Nov. 3 2010 10:35 AM

Here We Go Magic grew from a solo project to full band for Pigeons

When Luke Temple recorded 10 songs under the moniker Here We Go Magic back in 2009, it was the first time he’d recorded music entirely by himself. He’d been playing under his own name at shows around town in Brooklyn, N.Y., but he was tired of being pegged as a singer-songwriter, so he came up with the elusive name.

“He kind of took it in this really intricate and dreamy direction and just called that little project Here We Go Magic, but it didn’t have a band associated with it,” says Michael Bloch, now the band’s guitarist.

“It’s ironic that the record that kind of ended up launching a band was the first record that he produced by himself,” Bloch notes.

The self-titled debut was released by western Vinyl, a label based in Austin, Texas, and it received plenty of praise for its unique sound: lush, layered and folky, which Temple achieved by recording straight to a cassette 4-track.

After the record came out, Temple decided he wanted to start a band. He knew Bloch from their college days in Boston. Peter Hale, now the band’s drummer, had been playing music with Temple during their downtime. Keyboardist Kristina Lieberson and bassist Jennifer turner were both musicians living in Brooklyn whom they all knew from the music scene. With the five members now making a full-fledged band, it was time for Here We Go Magic to record a new album.

“Really, from the moment that the five of us finally kind of found each other, there’s been no doubt that this is the band,” Bloch says. “And it immediately took on a life of its own.”

Their first effort as a full band, Pigeons, which came out in June, is a varied record full of fast-paced riffs, layered vocals, electronic noises, ambient sounds and the steady lull of Temple’s croon. It’s not completely unlike Temple’s debut, but it does have its distinct differences, which show off the talents of the band nicely.

They continued recording on a 4-track. “We wanted it to sound alive and breathing, and we wanted it to sound like tape, because we like how tape sounds,” Bloch says.

But they tried not to let the sound of the first record influence the second; they didn’t want that kind of pressure.

Instead, they just let new sounds happen—and if it went in a different direction from the debut, then that was just fine.

“We didn’t really think a lot about the first record,” Bloch says. “We didn’t try to do anything one way or another; we didn’t try to sound different from that or the same as that or anything.”

They also decided to get away from the Brooklyn music scene—with so much going on around them musically, Bloch says, they found it difficult to focus.

“There are so many ears and eyeballs around here that you kind of can’t hear yourself talk,” Bloch says.

The group re-located to upstate New York for a while, where they rented an old barn house and built a makeshift studio. Newly assembled and still sort of strangers in many ways, they made sure to give themselves plenty of time to be free to explore the dynamic of the group.

“We just sensed that there’s something special about the way we interact musically, and so we wanted to try and catch that,” Bloch says.

In the studio and on stage, one of the most important ideas that the group has stuck behind is jamming—completely spontaneous musical interaction with no beginning or end.

“We especially like to leave a lot of room to jam onstage,” Bloch says. “If it’s the middle of a song and then someone has an idea all of a sudden to take it to a different place, then we know each other well enough to do that.”

Now that they’ve completed their first record as a group, the band is touring and hopes to begin a second record soon. As for their future, Here We Go Magic seems solid.

“We all have a really strong sense of this band,” Bloch says.

“We know that it’s not for nothing that we’re doing this.”

Here We Go Magic play with Dr. Dog and Good Old War at Belly Up tavern on Saturday, Nov. 6.