After a series of impressive and buzzed-about singles and EPs, London by way of Australia’s Tempesst is excited to announce the upcoming release of their debut album. Must Be a Dream will be released on September 30 via their own label Pony Recordings. Crafted and produced entirely in the band’s studio with the help of long-time friend and producer Elliot Heinrich, Must Be a Dream is a massive step forward from their previous short format releases; a wide-eyed excursion of folk-tinged psychedelia with nods to Spirtualized, the Flaming Lips and the Beach Boys skewed with a modern view of melodicism.
The core of Tempesst started more than a decade ago in the small coastal town of Noosa, Australia, with twin brothers, Toma and Andy Banjanin. Growing up in a musical family, the pair joined the church band at 14 years old and performed regularly for the next few years. It was through the church that the two met Kane Reynolds and Blake Mispieka, who years later now serve as the keyboard and the bass player for Tempesst.
The Banjanin brothers eventually left home only to discover a whole new world of music, ideas and ways of living that weren’t part of their previous purview. In the late 2000s, after a short stint in the UK, the two moved Williamsburg Brooklyn, NY. There the brothers soaked in the intensely thriving DIY ethos that permeated the local scene, developing their own ideas and starting home recording projects. Meanwhile the culture, ideas, and music began to take hold on both, exposing them to vast amounts of previously undiscovered music by names like Joni Mitchell, Al Green, Wings, Electric Light Orchestra and more.
After a year in Brooklyn, the conclusion of the twins’ visa forced a move to Hackney, London, where the pair hunkered down and got serious about home recording. They recruited guitarist, Swiss-American Eric Weber, reconnected with old friends Kane and Blake, and Tempesst was born.
The need to practice in a densely populated city like London helped facilitate the creation of a studio. “We started out with a basic production studio that Tom kept at his house but one of the biggest challenges in London is that you can’t make noise,” recalls drummer Andy. “So we began looking for a rehearsal space and came across this warehouse, which was way bigger than anything we were looking for but got us wondering about what it would actually take to set up a proper studio.”
Christening the space Pony Studios, the band started to convert the warehouse into a space with multiple studios and practice spaces. At the same time they also started Pony Recordings, completing the circle of DIY and changing the way that the band approached their art. “These days artists are expected to do so much themselves and we have always been slight control freaks anyway”, states Andy. “DIY is part of everything that we do, so that extends to our label, the studio, the videos, all of it and really it’s just how the indie music scene has evolved.” Toma adds, “With the studio, we have time to work on all the key things that have become quintessential to our sound but also experiment and add an element of surprise, whether that is a weird synth solo or a key change. It’s those little departures that keep the listener on their toes.” Today Pony Studios houses multiple recording/mixing rooms that are permanently leased to producers and serves as a tight community to those that record there. Producers such as David Wrench, Marta Salogni and The Vaccines have either recorded or rehearsed at the space.
Must Be a Dream is a paradox of complexity and musical prowess shrouded beneath deceivingly simple pop melodies, producing a dense, sun-kissed record. It explores themes of longing, love and loss, substance abuse, the death of loved ones and remembering the beauty beneath it all. And though the album is the culmination of four years of work and decades of preparation, it’s only the first step in the evolution that is Tempesst. “This record is the first time that I feel like I’ve had the uninterrupted ability to create and have full control at our own pace,” recalls Toma. “With this LP, we’ve created something we’re really proud of that truly cements our identity as a group. The joy of taking these songs live is something that we’re really excited about.”