With our new music feature Origins, we give artists the chance to bring listeners closer to the inspirations behind their latest song. Today, The Temper Trap’s Jonny Aherne shares the latest from his Shacks & Palaces side project, “Alone Together”.
The Temper Trap have a history of taking things slow with their releases, but the four-year gap since their last album, Thick as Thieves, has been a particularly long one. Fans still holding their breath for new music from the Australian outfit can let out at least a little of that CO2, as the band’s bassist, Jonny Aherne, has launched a new side project. Our first taste of what Aherne has dubbed Shacks & Palaces came back in March with “Once upon a Hilltop”, and we get a second helping today with “Alone Together”.
On the new track, Shacks & Palaces sounds like if MGMT were actually made up of Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock and The New Pornographers’ A. C. Newman. Aherne utilizes a slightly off-kilter cadence on the verses, reaching high for a hook of pure indie pop bliss as the synths finally take over for the chorus. “You and I don’t have to be alone together/ Take me, take me out!/ On a sun kissed island we’ll get lost together,” he sings.
“Alone Together” comes with a well-framed video (that’s a pun — you’ll see) filmed during the pandemic lockdown at Brooklyn’s Green Lung studio with the help of Amanda and Steve Carmona. Watch the clip below, and learn more about its making in Aherne’s Origins of the song ahead.
Keep your ear out for what’s next from Shacks & Palaces, as more is expected from Liberation Records later this year.
The lyrics were both liberating for me to write, and choking. It’s about the distance we find in the company of even our loved ones. I had to silence my shadow self and inhibitions, and own my story. There’s nothing new about the narrative in this song, you’ve heard it a million times, but not from me.
I wrote this song before COVID-19 hit, but now the title, “Alone Together”, belongs to everyone. This strange time of quarantine has so many layers for each of us.
I had a chat with a friend while writing this track to get some perspective. I was hesitant about disclosing unflattering feelings about my relationship. The truth in that moment was that I felt like me and my loved one were often alone together and we didn’t need to be. My friend said, “Just write as it is, don’t hold back, you can always look back at yourself in this moment of writing and correct your inner self later. But for now just let it come out as it is.” Truly, the normal journey in love is both chaotic and tremendous? Honesty about that feels important.
So from that, I put everything under the microscope and allowed myself to feel and write what I wanted. Everyone can remember the moments of hearing an intense private conversation that wasn’t made for them, or discovering someone listening to their own — that gut reaction to intrusion. “Alone Together” is my private conversation but instead of keeping it so, I invite you into this strange exception of music to hear all of it.
We made the video during lockdown in Brooklyn with local legends and creatives, Amanda Carmona and Steve Carmona at their studio, Green Lung. We were all needing to do something creative. There were a ton of moving pieces and a lot of thought required to navigate them, but Amanda and Steve managed to make it work with just the three of us in the room. I love what they made.