Hi, I’m Kate Tempest. My new album ‘The Book Of Traps And Lessons’ was released on Friday. You can download/stream/buy it here. I’m also going on tour soon, which you can buy a ticket for here. PROOF: https://twitter.com/katetempest/status/1139897520723759104

Comments: 491 • Responses: 22  • Date: 

mf_ultratubx27 karma

What was it like working with Jam Baxter?

KateTempest34 karma

amazing. i love him. i think he is brilliant, one of the best we have, and i'm always inspired by his wordplay and his mentality. he pushes lyricism to new places. i respect that. i hope we can work together again some day

Foundinchicago13 karma

Kate! I just directed your play “Hopelessly Devoted” in Chicago. Smashed it. When we performed the show at Cook County Jail to the good women I teach theater to there, your show transcended fiction. It was the most incredible experience, that you for that. Are you still exploring playwrighting?

KateTempest31 karma

THANK YOU for doing this! I have been so inspired to receive the messages via my agent Becky Thomas that you guys were performing this play in jails there. I couldn't have asked for a better life for the play. this really makes me feel so so close to the play and i'm so thankful that u found the play and are giving it life that way. i am still exploring playwrighting, i have a play i'm working on now which i am hoping to finish in the next two months

jefferysaveme111 karma

Oh my god I love you and I love “Europe is Lost”. I heard it at a time where I really felt all was lost and it helped me put words to all my feelings. It really is an urgent and present song that deals with so much while being a singular and cohesive piece. How long did it take you to write it and was there a specific event that initially inspired you to start writing it?

KateTempest30 karma

i wrote the first verse in a big rush of pain and love while i was touring and i was walking down another european city street, feeling lost myself and far away from the essence of things, as i think can happen when u are a stranger in a new town, with time to kill, observing. when you're touring you move through so many places in such an intense way. the rest of it came together in the studio when Dan started making the beat, the rest of the lyric wrote itself. i think there was a longer version that we cut down. usually i write far more than i need to then strip it back and hope that each line is as strong as it needs to be. when i heard the beat, i knew what the song had to be. it was a feeling i had. thank you for connecting with it

tilberto10 karma

I saw you in the crowd at Apex Twin Primavera in 2017. I didn’t come up to you and say hi because, y’know, you’re just another human trying to have a nice time with your friends. Seemed inappropriate.

I guess my question is how do you deal with the negative aspects of fame?

KateTempest28 karma

i feel extremely lucky to be able to put my work out and people can hear it. whenever i get frustrated with any element of this job, i think about the path that got me here, and i say to myself, this is what i dreamed of as a kid, and i'm here. its happening. and that puts me right. i remember to extremely thankful

lockload8 karma

The new ablum seems to be focusing on you or at least spoken in first person, where the other albums you seemed to be telling the story of others.

Was this intentional?

How did it effect how you wrote?

KateTempest35 karma

yes this was intentional. rick rubin, who acted as a guide in this whole process, by which i mean, he listened to our demos and encouraged us to pursue certain elements and to leave behind others, he was always more energised by the poems that were 'i have seen' or 'i have felt' than the poems that were in the third person, describing a life, a town, or telling a story that way. he couldn't tell me, stop writing in the third person, it was a discovery i made that he was hoping i'd make, but its strange with this process, it just had to happen that way. I made Let Them Eat Chaos, played the demos to rick but he wasn't into them, they weren't what he was hoping i'd discover, so i put that album out anyway, to satisfy the desire in me to tell that particular story, and i kept working on this album on the side.

Felurian18 karma

When you wrote Brand New Ancients, was there a sequence or characters that particularly broke your heart? For me it's Spider and Clive, for my friend its Gloria, my other friend its the opening with Kevin and Jane and knowing how to settle for less. Also, any tips for hiding you're crying on the tube?

KateTempest15 karma

i loved them all. i really did love them all. even brian, who i suppose is the hardest to love. i went on such a big journey with them as a writer, and then again as the performer, telling that story each night. they really do live for me. i am glad to hear they connected with and your friends. Gloria is special for me i suppose. i don't know about how to hide crying on the tube! its a tough one that... !

