In this special What’s Going On interview, we’re introducing you to the hottest new synth-pop duo, Telly! Comprising Ashley Claude (vocals, production) and Max Solomon (guitar, synths, sfx, production), this rising pair is the next twosome to follow in the long-hallowed tradition of electronic music duos. With a unique blend of shoegaze, dream pop, and electronic/dance-pop, Telly is getting serious buzz with its latest release “BLINK.” The single not only showcases the band’s musical gifts but also showcases Telly’s perspective on FOMO and digital overload in the social media age. We caught up with Telly to find out their origin story, their inspirations, and what listeners can expect from them next.
Tell us, how did Telly come to be?
Telly: We met in college while playing in different bands, mix in the shoegaze/dream pop world and Shlee was leaning more on the indie rock/bedroom pop side of things. We knew we always wanted to create something together and tried blending our sonic palettes to find something new to us. It did take a few years of trying different things, a lot of our early ideas either didn’t feel genuine, didn’t feel exciting, or were just not very good. But our work now has been this fun, energizing, dreamy landscape that we’re both (finally) very excited about.
There are a ton of great electronic synth-pop duos of the past. Yazoo, Soft Cell, Pet Shop Boys, Röyksopp, Goldfrapp, etc. Were you inspired by any of them? If not, which artists do you look to for inspiration?
Telly: We’re definitely indebted to all of the synth-pop pioneers you mentioned, but we often look toward newer sounds for inspiration. Sound-wise we were really struck by the Jam City album Pillowland that came out a couple of years ago. Duo-wise though, it would be silly not to mention Frou Frou or Sylvan Esso, as they’ve both been huge for us as well.
In a humorous way, your new single “BLINK” kind of skewers the digital moment that we’re all currently in and that feeling of FOMO. What inspired the making of this song?
Telly: We wrote this song during the pandemic when the disconnect between online life and real life was obviously amplified. The song is kind of toying with that anxiety of wondering if you’re missing out on something and worrying about what other people think about you but simultaneously saying whatever to all of it.
What was your favorite part of recording “BLINK?”
Telly: We spent a day recording vocals for this song and had that feeling that nothing we did was lining up with how the demo sounded and were aiming to recreate that first-take quality. Then we had the idea to get really quiet with the vocal takes, almost to a whisper which added a cool breathy quality, kind of Planet 1999-esque. It was the last piece of the puzzle we were looking for.
And lastly, what can listeners expect next from Telly?
Telly: More 🙂
“BLINK” is the lead single from our upcoming EP, EPISODE 1. The next single, “Arena Gates,” comes out 9/6 and we’re really excited about this one. It’s both darker and poppier than “BLINK” and we can’t wait to share it. Stay tuned!