We Are Temporary, the wired and weird brainchild of Brooklyn’s Mark Roberts, is as much the result of a musical obsession as a philosophical one. With boldly confessional lyrics and vocal deliveries funneled through nightfall beats and orchestral synths, We Are Temporary mines through the dark matter of personal experience: a near-death incident and debilitating anxiety attacks; a near divorce; a privileged, but tumultuous childhood in Europe’s opera houses; his humanistic atheism versus his wife’s devout Mormonism.
Drawing from a wide range of influences in contemporary electronic music, future beats, dream pop, witch house, post-rock, industrial, techno, and classical music, Roberts’ music has been described as “a spacey mix of dark-wave and electronic goth” (The Village Voice) that is “throbbing with sultry passion, offering up a host of inventive blasts of dense instrumentation, before suddenly feeling as light as a breeze”(Gold Flake Paint). Occasionally misunderstood as melodramatic and exaggerated, it is, in fact, a music obsessed with plain honesty and lived experience.
Raised in Germany‘s idyllic Rhein River valley by an American opera singer, Roberts spent his childhood playing hide-and-seek in the halls of Europe’s grandest opera houses, building dams in the nearby creak, and borrowing Skinny Puppy tapes from his babysitter. His mother’s passionate devotion to music inspired him to pick up the classical guitar at a young age, and he soon also began to experiment with early digital synths, MS DOS, and hissy multi-track tape recorders. He later studied music composition and philosophy at Northwestern University in Chicago (where he also played in a band with Groupon-founder, Andrew Mason), then evolutionary aesthetics at New Zealand’s University of Canterbury, and toured New Zealand and the United States with his former post-rock outfit The Enright House.
Since relocating to Brooklyn in 2009, We Are Temporary’s music has been featured inThe Village Voice, Complex, Yahoo!, Brooklyn Vegan, and Under The Radar, with his sound and production sensibilities having been compared to bands like Fever Ray, Crystal Castles, iamamiwhoami, M83, Austra, Jon Hopkins, Active Child, and Gesaffelstein. His live set debuted at Brooklyn’s iconic Glasslands venue in 2014, and he has since been privileged to play many of NYC’s landmark clubs and parties: Mercury Lounge, Cybertron & Stimulate, Nothing Changes, Berlin NYC, Bowery Electric, Cameo Gallery, Palisades, Trans-Pecos and many more.
Since We Are Temporary’s 2013 debut EP, Afterthoughts, Roberts has been busy releasing new singles (including a song in memory of Eric Garner, which premiered with a lengthy article in The Village Voice), collaborating with Stars & Letters label-mate Misfit Mod, covering Lana Del Rey’s “Gods & Monsters”, and sharing numerous remixes (including reworks of Kelela, Bart Skils, Maceo Plex, Ruane Maurice, Empathy Test, and more). His now-completed, debut full-length album Crossing Over releases via his Stars & Letters label on February 19, 2016.
We Are Temporary will be touring Germany in May ’16, where he will be performing at the world’s largest dark music festival, the Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig.