James Smith 01/08/2010
Tellison frontman Stephen Davidson gives an insight into not just the shape and sound of their impending album release, but also the struggles in producing such an album in the modern day music industry.
London indie-rock quartet Tellison released their debut album 'Contact! Contact!' in 2007, demonstrating an impressive mix of both bright, fast-paced singles alongside more mellowed and poignant material. And it is the latter that has taken centre-stage in what will become the newest instalment in the Tellison collection. 'I think the songs on the new record were clearly written with a little more experience, with a bit more intelligence maybe in terms of structure, musically and lyrically, having had a few more years on the clock. There's certainly a steadiness to it.' Early indications, from the band's performances of 'Thebes' and 'Edith Wharton', definitely do suggest a more sobre and reflective tone in the band's new work.
Davidson cites a change in the band's perspective in their approach to the newest release as part of the reason for such a steadying and maturation of the band's sound, 'when we made the first record we were a lot younger, we were bright-eyed, naive and breathlessly hopeful. This time round we've seen the circuit, we've taken some knocks and we've got some ugly scars to prove it.'
The band have certainly come a long way since first penning the tracks to 'Contact! Contact!', and this newest album is the culmination of many years of work. 'This record was written in fits and starts between degrees and crushing rent-paying jobs. It took its sweet time at first but over the last few months it developed at the right kind of pace and I think we all feel it's a good marker of where we were at when we made it.'
But, along with many other bands caught up in the swamp of the UK indie music scene, they find themselves constantly fighting against a lack of backing from labels to produce the music they want to. 'It's becoming increasingly difficult to make a record at the moment. The music industry is a sinking cruise liner and no-one is willing to part with any money, especially to a crappy indie rock band without the right clothes or haircuts. Obviously we made it work and recorded in people's front rooms and basements because we believe in our band and we enjoy being in Tellison but I look at where things were 10 years ago and I wonder if we wouldn't have been better off being born a few years earlier.'
Such a lack of financial resources have delayed the production of the record at every stage, but it would seem we are now just a few months away from beginning to uncover the album that has slowly been grafted and polished, and then re-polished, by Tellison over the last couple of years, 'I think the plan is to try to get something out this Autumn and then for the record to follow.'
But regardless of the state of play for bands such as Tellison in Britain's modern music industry, given the momentum of a warm reception to this upcoming release, Tellison do have the potential to go a long way. 'As I think all my answers have illustrated we're desperate to quit our jobs and play music all the time. Touring is the one way that we can afford to do that. I'm hoping we'll get some long tours round the UK in soon but also that we'll get the opportunity to go further afield, into Europe and maybe elsewhere. I'm looking forward to some new venues, some new cities and new people. But there are also places we go where we've got history and we always have a good time: Kingston, Northampton, Manchester and Glasgow.'
'We'll also get to work on new material. I've already got a few ideas down and I think we definitely learned our lesson from having such a big gap between records. We want to try and push forward faster this time round.'
This new album presents the band with a greater chance than ever to kick things up a gear and take the Tellison adventure to greater levels; it truly is make or break time. And despite all the setbacks along the way, there is no one more confident than themselves that in the next few years, they can make a real success of it.
'If we were a boxer the first record was our confident refusal to believe we could be beaten, with this record we've been knocked down a few times, we've seen fighters around us succeed and fail, but we still believe we've got what it takes to compete and we're trying.'