A novel approach to pop music got Telex Telexs named Best New Artists
Independent synth-pop quartet Telex Telexs – voted Best New Artists in this summer’s Kom Chad Luek Awards – has built up enough heat to “Melt Your Popsicle!”
That’s the title of their debut EP on Wayfer Records, a subsidiary of Warner Music (Thailand), but, to be honest, when asked if success is spoiling them, the reply, given in unison, is, “Nothing’s going to change our lives.”
“We won the award because we’re a new group coming up with a new music style,” says bandleader-songwriter-synth player Kasidath “Pew” Ritngarm.
“The EP isn’t really that different from others coming out, but it has something special. We have no idea how well it will be received – it’s a matter of faith!”
Pew and bassist Parkorn “Korn” Panong are old friends from Chiang Mai and formerly played in the band Shoot the Dog, back in the boom years of alternative music. When that band split up, Pew and Korn started making electronic music on a home computer.
Pew has an engineering degree from King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Lat Krabang and Korn completed the music programme at Silpakorn University.
Telex Telexs – typographically it’s rendered as TELExTELEXs – also has Silpakorn alumni Sorrarat “Aom” Limpanopparat on vocals and Kirakorn “Now” Ingkavarapornkul on guitar. They play pop, electropop and alternative music.
“The audience today is listening to more different genres,” says Aom, who majored in jazz voice at school. “That gives us a chance, because people are more open-minded, and meanwhile there are a lot more channels supporting the various musical genres.”
How exactly does jazz fit in with electronic dance music?
“Jazz was the first style we loved,” says Aom, “but we’ve also become fascinated with electropop. With this band, we’re all sharing our musical inspirations with each other through our songs.”
But if they’re good enough to play jazz, it seems a pity they’re not fully showing off their talents with this band.
Aom says it’s a matter of striking a balance between instrumental skills (including her voice) and the sharing of ideas. Now admits, though, that his guitar skills don’t get as much exercise as they should.
Aom hopes to one day open a music school. She was a teacher at one after graduating, but then Telex Telexs beckoned. She finds her jazz training helpful even with electropop.
“It’s a different singing style, not as much improvisation, more structured.”
Pew and Korn produced their first song, "Bad Old Days" before they recruited other members and it’s still racking up plays on YouTube. I wondered why the duo even needs other musicians to help, but of course it’s for the stage performances, Pew said.
“I also need more people to share ideas with and develop our music further.”
The first single from the EP, “Labelle”, topped the Cat Radio chart at the end of 2015. That was followed early last year by “Ruea Bai” and “Tham”, which also did well.
“Tham” has an English title, “Damsel in Distress”, referring to the classic character of literature, art and film in desperate need of a strongman to arrive and save her from the villain.
“A friend of mine suggested the English title and I thought it was suitable for the story in the song, which is about a woman who’s always asking questions,” says Pew.
The band released “Shibuya” at the end of 2016. That came out of a memorable experience earlier in the year. Pew, Now and Aom had the chance to participate in the Summer Sonic Music Festival in Japan, which they thoroughly enjoyed, especially with big names like Radiohead involved.
“This song was inspired by those moments when we were taking part in the music festival and by how surprised we were to see so many neon signs while walking along the streets of Shibuya. It has a bit of an Asian accent in the melody,” Pew notes.
Finally on “Melt Your Popsicle!” there’s “16090”, by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, which has Mommy’s Boy rapping, a first for the band.
Pew says the title alludes to the fact that 1.6090 kilometres equals one mile. And in that, he says, you can find a “comparison with love”. I don’t know, it seems like a long distance to travel for a popsicle.
TWO GIGS COMING UP
Telex Telexs will perform at Cat Expo 4 at Wonder World Fun Park on November 25 and at the Big Mountain Music Festival at the Ocean Khao Yai on December 9 and 10.
Follow the band at www.Facebook.com/TELExTELEXs.