Friday 2 September 2016

"We all definitely have the belief that there is no such thing as impossible": Amped & Doomed with instrumental transcendents Telepathy

By: Aaron Pickford

Today's guests released one of the albums of the year in 2014 with the brilliant “12 Areas”, indeed Colchester-based instrumental sludge/post-metal band Telepathy are one of the underground's best kept secrets.  They play unique and ambitious music, not so much songs, rather complex compositions, music to get lost in, the perfect juxtaposition of beautifully mellow and hideously brutal passages which they execute with a remarkable intelligence. Telepathy are musical conjurors, employing masterful tricks within the construct of their music, which they deploy in unpredictable ways throughout their art and that is indeed what they create, art in the truest sense, you never know what’s coming around the corner but you can’t wait to find out.

With their demo EP "Fracture" and 2014 debut album "12 Areas" (Devouter Records/Tartarus Records) receiving rave reviews, the band are on the cusp of creating their masterpiece and their dedication to do things DIY, subscribing to their own rules, the band are in a unique position of being embraced by fans of post-metal, hardcore, sludge and progressive music alike, which is testament to the bands imaginative, off-kilter and ambitious musical expressionism.

With Telepathy having begun recording their second album and with a short European Tour set to kick off next week, as we enter the final quarter of 2016, the band are confident that they’re sonically better and in the throes of some much needed momentum than will catapult their unquestionable talent to become one of the biggest and best talents the UK has produced.  Let us get Amped & Doomed with the instrumental transcendents that are Telepathy.  

SL: Can you give us an insight into how you started playing music, leading up to the formation of Telepathy

Rich (Guitars): I began playing music back when I was around 12/13, I remember vividly my mother gifting me with a boxset of the first 8 Black Sabbath albums for doing my 11+ (British school exam) and wanting to do nothing else but learn to play the guitar and write music after that!

From there I learnt to play, and went through the usual high school bands playing Kyuss covers and some formative original material. My first semi-serious band was playing local shows and recorded a two track demo whilst I was studying music technology at college, but ended soon after. That’s when three of us in Telepathy met and began working towards something more experimental, and representative of our collective taste in music.  

Piotr (Guitars): Myself and everyone in the band, were always interested in and inspired by all sorts of music. From classical, electronic and dance to the heaviest metal.  I believe it took specific characters to meet and start creating the music that this band plays. We all definitely have a love of instruments and sound, from guitar to the synthesiser and of course, the belief that there is no such thing as impossible.

Ted (Bass): I’ve been interested in performing since I was very young. I used to write plays and perform them for my parents; I sang in the school choir and also took acting classes for several years. I actually started playing guitar when I was around 11 years old. My step-grandfather had a room full of vintage Fenders that I was fascinated with. It was a jingle on a kid’s after school TV show that inspired me to ask him to teach me. The jingle was just someone ripping a rad bluesy solo and I thought it was so cool. I actually hadn’t played bass guitar in a band at all until I joined Telepathy.

SL: Can you remember who or what inspired you to pick up the guitar, bass? Are there any bands, guitarists, bassists currently on the scene that continue to inspire you and push you to try new things?

Ted: I’m not necessarily impressed by a player’s technical prowess, what matters to me most is how hard the player throws down. I caught Slabdragger at Red Sun Festival in Cardiff a couple of weeks ago and Yusuf’s performance blew me away. I play pretty hard but he’s on another level. Glenn from Grand Collapse is probably one of the best drummers in the UK right now for me; that man can shred.

Piotr:  It was simply the love of the sound of heavy guitars and epic melodies.  Since I was a little kid it has always grabbed my attention. Guitar wasn’t my first choice, it was thanks to my parents and older brother who introduced me to playing guitar, and the fact that people around me listened to good music.  During that period I heard many bands and artists for the first time like Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Pantera.

Rich: Sabbath, Soundgarden, Kyuss and the Melvins were my earliest inspirations to play guitar and write music. Out of the current active bands, we’re of course inspired by the bands we get to share the stage with, recently we’ve really enjoyed Svalbard and Conjurer, always tight and giving 100% each time. I’m also really loving SubRosa and JK Flesh at the moment.

SL: Whilst we’re on the subject of inspiration or heroes for example, do you have 5 records that stand out as favourites, what influence did they have upon you and what is it about those records that particular resonates amongst others? 

