Creating and performing electronic pop in 2016 is a frustrating game. We’ve entered a strange stage of laziness, not within the genre’s current crop of songwriters and composers, but amongst those who receive it. A band with synthesizers and electronic elements are immediately — and oddly — designated into a bin with the 1980s and new wave; all traces of sonic lineage crashing into a wall built by the likes of New Order, Depeche Mode, and Berlin.
For Telelectrix, the triple-noose hole of barricading the ’80s tag around their work is a bit strangling. On their debut EP Move, which Vanyaland is honored to premiere today, the band that performed as CHVRCHES at our most recent Halloween show align more closely to the modern crop of 2010’s indie electronics, then leapfrog backwards to traces of ’90s European synthpop from the peak era of A Different Drum and further towards ’70s prog and classic rock. Sure, there are nods to Erasure and even Xanadu weaved in here and there, but a shallow new wave record this is not.
“Writing the Move EP was very personal for me,” says multi-instumentalist, producer, and songwriter Steven Borek. “I’ve been in Boston bands for about 10 years now and have had a few writing credits, but this is the first band where I’ve had the opportunity to be the principal songwriter/band leader, and ultimately steer the creative direction of the band. Lyrically, the songs reflect situations I have found myself in over the last 4 or 5 years or so, and the music is very much an amalgamation of all of the different influences that have shaped me over time.”
Borek lists influences like classic rock, jazz, and prog rock, all that have helped shape the tone and feel of Telelectrix’s sound, the core principles under layers of synth lightning.
“I feel the end result, for better or for worse, is that our sound is not instantly identifiable as ‘a retro 80’s synth band’ nor is it a trendy ‘here one second, gone the next’ kind of project with flavor of the moment production,” Borek adds. “The songs also tend to use some rather non-traditional key signature and chord changes, but we here at Telelectrix enjoy a challenge — or at least, I do!”
In the course of crafting Move, which is augmented by the soaring title track and the more darkwave sounding “Miss Chameleon”, Telelectrix underwent a series of lineup changes, with the core of Borek and keyboardist Kate Lindsay enlisting a new vocalist, Chelcie Gette, and enhancing their sound with a full-on live drummer and other acoustics
“Ultimately, the changes made our music more accessible, cohesive, and able to better gel with the all-electronic instrumentation that we have been using thus far,” Borek says. Adds Lindsay: “Telelectrix has been my first ‘real’ project in a long time, and writing songs to completion has always been a challenge for me. I tend to be more melodically focused, which hasn’t done me a lot of good when it comes to song structure. That’s why it’s been great to write with Steve — he built the foundation for all of the songs on the EP, and I was able to go in and add just a few melodic touches here and there, which is the stuff I enjoy doing.”