"It’s like when you’re driving through a godforsaken part of the American Midwest and you get to a level crossing and there’s a really long train that’s going on for ages. It’s a bit like that, but if it was a toy train. It’s relentless. It’s a relentless toy train.” Telegram guitarist Matt Wood is describing the band’s forthcoming debut single ‘Follow’. Radar would say it’s more like a never-ending freight train. But hey, Telegram (completed by singer Matt Saunders, bassist Oli Paget-Moon and drummer Jordan Cook) aren’t about saying or doing the obvious.
Consider two of the Londoners’ first three gigs, for instance. Rather than hitting the grotty pub circuit, they played in a vintage shop and then live on national radio to tens of thousands of BBC 6Music listeners for Marc Riley’s show. How did that come about? “Our friend persuaded Oli to text in during Charlie [Boyer]’s session when he was drunk,” explains Saunders. “He read it out and was like, ‘Charlie, what’s all this about Telegram then?’ And Charlie was like, ‘Actually they’re bloody great.’” Cook chips in: “He [Riley] took a chance on us. We sent him a recording using an iPhone recorder. So an iPhone recording from a practice was our first demo, and a Marc Riley session was our second.”
The London quartet’s short history is full of such idiosyncrasies. They formed a year ago, when Saunders, Wood and Cook were “sharing a bottle of WKD, playing ‘Needles In The Camel’s Eye’ by Brian Eno, and thought, ‘Let’s start a band like this!’” On the subject of their indefinable music, Moon says: “Lots of people try and call it psych-rock or shoegaze, but… I mean, we just wear boots – bootgaze!” And their look? Moon again: “We were playing a gig in Mayfair and this guy saw Matt [Wood] as he was coming around the corner and just went, ‘JESUS CHRIST!’”
One thing is obvious, though: this lot have the tunes, the live show, the gob and the aesthetic to ensure their relentless toy train goes the distance.
NEED TO KNOW
For Fans Of: Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, Roxy Music, Toy
Buy it now: Debut single ‘Follow’ is released on their own Gram Gram Records label on September 23
Believe it or not: Oli and Matt Wood both used to be in Roxy Music tribute band Proxy Music. “The only song we all like is Roxy Music’s ‘Angel Eyes’ – the extended 12-inch version,” says Wood. “Anyone that doesn’t is a bellend”