The Cooper Temple Clause Interview

13 February 2004

The Cooper Temple Clause
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Summit Fishery is going on with The Cooper Temple Clause! Interview

Summit Fishery is going on with The Cooper Temple Clause!

When you see Ben Gautrey, front man of Berkshire’s TCTC throwing himself into one of their songs as though he was singing for his supper and has utter belief in the lyrics, it would surprise the uninitiated to discover that he does not write the majority of them. The inevitable question is from where the poignancy, angst, irreverence and refreshing nature of the lyrics emanates? The answer is Daniel Fisher, the guy who stands to Ben’s right at gigs totally lost in the experience. Bassist Didz Hammond and Ben have been rigorously interviewed by many quarters (NME & Gonzo, to name but few) and the mystery and intrigue that surrounds TCTC still lingers like a Boardroom crisis at Old Trafford, even after two full length albums. It was time to try and crack the case from a different angle; this meant grilling Daniel Fisher before their gig in support of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the University Of Liverpool.

The inevitable starting point was his version of where it all began;

“We all went to school together, Tom and Ben played in a band together, Didz was in a band of his own. We were borne out of the frustration of living in a small town”.

What of the two albums? The debut offering ‘See This Through & Leave’ is less subtle and more angst ridden, demonstrated by titles such as ‘Murder Song’ and ‘Let’s Kill Music’, than the follow up ‘Kick Up The Fire & Let The Flames Break Loose’;

Music - The Cooper Temple Clause
Music - The Cooper Temple Clause
Music - The Cooper Temple Clause

“The two albums are from a completely different headspace. The first album was drawn from 3-4 years of material”

Oh right, and was it a commentary on their upbringing;

“Yeah, it was a backlash against town mentality. The second album took about a year to write. We are not a band who can write on the road”.

Dan smiles wryly, admitting that part of the cause of this is because;

“Being on tour is the biggest surge of activity we have and we also get drunk a lot”

He glances at the floor and emits a sly chortle like that of a kid making his first confession; “It’s our own fault, really” he shrugs his shoulders. Shame on them! It was time to turn the heat up; is the second album more mainstream?

“Not really, I see it as a natural progression. It is nice to get more attention and play the bigger venues. There is no point in having anything to say if you don’t want to say it to as many people as possible”.

That is a good point well made young Daniel. Sensing that the amiable guy was warming to the situation I decided to press harder to try and uncover TCTC’s motivation and song writing process. What song triggered the second album?

“I went through a period of writer’s block. I had seen a film on writer’s block called ‘Barton Fink’ and decided to write a song a bout it. It got us jamming again”.

And that song was;

“The Same Mistakes.”

Having gotten over the above infliction that plagues everyone at some point, it intrigued me as to what song summed up his current feelings?

“New Toys, this is basically about being on tour. We have agood live angle and we tend to tour a lot. Some bands disappear after being hyped up and live off that hype while they do another album. You can’t guarantee guarantee hype so we play as many gigs as possible….. We’ve played Reading for the last three years, so we will probably give that a miss this year. Although we will never turn anything down, we will try and get the V festival in this year”.

It was no good; it was time for the ‘dark horse’ statement. A deep breath was drawn; it is possible to draw comparisons of your lyrical style to that of Ritchey Edwards from the Manics;

“He was a big influence I was really into their music especially ‘The Holy Bible’. He was one of those lyricists who immediately got to me, as well Thom Yorke, whose use of imagery just made sense.”

That wasn’t too bad, as I tried to repress my sigh of relief that he didn’t take offence and infer that by asking him the question, I expected him to disappear after the third TCTC album. Dan keenly unveils the reasoning behind their last single ‘Blind Pilots’ and believe it or not, it reveals a tender side to the group;

“It is about being on tour and maintaining a relationship. I use the plane crash metaphor to do so. It’s not over yet we can still steer this thing”.

I decided to wrap things up with a final question about the nature of their support slot for BRMC tonight; are there songs that they would not dream of playing tonight?

“We always try and change the set because it keeps yourself interested, but there are tracks from the first album, like ‘Who Needs Enemies’ that won’t be played tonight. We would play B-sides at our own gigs and won’t tonight. The whole art of putting a gig on is being able to grab people’s attention and keep them out of the bar”.

In appreciation of Dan’s honesty and openness, I confess that read the lyrics contained within the inside cover to the first album on their own, not only because of the powerful nature of them, but also to make sure I get them right. I told him about my friend and mine’s faux paus over the words to ‘Who Needs Enemies’. It was not until six months after owning the album before we realised that the words are “Killer key change” and not “Killer Peaches”. He laughed enthusiastically before putting my mind at ease;

“I have a friend in the band Oceansize, who told me he thought the line in ‘Panzer Attack’ was ‘here comes the Buzzard’s Eye’ despite it saying ‘Panzer Attack’ in the title!”.

Thanks Dan, I made my way to the fancy dress shop to return my scowling peach costume and plastic machete with a tad less embarrassment.

David Adair


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