Temple was born in Salem, Massachusetts. After spending time in Northern California, he studied painting at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. After struggling to make a living as visual artist, including painting murals in upscale New York apartments, Temple moved into songwriting and recording. After recording a four song EP himself on a four-track recorder, Temple was signed to Mill Pond Records of Seattle. He would go on to record two full-length albums with Mill Pond, Hold a Match for a Gasoline World (2005) and Snow Beast (2007), before signing with label Secretly Canadian in 2010.