Rich: Here’s a few favourites and one new discovery.  The list is always expanding.

Mamiffer: “Mare Decendri”
I had the good fortune to catch Mamiffer along with JK Flesh and Sumac in London recently and they really stole the show for me.  This album is a masterpiece: beautiful arrangements, a deep and rich sound and a haunting atmosphere.

Beach Boys: “Pet Sounds”
The density of the arrangements and how experimental the song structures are still amazes me and continues to be an influence on how I craft songs. It’s an eye-opening album for me, in the sense that music can be so inventive, dynamic and compositionally experimental and still pack a huge emotional punch.

The Cure: “Pornography”
An incredible album. Darkness permeates through every song, it could have only contained “One Hundred Years” and it would still be one of my all-time favourite records. Robert Smith is one of the most under-rated guitar players of all time for me.

Botch: “We are the Romans”
A classic. “C Thomas Howell as the Soul Man” is one of the best hardcore songs ever. Hydrahead Records in particular has been, and continues to be, a big inspiration for me.

Fall of Efrafa: “Owsla”
A genius first chapter in a conceptual discography. This record opened up a whole world of underground crust and post-metal for me, along with the DIY subculture it was birthed out of.

Piotr: It’s hard to choose only five, so I’ll only name rock albums.

Metallica  -  “...and Justice For All“,
A big inspiration on song structure

Pink Floyd -  “Dark side of the moon“
Without a doubt, amazing melodies.  

Tool -  “Lateralus“
Just genius, isn’i it?!

Deftones -  “White pony“
Atmospheric, great drum beats, it is what I would call romantic metal, if that makes sense.

Micheal Jackson -  “Bad“
Because it needs to be mentioned as one of my first musical influences.

Ted: There are too many albums that I could list in my top 5. These are just a few that spring to my mind immediately.

Pentagram- “First Daze Here”
Led Zeppelin- “IV”
Black Sabbath- “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”
Fleetwood Mac- “Rumours”
Converge- “Jane Doe”

SL: Can remember your first electric guitar, bass?  

Piotr: Yes, and it’s still on my bedroom wall, an Epiphone Les Paul.

Ted: Yes, It was an old Encore Strat copy that my Dad bought for me I think. Pretty standard but it did the job for a few years.

Rich: Yes. It was a Stagg, in that old ZZ Top shape. Truly a terrible guitar, The neck broke within a couple of months!

SL: What guitar(s) bass (s) are you using today and how did you gravitate towards the guitar you currently use?

Rich & Piotr: We both use Ltd Ec1000’s. We both really love Les Pauls and humbuckers, and the Ltd’s are great, hold low tunings really well and are fairly light for Les Paul style guitars. You can also pick them up at a reasonable price second-hand which is a massive plus. In all honestly we are both continually expanding our sound, and for sure there will come a time for different guitars and pickups

Ted: In Telepathy I use an Epiphone Explorer bass.

SL: What do you like about the guitars you currently use and has there been any specific modifications to it? 

Rich & Piotr: No modifications currently other than a basic set-up to allow us keep our low tuned strings stable. We’re both toying with idea of adding a single coil pickup though at the moment.

Ted: I love it because I’ve never seen anyone else use one and it’s just a massive, gnarly lump of wood that looks rad when slung nice and low. I’m going to have to change the pickups in it at some point because it runs so hot that you get a lot of feedback if you play too close to your rig, so playing on a small stage can be problematic.

SL: What amps and pedals do you currently use?  Do you use a combination of amps, or a full half stack? Talk us through your set up both in the studio and in the live environment? 

These are all in a constant state of flux, but here are our current set-ups..

Guitar > Tuner - Vox Delaylab - Maxon od808 - Empress HeavyLittle Big Muff - Boss RV-5 > Orange Rockerverb 100 and Orange PPC412 cabinet

Guitar > Tuner – Digitech WhammyEmpress HeavyEHX Micro SynthEHX B9 Organ MachineMXR Analog DelayTC Electronic Flashback Delay (mini)EHX Super Ego > Fender MH Head and Cab.

