venue and the staff were cool with it! When you come up with these suggestions they think of it as a challenge. They’re game for it. It’s just got a great independent characteristic about it. It’s pretty much exactly in line with what we do as a music festival.
You can really feel that with all of the independent labels being represented here. Profound Lore, Southern Lord and the like.
Holy Roar too!
Indeed! Now, to dip into the cliche questions. If you were to put on any headliners you could next year, living dead or otherwise, who would you pick?
Now you’ve opened up the dead aspect of it, that opens things up. Queens Of The Stone Age. They’re always me go to as they’re my favourite band ever. I’ve been an avid fan of Queens for a long, long time. I like the idea of putting on Rush as they never play festivals and, well, I fucking love Rush. I wanna pick someone from the dead now so I need to think about this. I’ll probably go with, actually, you know what. I’ll go with Company Flow, the hip-hop act.
Are you a hip hop head at heart as well?
Hugely, yeah. I love hip-hop and grime. When I work, when I’m arranging Temples I listen to hip-hop. I try and keep a different feel around the office. So yeah, I’ll go with Company Flow, Rush and Queens Of The Stone Age.
That’s an odd mix! What would be the weirdest thing we’d find on your playlist just now?
Ana Vidovic, the neoclassical guitarist. She’s absolutely amazing. I’ve been obsessed with her for fucking ages, with her music for fucking ages. I’ve been learning one of her pieces for four months now. That’ll be the weirdest thing you’d find.
Awesome. So, it’s that time of the interview. I have to ask you how you like your eggs?
In water or milk?
Water! Never milk. Milk and eggs? I don’t do scrambled eggs so definitely not milk.
Rosemary. A little bit of rosemary.
That’s a new one! Anyway, thank you so much for answering my questions. Take care!
No problem man.