Asia Spotlight: 'It was just like another step out of our comfort zone' - Thailand's TELEx TELEXs on shaping their sound

Asia Spotlight: 'It was just like another step out of our comfort zone' - Thailand's TELEx TELEXs on shaping their sound

When the night sky pulls a blanket over the neon-lit signs of Bangkok's Khaosan Road, TELEx TELEXs' nostalgic electropop sees the bustling streets coming to a standstill, in awe of their energy.

Hailing from the land of smiles, TELEx TELEXs stepped into Bangkok's music scene four years ago. At that time, the word 'electropop' was rarely exchanged, with the early beginnings of the indie-folk genre, the steadily growing alternative rock scene, and the acoustic ballad mainstays taking up much of the spotlight in Thailand's music scene.

The four-piece band was conceived in their post-university days and officially started in 2016 with Aom (lead vocals), Pew (vocal & synthesizer), Korn (bass), and Now (guitar) as TELEx TELEXs. Inspired by the old school telegram, TELEx TELEXs is all about sending the right signals to their keen listeners who reciprocate with their love for their dynamic sounds.

"We go with the synth/electro-pop sound because it is easy to produce music with this genre by just using the computer," the band said.

"It is easy to imagine how it’s gonna turn out, we can put our imagination in the songs as much as we want, just like plain paper that we could paint colour on it however we want to."

TELEx TELEXs' fascination with digitising their tunes was made known to the world with their debut single 'Labelle', which unexpectedly found a sweet spot with listeners from Thailand. With 'Labelle' topping the Cat Radio charts in 2016, TELEx TELEXs' subsequent singles 'Ask' and 'Shibuya' continued their streak as their singles continued to astonish the local crowd.

Expounding on love and heartbreak from a female perspective, 'SHIBUYA' sees Aom on a trip to dimly lit bars in search of first love and the discovering transcience of love at first sight.

When asked how the band gained their popularity, TELEx TELEXs shared: "We’re one of the very first bands with this genre so it’s quite new to the listeners, but everyone seemed to be open about it. The lyrics are also about issues that normally happen in our society, so they're easily understandable and people love it because of their relatability."

2018 saw TELEx TELEXs releasing their debut album ENOUGH FOR LONELINESS AND INTERNET TODAY as a respite from the fatigue-inducing realms of social media. Heading in the direction of dream pop and their emerging narratives of running away from reality, the album showcases their sound with greater depth and intentions to experiment with the layering of diverse sounds.

With tracks such as 'O-O (ooh)', '1991-1993', and 'Friend Name Loneliness (01.23 AM)' teasing listeners with the extensive use of echo and reverb, the lines of alternative, synthpop, and dream pop were essentially blurred. To the band, the entirety of the 13-track album was a testament of their abilities to put a full-length album together.

"[The album was] just like another step out of our comfort zone. We put stories that we like into this album and also added loneliness from social media,"

New doors then opened for TELEx TELEXs in the summer of 2019 when they performed for the 20th anniversary of Summer Sonic in Tokyo. Performing to a starry-eyed international crowd at one of Asia's most prominent summer music festivals is still a memory etched in the band's minds which they consider to be the highlight in their musical journey to date.

"We’re so glad we got to perform in a foreign country and we had so much fun! It’s like a challenge or even a dream that we could achieve by playing Thai songs in a foreign country," they said.

[If this year, change to: Earlier this month] In October, the band released their first English single 'JUNE', an upbeat cheery tune reminding one of the summer that just passed. Followed by mellow b-side 'RAIN' which was also written in English, four of their English singles cumulated in their EP Yes I'm 25 and Single

TELEx TELEXs' singles from earlier this year take on a relatively minimalistic approach towards harmony and saw the band experimenting with percussive synths and fast-paced rhythms. With regards to their latest single ‘รถไฟเที่ยวสุดท้าย (A Train from Now to Never)', the band shared that it tells the story of falling in love with someone at the bar and wishing for him/her to board the last train with them.

On long nights that never seem to find their ends, find TELEx TELEXs along the vibrant Khaosan Road slurping on bowls of Chicken Khao Soi. Unanimously the band's favourite dish, the piping hot northern Thai coconut curry noodle soup with chicken is their companion in their after-practice hours.

"Next, we are going to put out a new album and maybe our own large-scale tour for the first time in our lifetimes," the band said.

Till the next time we hear from TELEx TELEXs, listen to their debut album ENOUGH FOR LONELINESS AND INTERNET TODAY here:


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