Interview Tessa & The Typecast

WHO: Tessa & The Typecast
WHEN: 6th Apr 2011
INTERVIEWED BY: Jessica | Major Label 2011

The Interview Tessa & The Typecast

Q: How did you all meet?
A: We all met during High School. Playing together for the first time was accidental. The rest is history.

Q: What’s the story behind the name, Tessa and the Typecast?
A: We were about to press our first EP, and didn’t have a name yet. Of the options we brainstormed over many, many hours-it was the best. Some of the other options were pretty average.

Q: You have been compared to the likes of Regina Spektor and Florence and the Machine. How would you describe your sound?
A: I find this a really hard question to answer. I think we have a lot of different elements of different styles as we all listen to so much music. Each member brings something to the table that is unique so the style ranges.

Q: Tessa, you spent the last three months writing in New York, tell us a little bit about that?
A: After launching “Painter” in October last year, I managed to get away for a few months to write some new material. I needed to get re-inspired and away from all I knew in Melbourne and made a dash for the biggest, most confronting place I could think of! Top that with the coldest winter in 20 years and being completely on my own-and you get songs! It was the most incredible and crazy experience I have ever had, I could talk about it for pages and pages.

Q: How did you hear about General Pants Co. Major Label? Did you submit your song into a store? Or were you scouted?
A: We were lucky to get scouted. I think I was still overseas at the time when we started conversing with people from the office. I missed out on most of the action our single was getting through being away. I would receive emails saying “Painter was played in Triple J” etc. It was amazing to get this recognition from Major Label and get “Painter” out to the public.

Q: In the past, musicians who signed to Major Record labels, often lost creative control and ownership of their craft, were you ever afraid of this?
A: It is an issue that is always in the back of every artist’s mind I guess. You must always be careful and protective of your work.

Q: What do you think the benefits of artists signing to a ‘single only’ rather than a three album deal are?
A: Signing a single is great for artists starting out. It rids of some of the pressure surrounding those “three album” deals-and allows the artists to focus on getting a good life out of their single, while also further developing their sound and playing live as much as possible.

Q: How are you going to use the platform of your ‘Single’ deal? What are your plans for the next two months?
A: Having our single signed to “Major Label” has given us exposure to a wider audience than we could achieve through our own means. It has given our single another few months of circulation while we head back into the studio to record the next single and B-side. We are also in the process of shooting a film clip for “Painter” and with the exposure the song has had already, this will hopefully again mean the song will get heard and played for a longer period of time.

Q: Do you have any awkward stories or moments on tour?
A: We have awkward stories and moments every time we set foot in a room together. Tom our bass player has fallen asleep on his guitar during rehearsal.

Q: Do have a dream collaboration? - dead or alive...
A: I have so many dream collaborations. I would love to play with Cinematic Orchestra and have Wes Anderson do the film clip.

Q: Moment in musical history you would like to replicate?
A: Woodstock 1969.

Q: Ultimate tour destination?
A: Any excuse to get me back to New York!

Q: If you could be a resident musician, anywhere in the world, where would it be? Be specific, venue, country, town etc.
A: The Green Mill Jazz Club in Chicago, circa 1920’s!

Q: Tell us a little bit about what to expect from your live shows?
A: We aim to create a level of intimacy where you can come and see the show, whatever mood you’re in. You can come on your own and be comfortable, and know there are others there on their own. And you are always invited to the after party.

Q: What is your favourite place to create music?
A: I love creating music at my parent’s home. The music room overlooks the country side, where there is a large dam, and the room is quiet and creative. I can loose a day sitting there.

Q: Is it a collaborative band effort or is one person the songwriter?
A: I write the songs and bring them to the band rehearsal where we arrange them together. It’s so much more interesting this way, as by getting individual input, the song has so much more flavour. This is where it’s so important the band listens to varying styles of music, the song grows into something you wouldn’t have been able to create on your own.

Q: What inspires your lyrics? What inspires your melody? Do you write these separately or individual.
A: A song usually just comes to me. I can’t sit down and force it. I don’t write with a detailed “something” in mind, nor what I want the song to sound like prior to sitting down. I have had occasions where I have had to remove myself from what I’m doing to go and write a song down. Friends understand that if I say I need to go because I just had an idea for a song that I really do!

Q: What happens when you have a great melody idea but are in a completely inappropriate social situation, i.e a bus, at work, out at a bar? How do you keep it from escaping?
A: This is the situation I am talking about! I try to get to a piano and get enough of an idea of the song that I remember it for a more appropriate setting or when I get home. I have pulled out the Iphone voice recorder on multiple occasions.

Q: You recently supported Kate Nash, tell us the story of how that came about?
A: I submitted my interest in supporting Kate when I was overseas. A day later I met a friend of hers in a warehouse style taco joint! We randomly started talking about how cold it was and how good the tacos were! He told her about the band and so with that contact and the already noted application, we were lucky enough to get shortlisted. Then Kate went through the shortlist and selected us for her Melbourne support act. Such a bizarre scenario, right place at the right time. I came back from New York to rehearse to play the show.

Q: You’ve supported some very well respected musicians, who’s next? Who is it your dream to support?
A: We have a couple of bands that we are interested in supporting in the next couple of months. But I don’t want to jinx it by saying whom! There are so many bands I would love to support. Even getting looked at by artists such as Arcade Fire or Bjork would be crazy and very humbling.

Q: What can we expect from Tessa and the Typecast in the next year? Are you touring? Launching an album? Collaborating with anyone special?
A: We are in the process of recording our album which we will be releasing in the latter of this year (hopefully). Then of course, we would love to tour its release. The next single will be out May/June, which is really exciting. We will be shooting a film clip, and would love to play the summer festival circuit. This time of the year is so exciting as it is all preparation for the Australian festival season, which is such a large part of our culture and music appreciation. So we have a lot happening!

Interview by Jessica | Major Label 2011

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