ToKillAStormer4 karma

What was your favourite song to write and record?

KateTempest23 karma

i loved them all, because we learned it as one piece and recorded it one take. as one piece. we recorded 3 takes a day for 3 days and chose our favourite moments from each pass. it makes me think of all of the songs as belonging to each other. i love fire smoke because it makes people feel good when they hear it

xipeluife4 karma

Hi Kate! Super fan of yours, just listened to the new album, it's just perfect. It's always so great to hear such a truthful delivery. Would you mind sharing with us your favorite authors? Music, poetry, painting, whatever you feel like. Love, from Mexico.

KateTempest22 karma

hi! my favourite authors change all the time

right now i'm reading:

The Age of Anger by Pankaj Mishra/ American Pastoral by Philip Roth / The Conference of the birds by Attar in a new translation by Sholeh Wolpe /

i'm listening to

Emahoy Tsegue Maryam Gebrow - Solo Piano/ Serpent with Feet - soil/ Dabbla - Death moves/

hope thats helpful !

enjoy !

flapjacks6662 karma

I'm struck by the minimal approach to music in your works... do you write the lyrics first and then figure out the music, or does it ever start with a beat?

KateTempest19 karma

it changes all the time. it depends very much on the project. i can say that every single album i've made i've made with dan carey (who writes the music) and we have been together coming up with the lyrics and the music at the same time. sometimes we go through five or six different drafts of a song, editing it down or changing the music or the lyric, but there is something important about the initial charge of an idea being something that happens when we are together

majistrate1 karma

Hey Kate, big admirer of your music and prose.

How do you channel creativity?

KateTempest22 karma

i think its better to think of creativity channelling me, its like its happening out there somewhere above my head, and every now and then, for some reason, i don't know what, it makes its way into my head or into my hands or my songs or something. i love to write. i love to listen to music. i love to read. i love to be on stage telling my lyrics. creativity is something so precious and powerful for me. but even though i am using my creativity all the time, i still don't know exactly why or how it works. its a mysterious process. thats what makes it so beautiful and frustrating. i hope thats helpful!

LuisaPaulatto0 karma

Who is the « she » that guides you in holy elixir? Life? An older yourself? Truth? Don’t know yet? Existence outside yourself?

KateTempest19 karma

could be all of those things, could be none. now thats its written and out there in the world, it belongs to you and whatever you take it to mean :)

[deleted]0 karma


KateTempest2 karma

hi! this is funny! don't know if this is the best place to talk about family. but ask jack and he'll tell u :)

alvy-singer-2 karma

Hi Kate, big fan of your work. I saw you for the first time in Rennes at the Transmusicales, then 4 more times until a couple of weeks ago at the Point Éphémère in Paris. A lot of people love you in France, even if sometimes we don’t fully understand your words. I guess your art also speaks to me on a physical level when it gets too challenging for me as english is not my native language.

I’m thirty-one years old and I sometimes have issues with artist that are from my generation and that are presented as a voice for my generation. Whether it be Xavier Dolan, Damien Chazelle ou Lena Dunham for example. I didn’t like their vision of the world, I didn’t like what they were trying to communicate to the world, and I felt disconnected politically, well I fet they were becoming disconnected. But with you, I feel that I finally found someone who can carry our voices, and you do it with such passion, strength and poetry. In People’s Faces you say a line that goes « All I’ve got to say has already been said. I mean you heard it from yourself when you were lying in bed and couldn’t sleep thinking ‘couldn’t we be doing this differently ?’ ». I guess this line stuck with me because it represents the relationship I have with your art : you carry a voice that exists deep down inside a lot of people, and I want to thank you for that.

Now for a question. It seems, in this last record, that the words are a little less connected from the music, almost sometimes voluntarily out-of-synch. Do you progressively feel liberated from musical conventions ? Do you feel that you are in a progressive process through your music, and that with each album you are moving a little closer to something that you are looking for, or instead is each album a new beginning ?

