DIY Till We Die: Tempesst

Image Credit: Tempesst

We caught up with Psychedelic outfit Tempesst to discuss their DIY approach to their debut album, life as an independent artist and much more

Tempesst is a project founded by twin brothers Toma and Andy Banjanin, starting in their coastal hometown of Noosa, Australia. Since it’s beginning they have travelled the world, integrating in DIY scenes in New York City and (where they are located now) Hackney, London. It was from their new London home where they released their debut album ‘Must Be A Dream’, a totally DIY project, from artwork through to recording. In fact they recorded the album in their very own Pony Studios in Hackney. 

With this in mind we chatted to Andy to find out more about their DIY approach and processes, why they started their own label and much more! 


What was the thought process behind operating as a DIY band?

For the most part, creating things is DIY – You write songs and take photos because you are interested in spending your time that way so I don’t think there was much of a thought process behind it. More that it just blooms in a certain direction the more energy you put in.

What have been the advantages and disadvantages of acting independently?

We like having the freedom to create and release music whenever we like, so being independent really works for us. The disadvantages are that you need to build a whole world around your art  which isn’t easy (especially if you are solo) but there are five of us so we work together. I think most artists would choose to be independent if it was a feasible and effective option.

“I think most new or alternative artists will need to develop themselves independently or with the help of an independent label”

Andy Banjanin, Tempesst

Was it something you planned to do from the get go or was it something that naturally happened?

We didn’t consciously set out to be independent but have always been really involved in every single aspect of Tempesst. As time passed, it presented itself as the most logical path for us and I think it is a trend that will continue to grow.

How has starting your own label and studio affected you as artists?

Well it removes any barriers to releasing your music which is the most important thing. It also gives you the time and environment to create freely which isn’t necessarily available in London so that is cool.

Listen/watch ‘Mushroom Cloud’ here:

Why was it you decided to start your own label and studio?

A friend gave us a PA system so we were actually just looking for a rehearsal space so we could use it LOL. One thing led to another and we found ourselves converting a warehouse in Hackney into a studio so that’s how that happened. For the label, I had always been interested in starting a label aside from Tempesst and Blake had a distribution deal lined up so it made sense to join forces.

You’re pretty well traveled as artists and have been integrated in many scenes across the globe, is the increase of DIY scenes worldwide or unique to the UK?

The US and Europe have incredible DIY scenes.

Do you feel it is possible to remain DIY but be signed to a major label?

With the changes to the music industry in the last while, it seems as though major labels are more suited to either mainstream or established artists. There needs to be enough fuel to power the machine so to speak. I think most new or alternative artists will need to develop themselves independently or with the help of an independent label and from that position it would be most likely to remain DIY whilst signed to a major.

How do you feel Brexit will affect DIY scenes in the UK? 

Naturally it is a major bummer for touring around Europe with more hoops to jump through but that might help develop things here in the UK.

Lastly, what advice would you give someone looking to start as a DIY artist or looking to get involved in a DIY scene?

Start with what you have and don’t stop!

Kieran Webber
Music journalist and photojournalist based in Cornwall.

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