The Temper Trap's televised rise to fame

Commercial appeal
By ALEXANDRA CAVALLO  |  September 22, 2010

IT’S A TRAP “We don’t live in the ’80s anymore where you sell 16 million records and you get millions of dollars in advances and you can do whatever you want,” says Lorenzo Sillitto (right).

Dish duty is one thing that Lorenzo Sillitto really misses when he's on tour. That and hanging out his wash, ironing his own shirts, and other mundane chores not really befitting the guitarist of one of today's most buzzed-about indie bands.

"Yeah! It's kind of cathartic," he says over the phone from London, where he's "just having a lazy day" and doing a whole lot of much-needed nothing for the first time in almost two years. "Washing the dishes can be really peaceful and calm, and you can forget about stuff."

One has to wonder just what kind of stuff he needs to try and forget these days. The Melbourne-bred Temper Trap have enjoyed a whirlwind rise to fame since their breakout single, "Sweet Disposition," was featured in the 2009 indie rom-com 500 Days of Summer. Although the infectious arena-sized alt-rock song has found its way into a number of TV shows and commercials since then (including spots for Coca Cola and Chrysler), Sillitto still isn't sure how comfortable he is with the situation. "I kind of think sometimes it's been overused, but the others have different opinions on that," he says slowly. "But, I mean, we don't live in the '80s anymore where you sell 16 million records and you get millions of dollars in advances and you can do whatever you want. The music industry is a lot tighter, and it's a lot harder to make a living out of it, so you just have to kind of do what you can, you know?"

What they've been doing seems to be working so far. The Temper Trap spent the summer on the major-festival circuit — from Bonnaroo to Lollapalooza to Outside Lands — alongside artists they'd hardly ever dreamed about seeing, much less hanging backstage with. Sillitto still gets a bit star struck, particularly by bands he cites as big influences, like Arcade Fire, with whom they played two festivals — the two groups share a penchant for thick, anthemic songwriting. "I actually watched Toby [Temper Trap drummer Dundas] get his ass kicked by Win Butler at table tennis, which was pretty funny." Sillitto is looking forward to playing some smaller venues on their upcoming tour, however. "You're kind of playing to people who are, well, who you hope are already your fans, so it is a lot more intimate in terms of the way the show goes."

After the current tour, which ends back home in Australia in December (with a stop this Wednesday for a WFNX show at the House of Blues), the band plan to take some time apart before starting on the follow-up to last year's debut, Conditions (Glassnote Records). "We want to come back fresh and excited." Although they haven't yet put anything to paper for their sophomore effort, which will be darker, Sillitto says they've already been kicking around some ideas. "And we've got a few new toys to play with. We've got a keyboard and a couple of synthesizers and stuff that we'll probably try to use more texturally."

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