Friday 23 February 2018

Q&A:Telepathe's Melissa livaudis

On Julian Casablancas, leaving New York and songwriting...

Ed Power

Ed Power

Guten Tag! Word is you've moved to Berlin.

Actually, we just got here. We're going to be in Berlin for a month. We have quite a few friends here. We love the city. It's awesome, it's so much cheaper than New York. There's so much music and stuff that we like. And it's easy to get around the rest of Europe if you are using Berlin as a base.

Must remind you of New York before the millionaires priced everyone else out.

New York has always been expensive to me. I can't imagine a time when it was ever cheap in New York, in terms of eating and drinking and rent. It's really, really expensive. In Berlin, it's not expensive. I guess maybe New York in the 80s was cheaper. I don't know. I wasn't there.

TV On The Radio's David Sitek produced your album, Dance Mother. You must be pretty ticked off that everyone credits him with coming up with all the clever bits on the LP.

Oh yeah... people were assuming that it was all his. It is the standard thing that happens and I hate saying this, but it happens to women especially. As soon as there is a producer, it's assumed the man wrote the music. It happens over and over and over again. You never read that stuff about male bands working with a male producer. All the credit goes to the band. To be honest, we were kind of expecting that it would happen. And, actually, that's what keeps happening all the time. Even stuff he produces now with women -- everyone assume's it's all his work.

On the other hand, it DOES sound really, really like a Dave Sitek album.

You can hear how big it sounds. That's because of him, definitely, that is his expertise. But he didn't write our record or compose it.

On the subject of New York scene leaders, apparently The Strokes' Julian Casablancas is your biggest fan.

We played two shows in New York with him. Yeah, he really likes Telepathe. He's cool, a nice guy. We're talking about doing a duet with him on our new album. I really like his voice. It's so deep and strange, such a contrast with us.

Until we heard his solo album, we would never have tagged him as an electronica head.

I don't know him so well, but it seems he's always been a huge electronic music fan. That's kind of his passion. I had no idea, actually, until that record came out.

Of course, you and your bandmate, Busy Gangnes, used to be a conventional rock band also.

It was definitely not conventional!

Well, okay, a band with guitar, bass and drums.

It was crazy math rock, almost proggy sounding. That stuff is not for me. I got really bored with the limitations of my instrument. Perhaps if I had had a lot of money I could have bought some really nice pedals and changed it up.

What's it like being in a duo? Surely you eventually get sick of spending all that time with another person?

It's actually really easy. For our last tour, we had a sound person and a tour manager and the two of us. It's a small enough group of people that you have a good time. I would imagine it would be so much more complicated if there were more people involved. I've toured with some people... I'm not going to say any names...

Oh, go on...

Hah! No. Anyway, so someone from a band disappeared and it was like counting down to time to leave. We had to go the next day and the person didn't show up until the last minute. There was all kinds of stress. We don't have that.

Before we hang up -- Busy Gangnes? Not her real name, surely?

Oh, don't you know? Busy is short for Elizabeth. She's been called it since she was a little baby.

Telepathe play Whelan's, Dublin, on Saturday. The album, Dance Mother, is out now

Irish Independent

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