by Bret Miller
I don’t remember how I learned of Seatemples, but after hearing songs from their debut Down Memory Lane I was hooked. The band is based out of Coquimbo, Chile, in the northern half of the country and label themselves as a Shoegaze band. Maybe it’s the culture that they grew up in that influenced their sound to make it seem that much more rarefied. Seatemples bury their melodies in mesmerizing guitars, synths and bass, tying it all together with machine-like percussion and warm yet distant male and female vocals. Lead vocalist and guitarist Patricio Zenteno was kind enough to illuminate us on his band and influences.
Where are you from and what are is your favorite thing about the city?
We’re from a city called Coquimbo located in northern Chile. This area is a vast region known for having a long coast shore, transverse valleys and the clearest skies in the world. My favorite thing about Coquimbo is its location itself, just next to the sea. Most of the year we can see a dense curtain of coastal fog in contrast with the coastal range, which is very inspiring.
What is the music scene like there and are there other bands that you can perform with often?
Well, our music scene is definitely a DIY scene with several bands that prepare and book some shows supporting each other. We usually bring our backline and gear to some bars and public spaces such as Casa de las Artes or Centro Cultural Palace. It’s fun because you can find lots of different bands playing several different styles during the same week. We usually share venues with bands such as Bedroom Dreamers, Kilómetro 22 , Monotron, Maff and some others.
What are some of your favorite bands?
Some of my favorite bands are The Velvet Underground, David Bowie (Ziggy era), Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Wire, Suicide, The Cure, Ride, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Sisters of Mercy (early stuff), Trisomie 21, Cocteau Twins, Neu!, Slowdive, MBV, Lush, TON, The Field Mice, The Pastels, The Church, Cranes, Drop Nineteens, Spacemen 3, Lucybell (early stuff), The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Catherine Wheel, The Chameleons, Whirr, Tamaryn, Citrus Clouds, Crystal Stilts, Aerofall, A Place to Bury Strangers, The Kvb, U.S Girls and so many others.
What is an early memory associated with music?
The answer to this question is basically based on a permanent memory. The first time I went to the movies I saw David Bowie [in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence]. He was the only one who caught my attention at that moment, and the only one I remembered ever after. As a kid, I started to understand his work, the different profiles he had as a musician and performer. Los Prisioneros is also one the most vivid mental images I have. They were a perfect mixture between The Clash and New Order, and their political content was strongly disapproved by Pinochet’s dictatorship in our country at that time, so they, at my very young age, ignited the flame for music and justice.
Were you musically talented at an early age?
I always was artistically driven. I participated in many acting, singing, and dancing activities at school since I was five years old. Then when I got more involved in music, I created some sort of drum kit with which I used to spend hours and hours playing and singing, but it wasn’t until I was 17 that I decided to take music seriously and started writing my own songs.
Who in your life has supported your musical activities and helped you keep making music?
My parents never wanted me to be a musician, writer or artist in general. They really hated this idea of having a kid who spent his time creating worthless things and asking them for money. I know it’s absolutely common for underground artists but I started to work and save money to buy some essential records and stuff. So after 15 years, they changed their mind about it. My friends in the band and others have been a constant in supporting me and giving me confidence to keep on working and overcome some difficulties. Nowadays, my wife helps me a lot with having enough time to work properly day by day.
Have you toured or played shows outside of your hometown? If so, where, with who and how was the experience?
Once we were invited to play [The Dark Side of the River II festival] in Illapel, a city located in the south of the region. It was a totally different experience for many reasons. The first one is that the location of the gig was really special. We played in the open field next to a river in the middle of nothing, which gave the experience a very haunting and amazing vibe. We were also playing to people that weren’t used to our sound, so that was definitely a challenge.
What is a funny story about your band playing live?
In the early stage of Seatemples, we played live shows with samples and drum machine, and once we were playing and with the agitation and passion of the moment our sampler stopped working. The people watching us obviously realized but we didn’t! So we continue playing until finishing the song and only in that moment we noticed the bass wasn’t working! Good thing we played everything right, but without any drum sound. People liked it though, I think haha.
Who did the art for the album and how do you think it fits with everything about the band?
Adriana Hernandez did it. She’s a young talented artist from Guadalajara, Mexico. We were totally caught by each other’s proposals, music, and visual arts. So we sent her a proposal and she fortunately accepted. Then she offered us to create something new and exclusive based on our sound, harmonies and atmospheres, and the result was quite impressive.
Patricio, please give an example from one of your songs of how your guitar is set up with pedals, effects, tuning, etc.
Well, I mostly use standard tuning and experiment with some open chords. Now, about the effects, I really love reverb actually I have a couple on my pedalboard (Nova Reverb by TC and Hardwire by Digitech). Also delay and echo delay, also some distortion pedals such as: Proco Rat, Boss Turbo Overdrive, and a creamy fuzz by a Chilean brand called Fuse Pedals, there are some others like phaser, h2o chorus, and some rack effects such as the classic Yamaha FX500 all of them connected to a 4×12 Vox amplifier with a warm tube sound. Now, one good example could be “Seaweed”, there I use Proco Rat to boost the lead guitar. Then, I move to Boss Turbo Overdrive which provides a subtle layer for the verse. There’s a bridge so I add a bit of phaser. When the chorus of the song begins I use my fuzz. I usually play with my reverbs, modulate and reverse are my favorites (level and decay all the way), sometimes both at the same time to create an exquisite layer of sounds. However, this varies from song to song as a result of the different landscapes and atmospheres we create along our setlist.
Will you be touring the U.S. or Europe for the album or be doing festivals?
After finishing our second album we really hope to play abroad. We’ve already been invited to some countries such as the USA, Mexico, Italy, France and some others by bands and followers so we’ll do our best to make that dream come true.
What is in the future for you and Seatemples?
We’re definitely moving towards a second full-length, at least 10 tracks from which we’ve already been playing songs such as “Secuestro” (our first song in Spanish) and “Holograms”. We have a deal with Dave Allison of Custom Made Music in order to release our first album “Down Memory Lane” in physical format, cassette and cd. If it goes well, we would release our second album through this American label and then start booking some possible dates to play abroad.
Seatemples’ Down Memory Lane is available now and they also cover The Field Mice’s song Quicksilver on Popkiss, TBTCI meets Sarah Recs., both on Bandcamp.
Patricio Zenteno (aka Patricio Temples): Vocals, guitar, sampler
Priscila Ugalde: Vocals & Bass
Moisés Segovia: Synth & guitar
Diego Herrera: Drums