Musicscan: What's your self-understanding of Telepathy - what does your band stand for? Please introduce yourself and the idea behind your band to our readers, please.
Telepathy: Telepathy is a way for us to express ourselves musically. The idea was to create something heavy and experimental, but at the same to allow as much emotion in as humanly possible.
Musicscan: The first thing people probably notice about Telepathy is the absence of a singer. Was it always your intention to be an instrumental band?
Telepathy: You're right. We've decided on the absence of vocals in our music up to this point, and that's mainly due to the music itself. We feel that this music stands on its own, and any attempt to come forward with a "front-person" or singer as the focal point of the music would take away from the compositions or atmosphere we're trying to present.
Musicscan: A lot of people think that all music is better with vocals. The idea is that instrumental bands start at a deficit, having to try harder to keep the listener entertained and having to “compensate” for the tangible emotional connection a singer brings. As an instrumental band, how does Telepathy approach its music so that the listener is not only entertained but emotionally invested?
Telepathy: Yes, for the most part in popular music that's peoples opinion and that's absolutely fine. We have never viewed the band in terms of commercial viability. While we don't try and "compensate" for a lack of an emotional centre-point, with 12 Areas we decided to work to a loose concept, allowing us to take the listener on a journey, and to allow both ourselves and the listener the opportunity to become emotionally invested in the full record. Hopefully the experience of listening to the record and the feelings it brings forward in people herald an emotional connection of its own.
Musicscan: Is it liberating not having a singer somehow?
Allowing yourself to write without being limited to what a singer could work with or over is great, however it's just what the music we have made has called for so far. It's not to say we would never perform some kind of vocals in our music, just that we haven’t felt it necessary so far.
Musicscan: Where do you guys see the line drawn between progressing on what you do well, and completely offering a new direction or sound? Especially in the context of your band of course...
Telepathy: Of course it's important for us to push ourselves as musicians into new territory, primarily to express ourselves in a clearer and more cathartic manner. If achieving this means we go in a new direction then so be it. Telepathy exists as a vehicle for the four of us to express ourselves; if we feel the need to add or subtract things from the music then it's simply to facilitate clearer expression.
Musicscan: Do you think it is necessary to create a certain distance between you and the music in order to get a better understanding of its inherent quality – how do you handle such questions?
Telepathy: It’s always important to take a step back while writing and try to get a handle on whether you are achieving what you set out to do. Hindsight is a wonderful thing though, and you can always discover something new or something you wish you had done better after you’ve finished a project.
Musicscan: What are you looking for in your songs in general? Do you think there are still genuinely new sounds to be discovered or can modern music basically be said to be a recombination of already existing forms and known elements?
Telepathy: In our own music, we're really only focussed on expressing ourselves and to offer this in the most compelling and emotionally valuable way possible for the listener. I would definitely say there are new sounds to be discovered, maybe right now someone can be making a sound that has never been heard before through the use of software, synths and effects, who knows? It was only a relatively short time ago Public Enemy were experimenting with sound collages in popular music and while you could say Hip-Hop is a sum of different already established parts, the originators really created an entirely new musical form and also a new culture, much like Punk and Hardcore at the same time.
Musicscan: A strong part of your sound is about experimentation. Of the songs you guys have recorded, which one do you feel crosses the most borders? What other borders, musically speaking, do you guys wanna knock down in future?
Telepathy: It's not something we consciously do while writing (to cross the most borders in a song). That said we do enjoy keeping things interesting for ourselves and the listener. I guess whatever song crosses the most borders is up to the listener or critic. We did enjoy adding elements of studio experimentation, and elements of noise/drone in the record, but it served as a purpose, to create atmosphere and serve the song. If you were to go back and listen to the first E.P, and then this record, I’m sure that what you find has been added will be amplified in the future. While we don't like to limit ourselves to what we can do, I’m sure you won't find a Ska follow up to 12 Areas.
Musicscan: How important is the improvisation factor to your music, and is it different when you enter a stage?
Telepathy: Improvising while writing has a big impact on where songs lead, but we will usually go back over these parts to improve them and we’re quite meticulous when it comes to adding or taking away from sections that have come from improvisation. By the time we record everything is planned and in its right place.
After playing the songs live for some time it's always nice to improvise or subtly change certain parts, which of course helps us improve or enjoy certain parts more over time. While we don’t go all Grateful Dead on the audience halfway through the set, sometimes what can work in the studio doesn't translate as well in a live setting and it’s nice to change up these parts over time to make a more powerful experience.
Musicscan: What are the feelings you get out of what you are doing with Telepathy, and is there something you want the people / listeners to leave with?
Telepathy: It’s a cathartic thing, using music to get something out of you that would otherwise sit there un-noticed. I’m sure it’s common for people to remember events that were occurring when you wrote a song, and it can be anything you were feeling at the time. Other than that, the feeling of making music with wonderful people who share a common goal is great. The emotional connections you make along the way with people you meet, or listen to the band is the reason to keep playing shows.
Musicscan: Are there specific aspects on 12 Areas that stand out in your mind, or aspects that have an inner meaning to you would like to share with us?
Telepathy: For us personally it was a time of a lot of turmoil in our lives, some professional and personal loss and some deeper things to wrestle with.
In the world of sleep analysis and psychology, getting to the bottom of the ocean in a dream, and great floods are supposed to represent letting go of anxiety, something everyone struggles with to some degree.
Telepathy: I think the way the record ends, the last section of “To Kiss the Ocean’s Floor” really summed up the passing of these events, and to let that hope into the record was incredibly important. It’s always a great moment for us live, full of emotion.
Musicscan: Lastly: Do you care about fitting into a certain scene or genre style-wise?
Telepathy: Not at all.