Thanks again !

KateTempest15 karma

thank you for listening to my work, i appreciate u taking the time to write such a big question! we intentionally tried to set the music and the lyric free from each other, we tried to break all our conventions so that we could discover something new about the process of making an album. i do feel that with each album i get closer to something i am looking for, but i never know what that thing is, and i also don't think it makes the last album any less close to what it was looking for. each album is a new beginning yes, but one that begins with all of the other works in its memory.

lockload-2 karma

Listening to your albums then hearing you live i think it takes the songs to a new level. Would you release a live recording version of the album in the future?

will definitely be at the manchester gig :-)

KateTempest7 karma

maybe. i don't see why not. thanks for the idea! i suppose the thing to say is that live is one thing, its very different experience to sitting with an album. what carries and communicates in a room or field full of people may not translate well to a more intimate discovery of the record. i was thinking of that when writing this album. the connection being something much quieter and more intimate than it gets at gigs.

sebncg-3 karma

Hi Kate,

I only discovered you a few months ago - myself and a pal picked up Brand New Ancients in Broadway Market bookshop and started to read it to each other in the pub next door. We were shortly surrounded by such a diverse group of humans (bar staff, a retired science teacher, an Italian artist who had just moved to London etc.) who wanted to get involved and discuss and just feel it together. It was the most incredible experience and started a whole journey of discovering your work - and it still baffles me how you manage to be relevant to so many people. Is this is something you aim for or alter your words for? Do the links you make to old folk stories or myths deliberately serve to connect to people on a human level that's accessible to all?

Thanks. For everything.

KateTempest11 karma

Hi. this sounds like the perfect way to discover that particular story. thank you for picking it up and reading it in the pub. that particular poem has a huge life. it really gets around! i'm so glad u found it. i don't intentionally aim for anyone really, i am aiming for connection in general. it surprises me to that so many very different people seem to connect in very different ways to my work, but in other ways it doesn't surprise me, because my whole ethos is about trying to make work about what is deeply felt and universally true. that is what moves me. i love to read folkloric stories and mythic stories because of this reason, they remind me of my inner struggles, even if the actual world they depict is very different from the world i know. a song about a fisherman at sea from centuries ago speaks to me of loneliness and the pain of leaving a lover. an old mythic story from thousands of years ago about a wounded soldier speaks to me about the problems of becoming a victim after suffering a tragedy. and the importance of maintaining agency, even in a situation that is extremely tough. don't know if thats helpful of not. thanks again

sophgriff-3 karma

Go read my review of The Book of Traps and Lessons: https://divamag.co.uk/2019/06/17/kate-tempest-bares-her-soul-for-her-brand-new-album/

I’m a huge fan and this album is already so special to me. People’s Faces is truly beautiful. I can’t wait to see the show in Catford tomorrow!

This feels like the beginning of a new era for you, there’s obviously links between this album and Running Upon the Wires but TBOTAL seems to have shifted in a new direction, keeping the intimate tone. Would you say Running Upon the Wires was the bridge into this new era and sound?

KateTempest4 karma

maybe its a bridge. to be honest, all of the works overlap, i was writing them all at the same time. This album, touring Let Them Eat Chaos, writing Wires. it all happens at the same time. Definitely i feel this is a new phase for me. I think of this album, Wires, and a new play i;ve nearly finished called Paradise, a new version of Sophocles Philoctetes, as a new batch. I feel very happy to be here in this new space, but i couldn't have got to this point without all the other work that came before.

Sl0seph-5 karma

Hi Kate, I'm a massive fan, I've been following your work from the early spoken word days and I'm happy to say the new album is my favourite so far.

I've seen you ever single Glastonbury I've attended and this year will be no exception but I might have to leave early to see Wu Tang

My questions are 1. If you were me would you leave early to see Wu Tang or stick around for the end of your set? 2. Are you doing any secret sets this year? 3. Do you get to stick around and enjoy the festival?

KateTempest10 karma

hi! ok, so 1: if i'm completely honest then i would say that if i was you i would watch the whole set! but thats because i've seen WuTang about twenty times, and the experiences i've had seeing them have been as close to Holy as it gets, and also i have seen them and felt disconnected from he experience, i really have been through the whole spectrum of emotions when it comes to watching Wu. I've also seen them at Glastonbury before on that stage. And it was amazing, but i think i personally would get more of a kick out of sticking at one show and committing to it. also because i hate leaving one set and walking across site to get to another. i prefer to just be wherever i'm at and not try and mission too much. thats just my take though. i won't be angry if u leave to watch wu tang! i'll be honoured to have been opening for them in your experience! (also the end of our set is the best part) 2: i am doing a secret set, or not so secret, a small set, a kind of brutal techno rap set with dan carey in his savage Gary guise at the crows nest at 12:30 sat night. it won't be beautiful or transcendent. it will be messy and hardcore. we're just going to fuck around and see what happens. it might be really shit. 3: YES. this is the one festival i get to stick around and enjoy. its a special one for me. a moment to take stock and see friends and enjoy music. i'm excited for the weekend

shadesofblue29-6 karma

Hi Kate,

First of all, thanks for taking the time out to connect to fans like this, I'm sure it means a lot to everyone reading/writing on here.

My first question isn't particularly profound but as a fan of yours for many years, there's a distinct change in your delivery from the Sound of Rum days, and I'm curious how/why this developed?

Secondly, do you have any advice to any writers out there? Either creative writers or, like myself academic writers who often struggle with getting words on the page.

Thanks, and all the best. You're a true inspiration

KateTempest10 karma


Sound of Rum days I had nodules, which are like blisters on my vocal cords that affected the way i was able to make sound. from years and years of rapping without a microphone at parties and rapping all night without taking any care of my voice, and drinking and smoking all the time. eventually it became an issue for me and i was in pain when speaking and i lost some of my register when speaking or singing. certain tones i just couldn't make. i had an operation and had these nodules removed, and after that i was able to learn to make these sounds again. maybe that is what u can hear? also, the instrumentation is very different. Archie Marsh (who still tours with me as my ableton tech and monitor engineer!) has a very specific sound and played all of the guitars and even played the bass parts in sound of rum. it gave the record its particular musical sound.

advice wise, its hard to give advice without sounding trite. maybe something thats useful to say is that if you have a writing life that is academic it must be hard to break that patterns and break the conventions to write in a freer or less rigorous way. all i can say is that it might be useful to think of these kinds of writings (acadmeic and creative) as being entirely different. like playing two very different instruments. and in that sense, you have to go back to the basics. a knowledge of flute may help you play the guitar, in terms of your ear knowing about melody etc, but the practicality of how to make sound is a whole new discipline. is that useful? i don't know.

j_woods92-6 karma

Hi Kate, your work is incredible & I can’t wait to listen to your new album.

I actually directed a production of your play Wasted at the Orange Tree Theatre 2 years ago and it was as such a pleasure working with your text. I saw your collaboration at the National Theatre coming up and am excited to see that. I was wondering how you find writing your plays, knowing the words will be spoken by other people? Versus writing lyrics/poetry that you’ll be performing and have ownership of. Cheers! Jamie

KateTempest7 karma

hi jamie, its a different process, i think when i was writing Wasted, i had no clear understanding of that, i as discovering the process. but having got a couple under my belt, and felt all the agony and elation of working with dialogue, i really love the idea of writing for the theatre, writing language for other voices, other characters, trying to tell a story through what people don't say. thats one of the hardest things, as a poet, as a novelist, you have this licence to use higher register language, to get to the core of things, with dialogue that kind of language is much harder to justify.

mi470-6 karma

hi, Kate! congratulations on the new album. i find myself more captivated with every listen. truly amazing stuff that you, Dan, and Rick came up with here.

a couple questions: 1. since both of you have worked with Rick, and performed at Dismaland a few years ago, would you ever consider collaborating with Run The Jewels? 2. when working on anything, be it music, poetry, plays, a novel, any sort of performance piece like Brand New Ancients, how do you determine what artistic medium works best for your content? do you select the medium first and then cater the content to its structure, or does its form start to take shape/become more clear with the passage of time? 3. what advice would you give to someone who wants to put their ideas down into some form of art, but has trouble trying to find the exact words to say, or to put it another way, can't properly convey their own voice? how does one sort through all their thoughts and words so the end product doesn't feel like word vomit?

