LIKE many bands that score a monster hit - the type of song that defines a moment - The Temper Trap today endure a love-hate relationship with their 2008 classic Sweet Disposition.
The track’s mournful falsetto verses and soaring chorus, with its pulsating beat, has taken the Melbourne lads to global stardom.
In the process turning them into one of Australia’s biggest exports in major markets like the United Kingdom and Japan, selling more than a million records and supporting rock behemoths The Rolling Stones and Coldplay.
Temper Trap singer and guitarist Dougy Mandagi tells Weekender his love affair with Sweet Disposition and its tale of life’s undulations has long ceased. However, the power of the track on his audience remains intoxicating.
“Even when I do get tired of the song personally, I never get tired of people’s reactions to the song,” Mandagi says. “That’s what makes the whole thing special.
“The song for me has lost it’s spark, but as soon as you see people’s faces and they’re singing along and they have their girlfriends up on their shoulders, you know it means so much to them. That never gets old. As long as people are doing that when I’m up on stage at the ripe old age of 70.”
The sound of Sweet Disposition and the indie rockers’ many other songs will be echoing around Bimbadgen at Pokolbin on December 3 when The Temper Trap support US post-alternative legends Garbage at A Day On The Green.
It will be The Temper Trap’s first foray into the winery circuit and Mandagi couldn’t be happier about hitting the vineyards alongside Shirley Manson and her boys.
“I grew up with Garbage,” he says. “I’m 36 now, so I remember coming home from school watching MTV in the day when it was still playing music and watching Garbage videos. It’ll be very nostalgic.”
The A Day On The Green tour will also be Australian audiences’ first chance to hear tracks off The Temper Trap’s third album Thick As Thieves, released in June. The album was the first since their self-titled second record in 2012, which was considered a misstep by many fans.
During the drawn-out production process for Thick As Thieves, the band lost original guitarist and Mandagi’s chief songwriting collaborator Lorenzo Sillitto, due to his dissatisfaction with life as a touring musician.
The Temper Trap then decided to strip back to a four piece and opened the songwriting to outside collaborators, including US Grammy award-winning producer Malay (Frankie Ocean, John Legend), Pascal Gabriel (Ladyhawke), Ben Allen (Animal Collective), Justin Parker (Lana Del Rey) and Rich Cooper (Tom Odell).
“I was really up for it from the beginning,” Mandagi says of collaborating with outsiders. “It probably took more convincing for the other guys.”
The result is a more guitar-driven sound, closer to The Temper Trap’s blockbuster debut Conditions, that featured Sweet Disposition, Fader and Love Lost.
“That was intentional,” Mandagi says. “I missed being a guitar band and that’s how we started. It’s fun. I love guitar music.
“Obviously with Lorenzo leaving, it forced me to play a lot more guitar and fatten up the sound.”
Since 2010 The Temper Trap have been based overseas. Initially Mandagi lived in London, but he settled in Berlin last year due to rising costs in the UK capital. Mandagi remains open to an eventual return to Australia.
“Right now I live in Berlin and for another year at least, but after that I’d like to move and try somewhere new,” he says.
“One day I’ll probably get sick of it and come back home, but for the time being I’m happy with the nomadic life.”
The Temper Trap play at Bimbadgen’s A Day On The Green on December 3 alongside Garbage, The Preachers, Adalita and Triple J Unearthed winner Tash Sultana.