Even in a relatively small city like St. John’s, it isn’t always easy for a band to make a name for itself. It’s even more difficult when a group changes its name.
“It was a little disappointing at first, but it actually helped to reinvigorate the band,” says TERRA vocalist and guitarist Richard Seypka of his group’s name change from Temples to TERRA.
“We went into the studio with a chance to make improvements, write some new material and add further meaning and depth to the overall project. We chose to name our band TERRA, a word that means ‘earth’ in over four languages. We are all Terran.”
Beginning as an RPM project undertaken by Seypka, the group began as something of an experiment. “I was experimenting with my writing style and developed some unique vocal techniques and guitar progressions with polyrhythmic Afro-Cuban-esque beats,” he says.
“I just wanted the band to sound unlike anything I’d ever heard before.” With the addition of members Nathan Day, Jason McDonald, Tony McNeil, and Chad Murphy, the group began performing around the city, and decided to become TERRA after UK group Temples found considerable success.
Entering the studio with a new moniker and a renewed energy, TERRA recorded much of their debut record, Temples, at Seypka’s own Art of Sound Studios. The album was also produced by Seypka, and mastered by Noah Mintz, who has worked with indie rock all-stars like The National and Arcade Fire. The end result is a tremendously polished and sonically rich set of eleven tunes that incorporate indie rock, progressive rock, and even some Latin music.
Many of the album’s tunes are rhythmically driven pieces, with plenty of percussion in creative patterns. Layered guitars, present bass, and bright synths fill out Temples’ huge palette.
The album also contains an overarching storyline that ties the songs together, incorporating the visual art of Jud Haynes, Mike Feehan, and Darren Whalen in the album’s packaging. “We fulfilled all of our own adolescent dreams and designed an experimental concept LP filled with images of space and unearthly beings,” Seypka explains.
“The imagery tells a story of two travelers, one human and one alien. They converge on Earth where the alien bestows upon the chosen one the ancient knowledge of the universe.” This vision is captured in TERRA’s music video for the song “Sunday,” which captures all four seasons and took over a year to shoot and produce.
With the recording and production of Temples now complete, the group is working to perfect their live show at home, before touring through Atlantic Canada and into Ontario. “I’m always writing and recording,” Seypka says, “so I do see another record in the near future for TERRA.”
Check out TERRA on Facebook, and purchase Temples either in person at Fred’s Records or digitally on iTunes or Bandcamp.