Q&A with Corina Bakker of The Tempers

The Tempers are a trio of performance artists, applying equal attention to their music—dark and twisted minimalist electro-pop—as to their wigged-out performances. Though the band is only three years old, siblings Corina Bakker (vocals), James Bakker (synths) and Chalia Bakker (drums) have been making music together in one form or another since they were kids. Which might be why they’ve succeeded in honing in on such an unconventional creative direction. At Heineken City Arts Fest, they represent Crybaby Studios, a dank underground warren of rehearsal spaces in the bowels of Capitol Hill. Saturday, Oct. 19, Rendezvous

How hard is it to be in a band with your brother and sister? Who calls the shots?
We all call the shots. We’re all boss. Everything is about compromise and taking shit to the next level. The only difficulty is being in a small room with two other bosses. We have a lot of stare-downs. Usually whoever has the biggest coat wins.

When did you guys first start playing music together?
My sister used to drum on me when I was a baby and I used to sing her to sleep. Then my brother showed up and started hanging around all the time. At first we were skeptical but when at the age of four he sang Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me” to my Grandma we were sold on the little guy.

What kind of music did you listen to growing up? What about now?
Marvin Pontiac. Marvin Pontiac. [Ed. note: Google it.]

How important is theatricality in putting on a good performance?
I think it’s very important. People come out to see a show and it’s our job to give them that.

Your vocal style kinda reminds me of Klaus Nomi. Is he an influence?
Oh, well jeeze. I appreciate the comparison. Klaus Nomi was art materialized into human—or possibly alien—form. I’m a huge fan, although I wouldn’t compare us vocally. I’m far less controlled. I tend to entertain an array of inner voices. In fact, they are my vocal influences. I have to actualize them, or let them actualize themselves, and I’d hate to see the aftermath of that. They’re not exactly the most angelic motherfuckers.

You’re part of the Crybaby Studios Showcase at Heineken City Arts Fest. How would you describe Crybaby to someone who’s never been there?
Layers of music dripping down the walls like nicotine.

Is it possible to be funny and serious at the same time?
Not sure if this is some kinda joke, but I take being funny serious.

Photo by Steve Korn.

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