Discover more from On Repeat by Kevin Alexander
5 Questions With: Telemarket
The Athens, Georgia indie rock band stop by to talk about their latest record, and what's to come.
Today we’re talking with Athens GA based Telemarket
Athens, Georgia, needs no introduction here. The list of bands from this part of the world is a long one. R.E.M…The B52’s…Drive by Truckers… Pylon.. all got their start here and made the city their home. Some never left.
Today, an entirely new generation of bands is earning a spot on the roster. They may be standing on the shoulders of the bands that came before them, but make no mistake; they’re making their own sounds and creating their own space.
Telemarket is one such band.
The indie pop outfit recently released their debut LP, Ad Nauseam. With 13 tracks in just over 34 minutes, they waste no time taking us on a feedback-laden psych-rock ride.
People always say Athens is something like 1,000 musicians and 10,000 bands. People are always starting projects and enlisting their friends to play. Telemarket is very much an opportunity for me to make music with some of my closest friends in the world and that means a great deal to me.
The record covers some not-so-fun themes- “Who Was In My Room Last Night” was inspired by a break in at the shared home of frontman Adam Wayton and guitarist/engineer Will Wise.
The LP’s first single is about love found & loss. “‘Anything to You’ is a tale of heartache and humor combined with pop hooks. It’s about falling so head-over-heels for someone that you fail to release how bad of a person they actually are.” Songwriter Wayton explains. “Sometimes you lose sight of yourself when you throw your heart at something, and you’ll ask yourself, ‘Why did I care so much when they didn’t care at all?’. This track is about dodging that bullet and being able to laugh about it after the fact.”
But everything’s better with friends, and Ad Nauseam features several collaborations with Wayton’s friends from around town.
The result is a record full of twists, turns, and catchy hooks.
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I recently had a chance to catch up with Wayton via email. In a wide-ranging chat, we discuss the band’s origin story, the new record, and what’s next for the group.
Our chat has been lightly edited for clarity/flow.
KA: Can you fill in a little bit of your backstory? Walk us through what made you get started playing. Are there any other bands that you are/were involved in?
AW: Telemarket has been my first real attempt at putting together a band. Everything came together when I moved back from living in the Netherlands for a little in 2016. I bought a ‘92 burgundy mist Fender Strat with my student loans and decided it was time to put some effort behind playing and making music.
I had just started the Music Business program at UGA and met Hunter Pinkston (Bass) while we were both interning at New West Records. We hit it off and started playing in one another’s bands. Hunter and I still play together in the Pink Stones and are signed to the same label we met at with that band, which is pretty cool.
Jack Colclough (Drums) and I found each other on Craigslist, which is pretty funny considering how close we’ve gotten playing music together over the last six-plus years. Hunter, Jack, and I were the first iteration of Telemarket, with our first EP, “What’s Behind You?” being just the three of us.
Since then, Will Wise (guitar) and Josie Callahan (Keys, Organs, and Vocals) have joined the group. Will produced and recorded our second EP, “You Deserve a Hard Day’s Work After a Long Night’s Rest,” in one of our spare bedrooms when we lived together on Vine St. in Athens.
Since then, we’ve spent a lot of time working on projects and recording together in our new studio on Odd St. He joined the band playing guitar after that last EP, and we recorded our new record together during the shutdown. It was a cool and highly collaborative process, with many 3 a.m. nights spent putting our heads together, coming up with song production ideas, and making a lot of noise. Josie also joined for the new album, singing and playing on the record and in the band. It’s great to have someone with a pretty voice to counter me yelling and coughing up gravel. Josie and I play together in her project Honeypuppy as well.
KA: Athens is obviously a city with a rich music history. Who’s playing right now that we should have on our radar?
AW: There’s always a lot of music happening in Athens, which is awesome. My favorites include Immaterial Possession, Sex Cells, Good Host, Bog Bod, Nuclear Tourism, and Rubber Udder. Also, a special shoutout to John Fernandes (who put out the record on Cloud recordings played with Olivia Tremor Control and Circulatory System) for his solo clarinet sets. Highly recommend checking that out… It’s otherworldly.
Not Athens, but other Georgia acts I’m a big fan of would be Arbor Labor Union, Sword II, Kibi James, Smalltalk, and Basically Nancy.
KA: Is the scene there still close-knit/cooperative?
AW: People always say Athens is something like 1,000 musicians and 10,000 bands. People are always starting projects and enlisting their friends to play. Telemarket is very much an opportunity for me to make music with some of my closest friends in the world, and that means a great deal to me. We really look up to the folks in Elephant 6, and it’s quite cool to work with John for our new record.
KA: What's next for the band? What does the rest of 2023 look like for you?
AW: We’re playing a few shows in Baltimore and New York with a group I’m a big fan of from Baltimore called Powerwasher. 9.7 in Baltimore, 9.8 in NYC, 9.10 in Brooklyn. Past that, we’ll play a few shows around the south, and I’m starting work on a new album… another concept album, with this one being mainly focused on grief and the strange way it affects people. I’m doing this one completely to tape, and I’m excited to get it out in the world next.
Telemarket | Ad Nauseam, 2023
To connect with the band or get your copy of the record, click here:
1. Describe your music style in one sentence.
I have trouble focusing on one thing in life, which shines through in my musical taste and writing. I like subverting expectations, surprising people and myself, and changing styles and methods to serve the specific song.
2. What music played in your house(s) growing up?
My dad liked a lot of ’70s hard rock, especially Led Zeppelin. Listening to music with my dad is great because he gets very enthusiastic about whatever's on (as he does with most things in life). We’d listen to the Violent Femmes together a lot. My mom liked a lot of rock and funk but also some softer stuff… I have an affinity for America and Bread after repeatedly listening to their discographies on road trips.
3. What are you listening to these days?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Harry Nilsson, Velvet Underground (always), Spirit of the Beehive, Sham (from Asheville), Wednesday, Devendra Banhart, The Breeders, Funkadelic, and Meat Puppets.
4. What are your 5 Desert Island Discs?
Paul and Linda McCartney- Ram
My Bloody Valentine- Loveless
Velvet Underground- Loaded
Yo La Tengo- I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One
Patsy Cline- Showcase
5. If you could collaborate with any artist/band, who would it be?
Paul McCartney! We could make a whole record together about eating Vegetables.
Thanks to Adam & Telemarket for stopping by, and thank you for being here,