Interview - Timi Temple

2017 is an important year for musicians and mental health. Accompanied by an ongoing openness, endless support and positive outlook, I chatted with Timothy Lockwood about his own experiences, observations and the launch of his solo project Timi Temple, as well his recent single What Are We Waiting For.

Having grown up immersed in a world of jazz music, Lockwood toured internationally during his early 20s with a bunch of middle-aged men. It wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, however, leaving Lockwood a bit worse for wear.

“The other members brought their families on tour so as soon as we finished playing they’d go off with them, which is 100% fair, but made the weeks away super lonely.”

On reflection he wishes he had used this opportunity to explore, meet people, and make friends. “I think that’s kinda the biggest thing with the industry… we’re all too afraid of the failure so we don’t even start to attempt it and nothing ever happens.”

With his powerful connection to the jazz world, Lockwood expands on his views surrounding the genre. “Jazz allows you to explore the furthest reaches of your instrument… Jazz is introverted; playing for yourself to an audience. To be honest, I couldn’t notice if there were five or 5000 people in the crowd. Coming to view virtuosic talents, it’s not until someone claps and my eyes open that we interact.”

It’s never easy for humans to find their way. It can take time to get to where some of the most successful and happy people are. Going from this lifestyle, to playing with pop stars and feeling like his progress was halted, he adds, “When I’ve played for pop star-type people it’s a pretty basic gig; not as exhilarating or challenging.”

Touring with his mate Kilter, the two going way back to primary school days, the world of electronic music opened up for Lockwood. He muses “I wasn’t vibing the whole electronic scene at the time but when I joined the Listen Out tour with Kilter I thought, ‘Yeah, this is sweet’ and since then it’s been the most fun of a ride!”

Venturing out on his own, kick-starting Timi Temple back in April this year and combining what he grew up listening to with what he’s learnt, expect a fusion of psychedelia, electronica, and a hint of jazz.

What Are We Waiting For is a bright tune with a serious message, leaving an impression on the hearts and minds of listeners, including myself. The piece focuses on anxiety and depression with an aim to reach out to those dealing with mental health and show that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

“Anxiety can stop you from really doing anything,” he muses. “It pertains to this project especially; for so long I was too scared to share my own music. So this is literally about me not even wanting to get out of bed to attempt to do my own stuff because the fear of failure can halt you before you even get there.”

An incredible example of someone who has conquered his fears and using his own voice as a chance to support those who feel voiceless, he furthers “If I can write a song about making a mistake then hopefully someone else doesn’t have to!

“I’m not invincible,” Lockwood exclaims, “I’ve been crippled by the thought of ‘That can never happen to me, I’ll get through this easy-peasy’ but then is comes in like a train.”

Using writing as a way to escape from being stuck inside his head, he has turned this into a creative process for his music, delving into how his lyrics or thematic devices for songs always start out as a story. “I put my emotions onto paper but not all will develop into a song. For example, whenever I’m feeling angry or sad I find if I write down why I’m feeling that way, not just describing but going into a fantasy land – I could write a whole story about it. I will then go revisit these stories when looking for themes to fit with the instrumental, turning them into lyrics.”

Going into a flow state, Lockwood has been known to sit in front of his computer for 12 to 16 hours at a time, as he reflects, “My girlfriend came down and was like ‘Have you even left the house?’

“I was like ‘No…’

“‘Have you eaten?’

“I was like ‘No…’

“‘Have you had anything to drink?’

“and I was like ‘No, ha ha, but I’ve got a perfect song and then that’s that!’

“I love doing it. It’s kind of the same as when you’re playing an hour set but it feels like three minutes.”

Lockwood will continue to use this method into the future, as well as keeping a journal to assist the body and mind. For those struggling with stress, depression or anxiety, the release of feelings, emotions, fears and thoughts can help you understand them more clearly by gaining control and establishing an order when you feel your world is chaos.

An electronic music gig focuses on the audience and ensuring they have a sick time, one reason Timi has gone down this path. “You feed the energy off them, everything that’s planned is for the benefit and enjoyment of the crowd forming a connection with the entire room like one big family appreciating the sounds. It is super important to curate that experience, with the audience putting trust in the act to fulfil a great show and make sure it isn’t cooked by egotism.”

On the music scene becoming more supportive of positive mental health Lockwood confirms, “The electronic music scene is pretty supportive on looking after one another.”

However, in terms of gigs and socials, “It can feel like people aren’t really friends outside of the gigs… It would be cool if people actually made an effort to check up on each other outside of the industry. Especially as there is so much more going on behind the scenes that isn’t exposed online. For instance, instead of just liking a post, we should actually be calling up our friends.”

With heaps of goodies accumulating up his sleeves including his collaboration with Kilter, expect to hear and see some rad creations from Timi Temple.