How a great flood inspired Telepathy's new album

Telepathy band promo photo

Colchester’s post-metal/doom lords Telepathy are releasing their second album Tempest on March 31, and Metal Hammer is exclusively premiering the new video for Smoke From Distant Fires. Filmed on the wonderfully bleak British coastline, it depicts a man trying to come to terms his isolation before embarking on an epic journey into the unknown. Tying in to the album’s theme of a great flood, destroying all in its path, Telepathy have created a rich, colourful story to lose yourself in.

To give a deeper understanding of the band’s vision and the new album, we spoke to bassist Teddy-James Driscoll.

What is the story behind the song Smoke From Distant Fires?

“Smoke From Distant Fires was one of the first songs we set to work on during the writing sessions for Tempest, but it ended up taking us six months to finish. We knew we wanted it to be the album’s opener and set the tone for the rest of the record, so it was important for us to get the right feel as the track marks the start of the protagonist’s terror and confusion.”

What is the meaning behind the video?

“There’s no real ‘meaning’ behind the video in the traditional sense of the word. The crux of the story in the video is that this person has awoken terrified and alone but through desperation has embarked on a journey beyond his own comprehension, instinctively guided by a force both ethereal and seemingly unattainable. We wanted something that would embody the concept of the album and represent the fundamentals of it visually, but we couldn’t fit the entire story of Tempest into an eight-minute video, so we had to take some creative liberties to make it all tie in as a cohesive work.”

What is it about the English coast that works so well with post-metal?

“The archetypal post-metaI ‘sound’ has a lot of space, elegance and rugged power to it. I think that perhaps the panoramic expanse of coastline scenery combined with the perennial power of the ocean serves to illustrate the dynamic sonic aspects of post-metal perfectly. A visual example of long, rippling passages of tranquillity effortlessly usurped by sudden bursts of bleak, crushing violence is perhaps best understood when observing the coastline.”

What is the meaning behind that inverted diamond?

“That we’ll be keeping to ourselves.”

Explain the idea behind Tempest’s rather bleak concept.

Tempest tells the story of a person tormented by grief and faced with absolute seclusion after awaking from a great flood to find everything they’ve ever known has been washed away. It depicts the protagonist’s journey through awakening, desolation, and eventually acceptance of the situation. The concept can either be taken very literally or metaphorically, and hopefully people will be able to relate it to their own lives or situations. Even if they enjoy the music sans concept, we couldn’t be happier.”

How do you decide on creating such a vast concept?

“We all decided on the concept about three or four songs in to the writing process for Tempest. We demo the songs as we go and listen to them a lot while we’re not working on them to determine the mental picture that the music makes us envision. We have no lyrical concept to work from so we’ll work out the common themes that recur in each of our minds and develop the idea from there. Water and devastation were two of the themes we all envisioned so we built the concept around them initially, it then took on a life of its own and we started the incorporate these themes into everything we wrote for the record.”

What was it like working with Jaime Gomez Arellano?

“Working with Gomez was an absolute pleasure. We recorded the base tracks for the album live in early 2016, and returned later in the summer to his new countryside studio to add the finishing touches. It was a new experience for us to record residentially, and we found it very helpful to be able to immerse ourselves in the whole process. The sessions were all about getting the perfect sound before we hit record and Gomez’s passion, his ear for tone and honesty have helped make this album what it is.”

How does Tempest compare to your debut album?

Tempest is a much heavier album both sonically and thematically than 12 Areas. For lack of better terms, there is a lot more space and depth to the material, something we wanted to add after the more chaotic 12 Areas. It’s a far more emotional journey and some of the more overt technicality has been replaced by strong riffs and big melodies to help convey this more emotional approach.”

Why do you think post-metal is going through something of a boom period at the moment?

“I’m sure everyone says this, but we don’t consider ourselves to be a strictly ‘post-metal’ band. We have definitely taken influence from the genre and blended it with other things to create something that is, hopefully, new.

“There are a lot of bands at the moment pushing this genre into new territories and this could be a large part of the reason for its resurgence. For a long time the genre seemed to become stale with a lot of similar bands and a reliance on the now formulaic build-up and climax song structure, and I think it’s become a lot more interesting and progressive in recent times. This, coupled with the emergence of a few small festivals catering to the underground, could be the reason.”

Telepathy’s new album Tempest is released March 31, via Golden Antenna Records.

The band head out on tour this April at the following dates:

Apr 1: Rebellion, Manchester
Apr 2: Mulberry Tavern, Sheffield
Apr 5: Temple Of Boom, Leeds
Apr 6: The Black Heart, London
Apr 7: Scruffy Murphys, Birmingham
Apr 8: The Louisiana, Bristol
Apr 9: The Cluny, Newcastle
Apr 21: Roadburn Festival, Tilburg

Post-metal isn't the hipster genre you think it is

Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.