Cape Town, South Africa: we spoke with a South African member of UK progressive rock/metal band Temples on Mars earlier in 2018. They had just released a debut self-titled album, and effectively launched a new band, having previously performed as another act named Agent. It’s been a fruitful journey since the re-brand, and the journey brings 50% of the members home later this month as Temples on Mars visits Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Temples on Mars – a fresh start
“Essentially this is a new band. The ‘old’ band was what it was and we are leaving it all behind. We are 100% future focused. The shift has been totally worth it. Years of changing members and other baggage can take its toll, so changing things up made us feel reborn in a way.” ~ James Donaldson (Guitar/Vocals, Temples on Mars)
Since its arrival as Temples on Mars in January 2018, James and the lads have landed a record deal, gigged extensively within the UK and performed a couple a festivals on mainland Europe. It seems fitting that the one-year anniversary should be marked with a trip to South Africa where two members originate from.
Moreover, it seems that South African’s take quite a liking to the sound and style of Temples on Mars. Album sales stats place South Africa as the third largest market so far after the UK and USA. Impressive!
“I think we are averaging about an 8/10 in album review stakes, which isn’t terrible, and the record has opened up doors with festivals and support slots. From online stats I can tell you our top five countries are UK, US, SA, Germany, NZ at this point; closely followed by Netherlands, Sweden, and Poland.” ~ James Donaldson
Getting down to earth – African soil, to be precise…
Shifting our focus to one of the South African members, we’re told that the local uptake is no accident. Besides that Darren was a leading member in The Spindle Sect (active in South Africa during the 2000’s), he and fellow Saffer, Gerald Gill, still feel a strong connection with their homeland.
“We are grateful for the amount of positive press we have had. PR makes a massive difference, and we have felt the biggest traction in those markets we have focused PR campaigns in; mainly the UK, Europe and South Africa.” ~ Darren ‘Daz’ Carikas (Bass/Backing Vocals, Temples on Mars)
Besides that the likes of Darren makes it home at least once every year to connect with friends and family, South Africa is an attractive destination for non-ZA members too. We should be flattered that our reputation as a destination is beginning to precede us!
“From a band mate’s perspective I’ve heard good things about the scene there and many of the UK bands we know that have toured there have loved it; saying it goes off! I’m expecting loud shows and hope for enthusiastic crowds.” ~ James Donaldson
“I still love SA very much and obviously miss family, but this time it is going to be special. I am really proud to bring this project home and give an intense show.” ~ Darren ‘Daz’ Carikas
Yet this trip will be about more than just music and performance. UK band members will enjoy a dose of local hospitality and culture too.
“We are treating them to a Breakfast Braai everyday; our guitarist Gerald is famous for them.” ~ Darren ‘Daz’ Carikas
Other achievements for Temples on Mars over the last 12 months
Apart form an excellent album and record deal, Temples on Mars headlined its own UK tour in October 2018. Furthermore, it traveled to Germany for the highly esteemed Euroblast festival (where South African’s own Deity’s Muse also appeared in 2017) and the Netherlands’ own prog gathering, Progpower. In short: get it whilst it’s hot! Catch Temples on Mars live in South Africa.
Visit the links to each city’s event page and follow via there for ticket sales:
25 January @ Mercury Live, Cape Town
Local support by Lithium, Last One Alive and Black Moscow
26 January @ Pool City (Walmer), Port Elizabeth
Local support by All We’ve Known
01 February @ Arcade Empire, Pretoria
Local support by Go The Rodeo and Savage Lucy
02 February @ Rumours Rock City, Johannesburg
Local support by Deity’s Muse, Climate Control and Dirty Moonshine
In some final words, and hopefully a little incentive to motivate South Africans to action, James describes the band in a nutshell:
“We are go-big-or-go home kind of guys. I would describe us as ‘proggy but accessible, heavy grooves with shimmering soundscapes’. The same goes for the shows. We are not there for a cup of tea and a lie down.” ~ James Donaldson
Darren snatched the opportunity to give a shout out to some of his peers and inspirations over the years:
“I just wanted to thank all the SA bands and amazing musicians that I grew up listening to, watching and playing shows with. They inspired me to do what I do! There was such a breakthrough scene happening. Bands like Plum, Seed, Nine, Lithium, Springbok Nude Girls, Boo, Pestroy, The Original Evergreen, Hog Hoggidy Hog… to name a few! All legendary.” ~ Darren ‘Daz’ Carikas