Temper Trap on The Stones: “They were like chilled-out grandpas”

The Temper Trap achieved a teenage dream on Saturday, opening for The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park. Frontman Dougy Mandagi talks exclusively to FL about their future plans and that “surreal” show. Photo by Dave Hogan.

Despite his choir-boy voice and ear for a good pop melody, The Temper Trap ’s Dougy Mandagi is a Stones man through and through. His favourite records are Some Girls and Sticky Fingers, which he discovered through a friend in high school. “They’re not seminal by critics’ standards, but they were the first I ever listened to and I played them to death,” he tells FL down the phone from London, where the Melbourne band relocated to in 2009. “You’re either a Beatles guy, or a Stones guy, and I’m definitely a Stones guy. There’s something raw and sensual about them, and they were very dangerous.”

Dougy and his bandmates got to live out their teenage rock’n’roll fantasies over the weekend – except this time it wasn’t in front of a mirror with a tennis racket. They were one of three acts supporting the Stones at their “50 & Counting” tour curtain-closer at London’s Hyde Park on Saturday (July 6). The Vaccines and Gary Clark Jr were also on the bill.

“It was a proud moment for all,” reflects Dougy, a couple days after the show. “It’s also a good thing to play in front of people that have possibly never heard us before. Obviously we want to expand our fanbase so it’s good in that respect … To share a stage with them was a dream come true. It was win-win for everyone.”

“We had to win their respect”

The band played a brief nine-song set, featuring ‘Fader’, ‘Trembling Hands’, ‘Science Of Fear’ and, of course, ‘Sweet Disposition. Aside from a few technical issues, Dougy was pleased with the performance – even though he admits to some rare nerves before the show. “Like I said before, I was aware that the crowd was a Stones crowd. A lot of them wouldn’t have heard of us, so I felt like there was a task to be done. We had to prove our worth and entertain these people, to not be elevator music and try and engage with them. That’s what made me nervous … We had to win their respect.”

The Temper Trap got a chance to meet The Stones backstage after the show. Dougy describes the moment as surreal, likening them to “chilled-out grandpas, hanging out with the grandkids”. “It was just a bit of small talk,” he recalls. “I told Keith Richards he was my hero and he said [impersonating Keith] ‘It’s all about the music, innit mate?’ He just sounded like a pirate. Mick Jagger was ever the frontman. Very charismatic, very vocal, very out-there. Charlie Watts was really quiet. I complimented him on his shoes and I could’ve sworn his cheeks went bright red. He was all embarrassed and shy.”

Returning to Hyde Park for the first time since 1969, The Stones wound back the clock, treating the 65,000-strong crowd to cuts from across their back-catalogue including ‘Start Me Up’, ‘Tumbling Dice’, ‘Sympathy For The Devil’, ‘Gimme Shelter’ and new single ‘Doom And Gloom’. The band made their Glastonbury debut just a week before.

“They just blew me away,” Dougy says. “It was totally loose, but that’s The Stones. It’s rock’n’roll. It’s not meant to be tight. They were just having fun and Mick Jagger was just jumping up and down for two hours straight. He’s pushing 80 and that’s a miracle in itself. It blew our expectations out of the water.”

The new record and future plans

The Temper Trap’s Hyde Park performance is their last show for the foreseeable future. Dougy says the band are going to spend the rest of 2013 focussing on their third album, the follow-up to last year’s The Temper Trap. “We’re gonna knuckle down and write for the next one,” he says. “We’ve already been writing, and we’re going to do some more, allocate time to really focus on that.”

He says the band have written about six to eight songs, and are also shopping around for producers. They’ve already done some pre-production with Channel Orange producer Malay, Ben Allen (Youth Lagoon, Delphic, Animal Collective) and Mike Dean, who co-produced Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. “We’ve already started working with a few different producers, trying out different ones here and there.”

Dougy says he’ll be back home in Melbourne for Christmas, but not for shows. “We’re pretty far away these days, and no matter how many times you do that flight, you never get used to it.”

Temper Trap setlist:

Love Lost


This Isn’t Happiness

Rabbit Hole

Trembling Hands

Soldier On

Science Of Fear


Sweet Disposition

Rolling Stones setlist:

Start Me up

It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)

Tumbling Dice

All Down The Line

Beast Of Burden

Doom And Gloom


Paint It Black

Honky Tonk Women

You Got The Silver

Before They Make Me Run

Miss You

Midnight Rambler

Gimme Shelter

Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Sympathy For The Devil

Brown Sugar

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction