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2016 Artist Survey: Teleman

Hiro Amamiya, Pete Cattermoul, and Thomas Sanders on Trump, Brexit, Scary Movies, and Stranger Things

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For Under the Radar‘s 14th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2016. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2016 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions. Here are some answers from Hiro Amamiya, Pete Cattermoul, and Thomas Sanders of Teleman. The British band released their sophomore album, Brilliant Sanity, in 2016 via Moshi Moshi.

For our annual Artist Surveys we emailed the same set of questions to musicians about Trump and the election, 2016’s deaths, self-driving cars, Stranger Things, first kisses, scary movies they shouldn’t have seen as a child, which Friends character they are most like, and much more.

Pick up or download Under the Radar‘s Best of 2016 / 15th Anniversary Issue for Artist Survey interviews with Amber Arcades, Austra, Faris Badwan of Cat’s Eyes and The Horrors, Boxed In, Caveman, The Charlatans, Cursive, Lucy Dacus, The Dears, C Duncan, Sadie Dupuis of Sad13 and Speedy Ortiz, Dutch Uncles, Ezra Furman, Robyn Hitchcock, The Invisible, Justin Lockey of Editors and Minor Victories, Lost Under Heaven (LUH), Lush, Midlake, Phantogram, The Range, Springtime Carnivore, Sunflower Bean, Surfer Blood, TEEN, The Thermals, Nick Valensi of CRX and The Strokes, Jenn Wasner of Flock of Dimes and Wye Oak, and Yuck.

Top 10 Albums of 2016

Pete Cattermoul:

David Bowie: BlackstarBowie has written an album which sounds classic and original at the same time. Always something to learn from the master.
A Tribe Called Quest: We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your ServiceAmazing comeback from another legendary act. Activism in music is needed now more than ever, so thank god it sounds like this.
Kate Tempest: Let Them Eat ChaosGreat to hear an actual concept album. Kate tells stories like no one else and this album is urgent and astute. Read her book.
Leonard Cohen: You Want It DarkerCohen is one of the best songwriters of all time so you can play this album all the way through and enjoy every second.
Floating Points: ElaeniaFloating Points are probably the best sounding band in the world. Pure aural perfection.

Hiro Amamiya:

Soft Hair: Soft HairAlbum from Late of the Pier’s Sam Dust and Connan Mockasin. Their quirky and icky pop music makes you to listen to it over and over and stays in your head.
Noname: TelefoneBeautiful and raw, unique sound from the start to finish. I don’t usually listen to a rap music but this album is really good.

Thomas Sanders:

Radiohead: A Moon Shaped PoolSome lovely moments on this record. Radiohead as always setting the bar pretty high, I hope they keep making music and continue to evolve for a long time to come.
Ty Segal: Emotional MuggerI’ve been a fan since I saw him play in Texas six years ago. His music is completely untamed and unhinged, and this album is an explosion. Some really amazing guitar sounds on this record too.
Paul Simon: Stranger to StrangerI like this album because it manages to have Paul Simon’s playful, light hearted approach while dealing with serious topics of the moment such as class and wealth divides. It’s a beautifully recorded album with an interesting array of rhythms and instruments. At least this legend is still with us.

2016 was regarded by many as a fairly tough and negative year. Was it also a hard year for you personally? If so, how? And also what were the high points for you?

Hiro: I think 2016 was a pretty good year for me and Teleman. We released our second album and toured U.K. and Europe. Did a bunch of festivals and played on Later… with Jools Holland so it wasn’t a tough and negative year for us, hopefully 2017 goes even better.

What are your thoughts on how the U.S. presidential election played out?

Pete: It was a very sad thing to see, after Brexit, which was a massive shock. We all feared the worst. A lot of my American friends were completely devastated by it. But this just shows us how much of a “bubble” we live in.

Let’s discuss Donald Trump. What does the rise of Trump tell you about America in 2016? What concerns you most about a Trump presidency? How do you think his presidency might personally change your life? What message do you have for those who voted for Trump? What actions will you take over the course of the next four years to either protest a Trump presidency or support it?

Pete: I think the thing is to understand the reasons why people voted the way they did. There is the argument that this will force us to address the blatant evils that are running the world and find a real alternative, whereas having Hilary in power would have pacified and veiled that potential, which would have been a very different kind of illusion and much harder to contest.

What reality TV star would you have rather been elected president?

Tom: I can’t think of any. I don’t own a TV or watch it. Too busy making music! I don’t think any of us have TVs actually.

Pete: Jordan?

If you were president, what would you try to accomplish in your first 100 days in office?

Pete: Decentralize the banks. Provide housing for the homeless at Trump Tower and all the empty mansions. Invest heavily in green energy. Take troops away from any conflict that has an oil interest. Free healthcare for all.

What are your thoughts on Brexit and the future of the European Union? To what extent do you think the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump were motivated by the same factors?

Pete: Media corruption and greed breeding nationalism and racism increasing fear and delusion because of false sense of self in humans. People have to realize that we are all the same thing.

We lost three highly influential music icons in 2016. What are your thoughts on the passing of David Bowie, Prince, and Leonard Cohen? And what are your favorite albums by each artist?

Hiro: I still can’t believe these legends are gone. They were already a superstar and made some great records even before I was born and kept making great music for a few decades, which is simply incredible. To me they’re not only a musician but also a great artist in many ways. David Bowie: Hunky Dory. Leonard Cohen: New Skin for the Old Ceremony.

Pete: Prince: Purple Rain

What do you think Prince and Bowie’s afterlife project sounds like?

Hiro: They’re probably finishing off the songs that they didn’t finish.

Which Friends character are you most like?

Pete: Ross :(

What scary movie did you see way too young as a child, how’d you end up seeing it, and does it still scare you now?

Pete: All of them: The Exorcist, Night of the Living Dead, Predator. We had videotapes in those days, so when our parents were out we would watch them. It was a good primer for moving to Dalston.

Are you ready for self-driving cars and a more automated future?

Hiro: Why not. It’s exciting and scary at the same time, but not everything, please. I hope our feelings keep spontaneous and not automated in the future.

Tell us about the most memorable fan encounter you had this year.

Tom: We meet so many fans every night on tour. The most remarkable meetings are when you learn the distances that some people have travelled to see you. It really reinforces the importance of really making every show count.

Under the Radar has been around for 15 years now, since December 2001. How do you feel the music industry has most changed in that time, both for the better and the worst?

Tom: If you ask me I’d rather go back in time and sell more records! People say that the Internet is great for discovering new music, but I had no trouble discovering music pre-Internet. And I think the music I did discover was more meaningful-you really absorbed every track on an album. Now it seems like instant gratification. I find myself with a limited attention span and I turn it off within seconds if it doesn’t resonate with me. I guess I need to work on that. :)

Which Stranger Things character do you most relate with? Why?

Hiro: Jonathan Byers [played by Charlie Heaton]. It’s because I know him personally and sometimes hang out with him when he’s in London. It’s weird to see a person you know on the screen.

Pete: ElevenI’ve also got demons to deal with on a daily basis.

What do you miss most and least about the touring lifestyle when you’re not on the road?

Hiro: Just a general touring lifestyle I would say. Being on the road can be quite hard and stressful sometimes but crossing over the countries everyday, waking up in the cities that you’re not familiar with, playing in front of an audience every night and meeting the fans are not something you do in your daily life, the whole experience is something special and I miss it when I’m not on the road.


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