We Are Temporary

Stream the new We Are Temporary song “I Can’t Breathe” (In Memory of Eric Garner)

“Haunting… a spacey mix of dark-wave and electronic goth that’s heavy on atmospherics, with effects that sound as if they might just evaporate like paint thinner” — The Village Voice


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. Drawing from influences in goth, darkwave, EDM, ambient, and post-rock, his music oscillates between musical violence and frailty, lyrical defensiveness and vitriol, bursts of optimism and crushing nihilism.

Raised in Germany by an American opera singer, Roberts spent his childhood playing hide-and-seek in the halls of Europe’s grandest opera houses, and borrowing Skinny Puppy tapes from his babysitter. His mother’s love of music and strong sense of purpose 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 composition and philosophy at Northwestern University in Chicago, then evolutionary aesthetics at New Zealand’s University of Canterbury.

In New Zealand, Mark formed The Enright House, releasing a debut album in 2007 with A Low Hum. His We Are Temporary debut EP Afterthoughts was originally conceived as the soaring, ambient follow-up record that would build on The Enright House’s guitar-centric sound. However, in 2009, while touring the US and showcasing at SXSW, his personal life—and with it, his music—took a major turn: Roberts (a staunch atheist) reconnected with his college sweetheart (a devout Mormon), and together they soon moved to Brooklyn.

While the stability of his new life was welcome at first, his partner’s focus on family, religion, and abstinence soon became the source of philosophical disagreement, lingering resentment, and deep sexual frustration: “Your prudish chill, your abstinent drill / I’m sick of your beliefs” (Swords). Roberts soon began tearing his songs apart, replacing his lavish instrumentations with the synthetic severity of the Darkwave and Industrial bands he grew up with: Skinny Puppy, Deine Lakaien, Leæther Strip. Songs like “Afterthoughts” and “Swords” became brutal, punching anthems; lyrics became weaponized: “I need to be loved by someone else / More sexual than you / A Kindred heart’s just not good enough” (Swords).

Then, in early 2012, he had an experience which changed him forever. At a friend’s house in Bushwick, Roberts accidentally overdosed, and paramedics rushed him to a nearby ER. A heightened sense of mortality imparted not only a new sense of urgency to his life, but also a deep fragility to his music. “In a way, it re-humanized me,” says Roberts. Despite the trauma of that night, the experience not only gave Roberts the strength to let go of the songs he had agonized over for years, but also to piece together the shattered relationships he had left behind. “It’s conceited to think / Life could be as easy to mend / As it was easy to break / Terrible things happen to those who wait” (Starash).

His debut EP Afterthoughts released on July 9th 2013 via Brooklyn label Stars & Letters Records, and his debut full-length album Gemini is slated for release in Fall/Winter 2014. The first single from the new album “Machine Love”—a collaboration with label-mate Misfit Mod (aka Sarah Kelleher)—is set for release this May 2014. We Are Temporary’s live show debuts at Brooklyn’s iconic Glasslands venue on Monday, June 2nd, 2014.

Press Quotes

“Otherworldly and downright gritty”Under The Radar (US)

“Haunting, mesmerizing, magical… the result is simply overwhelming.” — Against the Odds

“Lyrics like old love notes… smeared like tears on running eye-liner”Impose Magazine

“One of the most real artists you will ever have the pleasure to experience” Floorshime Blog

“Stunning… 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

“Catchy electronic pop”Brooklyn Vegan

“Stark electronica with a very vulnerable human heart” POP LIB

“An incredible release that everyone should check out” Earbuddy

“Simultaneously brutal and brittle; lyrics scathe like steelo over jagged synths and rhythms” Cheese On Toast

“A sense of epic, but touching greatness” Deer Du Bois

Stream or Embed Singles


We Are Temporary – Gods & Monsters (Lana Del Rey cover)

We Are Temporary – Machine Love (feat. Misfit Mod)

We Are Temporary – Afterthoughts EP

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