While live performances slowed to a near halt for the majority of the year, it presented an opportunity for music fans to broaden their playlists and discover some new favorites in the ever-broadening digital musical landscape.
And, indeed, many local music fans will be familiar with the eclectic space-funk trio Eternal Temples, who, by virtue of their high-energy live performances can boast among their achievements an Indy Best Of Original Band award in 2016 and an Akademia Music Award for their LP Ready for Harvest from the same year. But even if the outer-limits-minded E.T.s are new to you and you’re, say, stuck in your house for an extended period of time, their 2019 LP Space Dreams makes for a nice aural trip to the cosmos.
The genesis of Eternal Temples goes back to the 2014 songwriting efforts of guitarist/vocalist Jordan White and bassist Alex Burton, who eventually found their drumming foil in Lonnie Patrick. The band’s sound borrows from heavy alt-rock, funk, psychedelia, reggae and jam rock, but tracks on Space Dreams such as “Asteroid,” “The Horse That Got Abducted” and “March of the Greys” display an impressively concise sense of songcraft, which is refreshing for a genre mix that is prone to meandering in their trips to the stars.
“It’s a lot to do with our wide range of musical backgrounds that have such a variety of styles,” says Jordan White. “As far as the music we write and play, I feel it’s a blend of our own tastes with one common goal in mind, which is providing a really good time and creating some serious good vibing dance music. There is some heavier rock, funk, psychedelic aspects, reggae rock, post punk, space funk and definitely jam-heavy, especially live.”
As has been repeated ad nauseam since March, the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into the livelihoods of musicians at every level, so it probably goes without saying that Eternal Temples, who focus immense care and attention on their live presentation and improvisation, have had to find other ways to keep busy in recent months.
“Well, I can say we are super grateful we have been able to stay decently busy still, definitely not the same, but we will take it,” says White. “Our music is based around the ‘feeling good and letting loose’ aspect, so most of our shows pre-COVID turned into dance parties. So it’s tough with the no dancing and social distancing guidelines in place. But we are confident live entertainment will live on; it’s just a bit of a waiting game at this point. Creatively, we have pulled what we can from 2020 and ‘the great quarantine,’ and made the best we can out of it, including writing some new music.”
In late October, the trio are set to return to Royal Recording and begin recording for their fourth LP, which White says will feature some of their heaviest material, a return to their jam roots, and even a bit of comedy relief.
“We have recorded all of our albums with Bill Douglass at Royal Recording studio. We wouldn’t have it any other way, and we love working with him. He’s a perfect fit as far as our visions musically, we really work swimmingly together.”
In talking of the eclectic mix of influences Eternal Temples draw from, it turns out they come by their thematic preoccupation with space and extraterrestrial life just as honestly as their predilection for funk-rock, as White recalls a particular night back in 2007.
“So, at the time I lived out in Palmer Lake,” says White. “It’s not something I really talk about, and I swear, every time I think about it, my whole body gets chills, to be honest. But we had driven to a spot a bit off the beaten path, parked to chill, and before we could do anything, basically, what happened is one singular bright round light appeared out of the sky by rapidly spanning from our right peripheral, traveling right-to-left at a speed far faster than any man-made aircraft. And then, without much adjustment in speed, it literally stopped seemingly right in front of us for what must have been a matter of less than a second, but made me feel frozen in time. Then it simultaneously separated into six or seven different smaller lights and disappeared in opposite directions. All true, and I wasn’t intoxicated at the time! But honestly, the feeling that whole night afterwards was extremely eerie and I didn’t feel right at all. Needless to say, we got out of there pretty quick.”