Teleman - Interview & Signed Test Pressing Giveaway
Today, indie pop band Teleman release their fourth album Good Time/Hard Time, described by CLASH Magazine as "an inspired return". As the record hits the turntables of fans across the land, Townsend Music spoke to guitarist and vocalist Thomas Sanders about the LP and is proud to offer a signed test pressing of the album for one lucky winner.
For Teleman, the band’s fourth album Good Time/Hard Time is their first as a trio and sees them evolve as a force of nature as they navigate new beginnings despite a wealth of experience behind them. Music and lyrical stream of consciousness entwined, the album makes sense of a world in chaos and its words of wisdom are a vital reminder that even when things seem heavy, life is precious.
“Most of the songs are about universal things everyone can relate to, the small and simple details about difficult connections and overcoming them” - Thomas Sanders
TM: The release of Good Time/Hard Time has been preceded by several tracks from the album that are unmistakably Teleman, but feel more kinetic and energised than ever before. The record promises to be Teleman’s "most dancefloor-friendly record" to date. To what do you ascribe this focus on the visceral side of your sound?
Thomas Sanders: I’ve always liked how songs can move people, either emotionally or literally - getting a foot tapping or whole body dancing. So I think that’s something that’s always on my mind when I’m sifting through the piles of sketches and ideas that have been accumulating over the months; I’ll grab the ones that move me in some way. Also, it’s been 5 years since we released our last album Family of Aliens and there was a feeling of pent-up creative energy that needed to come out. So when we went in the studio with producer Oli Bayston we threw ourselves into the process with the thought that ‘anything goes’ and we worked very quickly and spontaneously.
The songs always become more muscular and crunchy than the demos once we all get working on them as a group. Finally, I think somewhere in the back of my mind there is also the fact that I know we’ll be playing these songs live and there’s a certain appetite for high-energy songs, both from the audience and from us! Although I don’t really write songs with gigs in mind, I’m sure it’s a subconscious influence.
TM: As well as being dancefloor-friendly, it strikes me that 'Good Time/Hard Time', 'Cherish' and 'Short Life', have a thematic philosophy of self-realisation, positivity and making the best of life running throughout. That sentiment is even echoed by the album title. Was this an overarching concept that you had in mind when you began to write the album or did it reveal itself across the writing of individual tracks?
Thomas Sanders: Like every album we’ve ever made, the themes and concepts tend to make themselves known only once the thing is finished. The label always asks me to provide the complete lyrics to all the songs and as I’m writing them it normally dawns on me that there’s some kind of common thread running through the record. I’ve tried the other way round - I can’t do it! But I like the way I write; I think it puts me in touch with the subconscious and creates an outlet for whatever it is that needs to come out. It's true that there is a sense of positivity to this record. I think we need that right now.
"I wish I had the kind of brain that could conceive of a high-concept album and then systematically write it, but for me it happens in a much more chaotic way." - Thomas Sanders
TM: Due to the departure of longtime keyboard player Jonny Sanders, who has gone on to a career in video production with the band's blessing, this is Teleman’s first record as a trio. Rather than replace him, the remaining members of the band have evolved the unit to fill the gap and even switch between instruments in a live setting. How has this approach to offsetting the loss of a band member affected the songwriting on the album?
Teleman: Pete (Cattermoul) has stepped in to fill Jonny’s shoes for the most part. But Jonny’s absence is really felt when we’re on the road. Not just on stage, but on the bus; in the dressing room; in the hotel lobby. I’ve toured with my brother for about 13 years so it feels so strange not to have him there, arguing about who ate all the salmon or looking behind me on stage and not seeing him there. It feels like a side of the square came away and the remaining lines move in to form a triangle.
TM: Good Time/Hard Time is your fourth record on Moshi Moshi, a respected and storied London indie label with whom you’ve been working for around a decade. How important has being part of the Moshi Moshi roster been to Teleman and how do you see the role of indie labels in the landscape of 2023?
Thomas Sanders: The most important part of our relationship with'Moshi' is that they respect us and let us do whatever it is we want to do. We really value their input but we’ve never felt obliged creatively to do something by them. I think many bands harbour dreams of having a major label deal, and we used to as well, but the more I learn about it, the less I’d want that. The lack of freedom and the weight of paying off that unrealistic advance. The huge pressure of so much being at stake. But indie labels have been up against it since streaming became the main source of music consumption.
"I think an indie label is certainly the right home for us, and I think they’re really important for letting acts discover who they are and what they want to do in an organic way." - Thomas Sanders
TM: Good Time/Hard Time is available on CD, Vinyl and a stunning Black & White Coloured Vinyl with Signed Print. In the streaming culture of 2023 does having your albums released on physical formats remain important and how do you listen to music yourselves?
We love the physical product. We sign loads of our records and CDs before selling them and we do special limited edition runs. We sell records on tour and get to meet the people who buy them. We work with great artists and illustrators whose efforts can only be appreciated when you hold the product, open it, look inside and discover the whole thing.
We all use Spotify and it’s really hard to avoid it. Its convenience and economy are undeniable but for the artist, it’s a career killer. Everyone agrees that streaming services need to pay artists fairly but nothing changes. Artists feel tied to the platform because they know they need it in order to compete, but there’s a lot of resentment and bad feeling. In spite of its convenience, I always feel like there’s something missing from the experience of streaming music. You tend to get directed to individual tracks or to the hits, rather than the journey of an album and it’s hard to appreciate the artwork when it's a thumbnail on a screen. 2023 is indeed an interesting time for the way we consume music; streaming prevails but at the same time vinyl sales are higher than they’ve been since the 80s! So I guess there’s some kind of middle ground to be found...
Good Time/Hard Time is available now on limited edition Coloured Vinyl with limited edition signed print, Black Vinyl, CD and specially-priced bundles.
Enter our exclusive giveaway to be in with a chance of winning a signed Signed Test Pressing of Good Time/Hard Time.
The winner will be chosen on Monday 17th April 2023.
N.B: If the competition entry module is inaccessible, enter the giveaway directly via the button below.