Words and interview by Derek Evers
Video by Maia Stern and Hanly Banks
Last week, Telepathe finally released their long-awaited, David Sitek-produced LP Dance Mother to the world, and we figured what better way to celebrate than a friendly game of bowling? Shot on the exact date of the physical U.S. release (April 14), we quickly came to realize that the competitive spirit burns brightly in this duo as the game soon became anything but friendly.
Telepathe is a band I have struggled with since their inception. From the origins of Busy Gangnes teaming up with ex-Ex-Model and current-Knyfe Hyt Shahin Motia to the addition of Melissa Livaudais (who played with Busy in the band Wikkid) and formation of Telepathe as we know it, they have seemed to live on the precipice that exists between Brooklyn's diy scene and the star-studded Brooklyn that has produced, among others, Animal Collective and TV On The Radio. This is the basis for my struggles, because this 'edge of everything' that they have inhabited has been widely reflected in their music.
It's as much a testament to their musical-inclinations and creativity as it is to the influence others have had on their records. It would make sense that their two Social Registry records -- the Farewell Forest EP and the "Sinister Militia" 12" -- would pay homage to the Brooklyn and New York avant-garde, while the David Sitek produced Dance Mother, patterns all of the sounds together using heavy bass and synth as the glue. While Sitek's production hand, and the fact that the album was long overdue for release (it's been out in the UK and digitally everywhere since January), has played a large part in this transformation, the stark contrast in their recorded sounds are ultimately, a product of Busy and Melissa's tastes.
So with these intellectual thoughts circulating in my head, I was ready to ask Telepathe serious questions about all of these notions I had about why there have been drastic sonic changes to their recorded material and where they are now as a band. And then we did shots to celebrate the record release. And then we started bowling. And I realized that despite all of these notions I had, there was nothing to suggest this duo was anything but genuine. From their contrasting personalities (Busy being the quiet soft spoken straight-woman to Melissa's color commentary), to the people they befriended on the alley next to us (being the only people interviewed can be quite awkward in such a public place) down to their suspect bowling skills, it was one of the most enjoyable interview moments I've had. They seriously battled it out until the 10th frame of the game, I still got to ask a few difficult questions and in the end, we were all a little bit sad that I won't be able to be one of the touring Telepathe dancers.