In the studio, we’ve been tracking with Jaime Gomez at Orgone Studios who has a wealth of vintage gear. We’ve tracking with an 80’s Marshall JCM800 and Peavey 5150 blended for heavy guitars and a silver face Fender Twin Reverb for cleans. We’ve used our own boards and guitars, except for some clean passages on which we’ve used a hybrid super strat Gomez has knocking about. We’ve also used an old EPIPHONE acoustic Ted has which sounds amazing. For bass we used a vintage Ampeg SVT and Fender P Bass.

SL: What one pedal could not live without and why? 

Ted: My Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner. Can’t go wrong with it.

Rich: Aside from a tuner, my Empress Heavy. It has two great, responsive gain channels and has added in a lot of the low end that my Rockerverb was missing on its gain channel, via its brilliant weight control. It’s also been great to EQ to different rooms with.

Piotr:   Tough one... I guess it must be my Mxr Analog Delay – it’s just too good!

SL: What are your amp/ pedal settings?

Rich: Orange clean channel, bass about 2 o’clock, mids and treble around 12 (dependent on what room we’re playing). Very loud. I use the Heavy Empress for both a crunch channel and distorted channel

Piotr: As of this moment I’m using my Fender MH amp, my settings are around 12 o’clock for clean gain, with a lot of bass, little treble and about half on the mid channel. When it comes to pedals, it is the Heavy Empress that adds all the heaviness, with similar settings to the amps just with less bass and more gain.

SL: What tunings do you use and why, and as a result is there a specific brand / gauge of string you prefer ?   

We tune to BEDGBE for guitars. Ted tunes to BEAD, it’s like standard 5 string tuning but without the high G. He prefers that tuning because it allows him the freedom to move through the scales without having to worry about any dropped strings. We all use Ernie Ball strings generally.

Piotr: Ernie Ball Heavy top Slinky Bottom

Rich: I use Power Slinky’s but exchange the two lowest strings with a .42 and .54

Ted: I recently switched to Ernie Ball Power Slinky, they’re 110’s and I was using 130’s before. They’re just a lot better to play than the heavier ones

SL: Do you have any advice for up and coming guitars players, bands?

Practice, do whatever the hell you want musically and most importantly play from the heart.  

SL: Do feel there are deeply held misconceptions about being in a band? 

I’m sure there are many, most of which are based on 70’s excess and the boom years of the industry.  

SL: Moving on a little then, what can you tell us about any of your current projects, tours, cds, etc and anything else band related we should know about?

We can tell you our next record is nearing completion. We have been recording periodically throughout the year with Jaime Gomez Arellano (Cathedral, Paradise Lost, With the Dead, Sunn O))) & Ulver, etc)

We’re about to hit the road in Europe and have some great off-shows coming up around the UK, including Noizfest in Manchester in October.

07.09.2016:  LIEGE, LE GARAGE (BE)

08.09.2016:  ANTWERP, MUSIC CITY (BE)



11.09.2016:  AMSTERDAM, OCCII (NL)

SL: What springs to mind when you think about the completion of your upcoming record and how is the mood in the camp at present?

Well, currently we’re demo-ing overdubs and textures to add when we return to the studio on 23rd August. We’re all incredibly proud of this new work, and the mood in camp has never been better, especially after the addition of Ted on bass. We’re currently buzzing to get back on the road in Europe for some headline shows and a performance at Incubate 2016 in Tilburg.  

SL: Who are some your favourite bands you have toured with and what have been your proudest moments and/or performance of your playing career?

It’s tough to name just a few moments or shows, but playing Desertfest this year was pretty insane, there was a queue out to the street to catch our set at the Black Heart which was pretty crazy.

Incubate in 2014 was a similar situation, we ended up headlining our stage due to a cancellation, and playing to packed room in Tilburg at such a prestigious festival was an honour.     

More recently, it’s been rad playing shows with Rosetta, Svalbard, Conjurer, Grand Collapse (two words: water) and Latitudes.

However, the thing we take most pride in is that everything we’ve achieved up until this point has been 100% our own work, and we have never compromised our vision in any way.  

SL: What can fans look forward to from you over the next 12 months? How is your schedule shaping up?

The release of a new record and A LOT of live shows. Watch this space.

Finally, do you have any final comments/word of wisdom you’d like to bestow upon us?

A big thanks to The Sludgelord for the continued support!

The End

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