-Interview- Silent Temple (12/15/22)

Silent Temple talks about their Neo-classical Jazz-fusion with a faery forest psychedelic soul sound, upcoming plans and much more.


From: Oregon
Sounds like: Progressive Folk Soul

1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name "Silent Temple" and is there any meaning behind it?

I (Amos) got started with music when I was born. My first memories are of the piano, searching for some numinous, majestic source in those twelve tones... When I was very young I spent a lot of time composing at the piano. I don't remember hearing much music in those years that I really cared for, I felt I had to create what I really wanted to hear. I developed my sound through years and years of lessons from various teachers of various styles, from classical and jazz piano teachers, to choir directors, to psychedelic rock stars, to various tryptamine substances. The people I have taught how to play my music have also been some of my most prominent influences.

Silent Temple has a couple personal meanings, even though the story of the Zen master Shoichi is perfectly apt. First is the fact that we have been subjected to a reality where most pagan temples have been either destroyed or desecrated/appropriated by Christian imperialism, the songs and worship of the ancients therin being silenced. The second meaning is sort of a response to the first: Silence; silence of the tongue, of the mind, of the language, of the heart, is a place of profound listening. To hear, to see, to experience from silence can cause revelation; the eternal blooming of reality's spiritual nature. The practice of deep listening to me is a sacred space where I can journey on the path of re-awakening the spirit of the ancient forest and the worship of the great goddess, Mother Earth. The Silent Temple.

2. What do you want people to take away from your music?

Ideally, I want people to take away a sense of emotional uplifting, an increased interest in deep listening, and fervor for a belief in the power of love, beauty, and healing.

3. How would you describe your sound to the average listener?

Neo-classical Jazz-fusion with a faery forest psychedelic soul

4. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

Wilderun, Moonsorrow, Pain of Salvation.

5. How has Covid affected what you do?

When lockdown hit, I went from 4-5 gigs a week to 0. Performances slowly trickled back in in various outdoor, undercover, and understandably trepidatious situations over the following two years. Basically in that time, between all the other intense civil war time (mis)adventures, we hunkered down and rehearsed, and recorded two extremely epic albums. Not like we weren't going to do that anyway, but it probably happened quicker since no one had day jobs devouring their daily lives at the time.

At this point, live performances are back rolling fairly smoothly again, but we've learned a lot of valuable lessons on how to work with/around adverse circumstances, to the point of extremity...!

6. What’s your take on the current state of Progressive Folk Soul?

Given my full-time occupation with my own productions, I wish I had more time to spend digging around the net for more music to listen to! I can't honestly say I know much about the current state of any particular genre. Progressive Folk Soul is a phrase I use as less of a musical genre descriptor, and more of a description of where the music is coming from. "Folk Soul" meaning the spirit eminent in what is close to the Earth, what is ancient and archetypal in its permutations. "Progressive" meaning growing, changing, weird (wyrd), and boundary-pushing. I'm happy to see the success of artists such as Moonsorrow, Pain of Salvation, The Flower Kings, Arjen Lucassen, Phideaux Xavier, Wilderun and Opeth, all artists that I hear Progressive Folk Soul in their music. I'm about a generation younger than those bands though, so I'm excited to meet my progressive soul peers from across the world soon!

7. What's the current music scene like there in Oregon?

The music scene in Oregon is super vibrant and healthy, at least in terms of what I have to compare it to from personal experience, which is just the rest of the US and some of Canada. People are pretty good listeners around here, and seem to keep fairly open minds about what they are capable of enjoying artistically. Just in Portland, we have plenty of excellent jazz, funk-soul, rock & roll, experimental/avant-garde, folk music and cascadian black metal.

I'm back to about 2-3 gigs a week from 4 different bands now and get paid okay playing bars, restaurants, farmers markets, theaters, house shows and city parks. Could be better, and it will be! I'm still very much struggling to make a living as a full-time musician but nonetheless the scene here in Portland, OR is very supportive of creativity, and is learning about fostering diversity both cultural and musical. Silent Temple seems to be on the rise around here, which certainly tells you something about open ears!

8. What’s your take on the royalties that streaming services pay out to artists?

I've personally never experienced a time as a recording/performing artist where streaming services hadn't become the most prominent music listening platform. It would seem album sales as a significant source of revenue is severely impeded upon by streaming services, and what they pay me for someone listening to one of my albums is one-half-of-nothing. The listener would probably have to stream one of my albums one thousand times to equal what they might buy it for if they just bought it straight from me. It's a big "exposure" game which I am forced to play to get where I am going. On the other hand, I am grateful for the platforms for my music to be listened to on regardless of payout. My take is that they ought to pay artists more, of course!

9. What’s next for Silent Temple?

More local and regional performances! The musicians in this band are shining incredibly bright these days and I must showcase their beautiful interpretations of my music to the world! We're playing music from all five Silent Temple albums, creating an immersive experience and super tight professional presentation of epic musicality. We just played the Star Theater, and are playing the Jack London Revue in January, both prominent Portland venues. I am currently composing music for another record, but that's going to have to wait...

10. Any shoutouts?

Shoutout to Marcelo and Family Mystic for being incredibly supportive musical comrades, friends and community builders! Shoutout to Alexandria for designing our website! Shoutout to Flying Caravan, Bodhi Mojo, Ten Spiders and Faerie Folk. Shoutout to Scott from Soul'd Out Productions for giving Silent Temple some great performance opportunities lately. Shoutout to Ragon Linde from The Prog Hour at Shady Pines Radio. We are so grateful, thank you Mother Earth for our existence!