TELLISON ARE BACK WITH THEIR THIRD ALBUM, ‘HOPE FADING NIGHTLY’ RELEASED IN SEPTEMBER VIA ALCOPOP! RECORDS! AND IT SEES THE LONDON FOUR-PIECE ACCEPTING BUT NEVER SUBMITTING.
WORDS: ALI SHUTLER.
Dumped by some of the team around them at the end of their last album ‘The Wages Of Fear’, Tellison were alone again. “It sucks to feel like everyone thinks it didn’t quite work out. We all went back to our lives, working day jobs,” frontman Stephen Davidson explains. “We let Tellison lie and dealt with the body blows of having everyone around you feel like you aren’t worth the effort.”
He, alongside Pete, carried on writing music though and eventually built back up to start work on album three. “We recorded it under a McDonalds in Highbury,” Stephen says. “I’d work ten hours a day then catch the bus to Highbury and stay in the studio until either I or Andy (Jenkin, who produced the album) passed out or started shouting at each other. We did that for a year, I had no social life and I lost all my friends.”
Launched by comeback single ‘Tact Is Dead’ which deals with the idea of “feeling very valueless to society,” ‘Hope Fading Nightly’ is a “record about failure and unachieved potential,” explains Stephen. “It’s a really sad record but it’s also guitar heavy.” Inspired by The Weakerthans and Drive By Truckers, Tellison have moved away from the highly wrought keys and string samples of their previous album and replaced it with what they had around them; drums, guitar, bass and voice. “No dicking about,” laughs Stephen. “We just tried to play the songs properly and if we couldn’t, we wrote new parts.”
“So much of Tellison is charting us growing up,” he continues. “I was fifteen when we did our first tour and we’re now accepting we’re not going to be a huge famous rock band. We’re not going to be The Beatles,” he admits, “but we’re still doing it. We feel ok about it all.”
“I’m just trying to be a good songwriter and say the things that have been eating me up,” he shares. “It feels good to be doing it on our own terms now. Not trying to get a major label to think we’re handsome enough to sign.”
And despite being, “hilariously incompetent” – the band were too busy ordering t-shirts for tour that they forgot to announce the album – Tellison are taking their music by the horns.
“I used to trust that other people were going to do a better job than me,” says Stephen of his newfound hands on approach to the band. “I realised, at the age of 27, no one cares as much as I do. I will do a better job and it’s liberating to opt out,” he says with a smile. “I’m choosing to opt out of something that doesn’t want me but it’s nice to feel in charge. It comes back to feeling content.”
With a smattering of live appearances announced and more to follow as we hurtle towards the release of ‘Hope Fading Nightly’, Tellison are excited to be back behind the wheel. “We’re steering our own ship now,” Stephen declares. “It feels good, scary and exciting. I’m doing it because no one else wants to but at the same time, I think I’m the best person for the job.”