Teleman

A New Beginning

Oct 25, 2013 Photography by James Loveday Issue #47 - September/October 2013 - MGMT
Bookmark and Share


One of Thomas Sanders' first musical memories involves music's connection with a sense of exploration, wonder, and movement. While many childhood memories are fleeting, for Sanders, singer, songwriter, and guitarist for the London-based four-piece Teleman, the memory and the feelings it evoked have stuck with him to this day.

"My dad didn't have very many records," says Sanders. "I think he had two records by Johnny Cash, and one of them was called Ride This Train. I loved it because in between each piece of music, there was a little piece of spoken word, kind of semi-fictional, just Johnny Cash speaking about all the different places he would be riding through on this train. That is probably the most enduring musical memory I have."

Although Teleman is only about a year old, Thomas, his brother and band keyboardist Jonny Sanders, and bassist Pete Cattermoul are not new to band life. They spent seven years previous to Teleman in a five-piece indie pop group called Pete and the Pirates, which released two albums, 2008's Little Death and 2011's One Thousand Pictures, before disbanding.

"I think some people in the band wanted it to continue to be what it started out as being, which was just a bit of fun," says Sanders. "The rest of us were more keen on making a go of it and putting everything into it, sacrificing a lot. Which I think you have to do if you want to have a career being a musician. We're all still friends. There's no hard feelings."

Along with initially stripping Pete and the Pirates down to its core trio (Teleman has since expanded to four, adding drummer Hiro Amamiya), the band's turn toward the more serious also included finding a new name.

"Names are problematic," says Sanders. "I often write bands off based on their name, before I've  even heard their music, which I know a lot of people did with our last band. But where did Teleman come from? Me and Jonny were just leafing through some records in a local charity shop and found a classical composer called Telemann. I think we both thought it was really cool. It was as simple as that."

While Pete and the Pirates was more of a harmony-soaked, jaunty indie pop band, Teleman is a streamlined, more mechanical-sounding outfit. Sanders describes his writing for the band as "metronomic" and "repetitive," which aptly describes the band's two recent singles, the insistent "Cristina," and the pulsating "Steam Train Girl." The songs deftly display Sanders' knack for melody, but there is a certain detachment in delivery and rhythmic pulse that have led some in the media to draw parallels to Kraftwerk.

"I think a journalist wrote that and then everybody else started referencing Kraftwerk," says Sanders, who is nearly finished with the band's debut LP, produced by former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler. "['Cristina'] has got a very repetitive and monotonous riff, which lasts most of the song, and it's got some synthesizers in it, so it's quite easy to say it's like Kraftwerk, and yes, it's not miles away from that. But I was never consciously influenced by them. And I'm slightly embarrassed to say that I don't really know their music well, apart from a couple of their famous songs. I should check them out."

[This article first appeared in Under the Radar's September/October 2013 issue.]



Comments

Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published

URL

Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

Michael Ledoux
November 19th 2013
5:29am

I really like Teleman’s sound. I could only find 4 of their songs on iTunes… I would have purchased more! Btw, I don’t think they sound anything like Kraftwerk.

Hoppycosh
January 27th 2016
7:28am

I hope there is at least a small bit of the old Pete and the Pirates sound in this new band.  :( I loved the name of the old band, I loved the sound, and it would be a terrible misfortune for the band to change everything because they “think” people are writing them off due to stupid names and such.  I honestly just don’t think that Pete and the Pirates really made themselves known.  I live in MICHIGAN, USA and have been listening to them since 2007 along with TAP TAP, another of Thomas Sanders’ projects.  I’ve never heard of the band coming anywhere out my way, so I haven’t been able to see them live. None of my friends heard of them until I said something either. Such great tunes.  It’s like my favorite. I sing in my car and I am instantly HAPPY.

Hoppycosh
January 27th 2016
7:31am

I can’t wait for the new album to come out in April!