Temporex: Self-Recorded on an iPhone
by Brice James
I met up with the 17 year old artist Joseph Flores (aka Temporex) in my hometown of Santa Clarita, where he’s attending Cal Arts. Presently, though, he’s moved back home to San Diego to focus on his music. In November of 2016 he released his debut album, ‘Care,’ which was fully self-recorded on Apple iPhone headphones beneath a blanket in his room. Over the past year the album has attracted a huge following Joseph hadn’t expected.
We headed over to the Country Antique Fair Mall. King Krule’s new album, ‘The Ooz’ is playing on repeat as we drive around the city of Santa Clarita, where Joseph tells me all about King Krule’s side projects. He tells me about how he once had a panic attack while watching Prince perform when he was younger. “I think I got to hear Purple Rain, though, which was pretty cool,”says Joseph. Once we arrive at the Antique shop I asked him a few questions.
So you started doing music two years ago in 2015?
Yeah, did you read that in another interview?
Yah, I had to do my research!
That’s good, that’s what a good interviewer would do.
You had an album previous to ‘Care’ called ‘A//2,’. Does that sound anything close to what ‘Care’ sounds like?
It’s way darker and more gritty. I was using a program called LMMS – it’s this free, shitty program, and I was using all of the stock sounds. They were all instrumental, too.
Are you ever going to release that?
I might put one song out, maybe, but not under the name Temporex. I was called ‘Bike Factory’ when I released that. That’s 14 year old me… I was really just ripping off Boards of Canada.
How important is location when making your music? You’ve said that ‘Care‘ was entirely recorded in your room on Apple headphones. Is that true?
Yeah, all of it was recorded on iPhone headphones. If you mix and master it properly, it sounds almost professional.
That’s crazy. With your recording process, what’s that been like since you’ve been in this different setting? Has your music making had a different feeling?
I think if you’re not comfortable where you are, like my current situation, you either aren’t making anything, or what you are making is at your comfort level. In this new song I’m working on I’m almost whispering, and I can hear that, but it’s because I don’t want to talk too loud or that lady I stay with will hear me (laughs).
Funny thing was that when I recorded ‘Care,’ it was all under the blanket in my room because I didn’t want my mom to hear me making weird noises. Sometimes she would walk in and be like, ‘what are you doing?’
“Mom, I’m in the studio,” (laughs). How long did it take you to make Care?
If I remember correctly, I think 6 months. If I’d known what I was getting myself into, it would have gone a lot faster. I started off and was thinking, ‘I might just keep these tracks for a little and see what happens.’ But then I had a vision of releasing an album and kind of went from there.
That’s cool – how it developed into an album without any intention.
Yeah. I was looking back at a bunch of old photos and I found concept art for it, even before I finished all the tracks. I wanted to call it ‘Because I Want To’ at first, but it doesn’t sound as good obviously.
Changes all the time. That Greens Twins album, the new Ariel Pink album, Puma Blue’s newest album, Rex Orange County’s albums is really good too.
What have you been listening to lately?
Mostly that new King Krule album.
Yeah that’s been on repeat for me, it’s so good.
As we continue to stroll around a shop playing ‘Ain’t No Women’ by the Four Tops, Joseph enters one room with a tub of records and pulls out one we’re both unfamiliar with. The cover art attracts Joseph…
Have you seen Keith Rankin’s work? Or heard of Nick Hakim?
No, I don’t think I have.
That’s another guy I’ve been listening to; Nick Hakim. His new album, ‘Green Twins’, is really good. Keith Rankin did the cover art for that album. It kind of reminds me of this cover art.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
If I wasn’t doing music I’d probably be going full force into graphic design. Even before I had music going for me I would hear someone else’s music and be like, “I really want want to do cover art for them.” There’s this one band in Australia, they go by ‘The Vacations”, and they asked if I wanted to do a cover for them but I ended up not doing it.
What’s the difference between how you make music now, and how you made ‘Care,’? Is there things you do differently knowing that there’s an audience this time listening to what you say.
Even before the people are factored in, something that hinders me now is the fact that I know what I’m doing. Before, it was just me messing around and trying to figure out programs and things, but now that I know all that there’s nothing to learn other than chords, which is what I’m trying to focus on now. But with the whole audience thing, if I didn’t have to care about how many people listen to my music I feel like I would release a lot more. Now there’s a whole factor of, are people going to like this? Are people going to hate me after releasing this?
Yeah, I feel that. Once people pay attention to what you’re doing it changes the way you do it in some way. I feel like your song ‘Numbers‘ describes that feeling of having an audience really well.
Yeah, at that time I was like ‘oh my god, what do I write about,’ and then I was like oh…
Just write a song about what to write about (laughs). How did your collaboration with Shane (Banes World) happen? I’m curious as to how he had heard your music, because I think you only had the singles out.
Yeah, I had even less than the singles. It started off when I came across Shane’s music while looking at Michael Seyer’s likes, and I just thought that everything was so good and started commenting on his stuff. I guess he heard some of my music, and he mentioned that we should collaborate. I sent him a few things I don’t think he liked, so then I sent him Dreamboat and he sent me back what he did with it and I was like, holy shit this is so amazing. Back then my music was so different. I really wanted to make music you would hear at a prom.
When you make a song, do you usually finish it in one sitting or do you come back to it later?
It’s different every time, like with this recent song I’m working on I keep coming back to it because I feel like if I try to pump it out all in one sitting I’ll end up hating it later. It’s always good to have a fresh set of eyes and ears when making things, just lets you see all the mistakes and things you need to fix.
Do you have any music videos?
Not yet. When I make a video I need to know that it’s gonna be good. Music videos can ruin a song. I’ve been working on a video for Nice Boys, though. It’s on the back burner right now, because releasing stuff like that is almost a gamble. It could either stimulate a listeners favoritism towards the song or could ruin the song completely for them. Because it’s going to be what you’re thinking about anytime you hear the song.
Is there a title for the new album?
I don’t even have a track that I know is going to be on the new album.
What should people expect from Temporex in the future?
I don’t even know what to expect for myself, but I guess that’s a good thing. I’ll tell you what not to expect: don’t expect a Care II. If anything sounds like what I’ve already made I’ll throw it out. If I’m not progressing there’s no point of releasing another album.