KateTempest7 karma

hi, thanks for your questions. i'll go through them one at a time:

1 - yes without a doubt i would love that. Killer mike in my top 5 rappers alive, and el-p has been a huge inspiration to me since i was a teenager. i love his production. have done for a long time. but having said that, i think just because i absolutely love what they do, it doesn't mean i feel i deserve a place on their records or that i could contribute to their sound in a meaningful way. collaborations have to happen naturally. in my opinion anyway, if it ever came about that we could write together, i would probably cry because i'd be so happy. but that doesn't mean that it should happen. creativity is a precious thing, u have to follow it, not direct it to much. which leads me onto

2 for the most part, i listen to the idea. it usually knows what it wants to be, and the less i try and force it into what i want it to be, the better for the idea. that might sound a little esoteric but thats kind of how it is. Other things also influence how i determine what to work on - like deadlines for example. as well as being raw inspiration, there is also practicality at work. sometimes i need to write a play because thats what i've been commissioned to write, and so thats what the idea is. because thats what it has to be!

3 - this is a hard question. what i could say is that, there is nothing wrong with word vomit. as long as thats private writing for you that helps you learn about your writing. someone told me once there's no such thing as writers block, only the fear of writing badly. maybe that applies here to, how can u discover your voice, if u restrict it? Writing is a craft as well a passionate outlet, it is also a skill you have to work at, hone, learn. like any other craft. i would say if you want to write, then write all the time, write until you're more comfortable with the pen that without it, write until you start to understand what it feels like for you to enjoy your writing. this is how to improve your compass, the thing that tells you where to head and what to follow. i don't know if thats helpful but i hope something connects in all of that

TomPRJCTX-7 karma

Hi Kate,

Firstly thanks for TBOTAL, it is honestly flawless and it has really inspired me to finish my second anthology!

What percentage of the stuff you write do you think never sees the light of day and do you ever feel hesitant when publishing new material?

KateTempest9 karma

i would say that at least 50 percent of the stuff i write will never see the light of day. probably more like 70 percent. whether its because its private writing, just for me, or writing i do that helps me to understand what it is that i'm trying to write, but don't need as the editing process gets underway. i wrote forty thousand words that were useless and binned them just a few months ago. i don't feel hesitant when publishing new material. because by that point i've been working on it for so long and have made so many decisions about why to include and what i hope that it's doing. i do feel apprehensive, scared, excited, full of all the feelings you can imagine when embarking on a new chapter, but usually i'm committed to the work and i believe in it, even if i'm nervous about where it will take me. hope thats helpful, go well with your second anthology

baynewayley-8 karma

Hey Kate - huge fan of your music, poetry and writing! I'll never forget the first time I saw you perform, back in the Sound of Rum days!

The new album is absolutely stunning.

My question is, what was it like working with Rick Rubin, and what impact did he have on the sound of the record?

KateTempest9 karma

hey. thank you for your question. it was amazing working with Rick! It has been like a beautiful, bizarre dream. the whole process of having him listen to our demos and respond to them was just absolutely surreal. the way we worked is that we (dan carey and i) write a load of material, and then whenever we got the chance to meet up with Rick, we played him what we had been working on, and he was either into it, or not that moved by it, and we would talk about the demos and he would give us some things to think about and then we would go away and keep writing. try and get closer to this thing that he was hoping we would discover. this thing that he couldn't tell us what it was, he could only tell us what it wasn't. crazy! i loved it, and feel extremely lucky to have come to his attention and to have had his ears on my lyrics