Because meets Anglo-Welsh four piece, Telegram, the latest players in the expanding circle of glammy-kraut-psych groups emerging out of London’s east end. There’s Matt Wood on guitar, Oli Paget-Moon on bass, Jordan Cook on drums and Matt Saunders on vocals. Clad head-to-toe in leathers and suedes, with wide collared shirts, eyeliner and shaggy hair aplenty, they look as though they’ve just stepped off a Saint Laurent runway. But these guys are more than just a stylish, 70s-throwback band. Formed on a drunken whim and after a year or so on the circuit, their story really began when Charlie Boyer & The Voyeurs championed them during a BBC Radio 6 session with Marc Riley. Riley took a chance and invited the boys to the studio and it’s since been a succession of releases, festival dates and world tours. To mark the release of their new single “Aeons” we chat to Saunders to find out how it all came together.
How did you guys meet?
We’re from all over the place, we’ve got Bermuda, Bristol, Wolverhampton and Caerphilly but are all based in Hackney. Myself, Oli and Matt met through mutual friends at a party. We bonded over WKD and Needles In The Camel’s Eye by Brian Eno and decided to start a band. We actually came up with the band name there and then. Just kind of by happenstance, rather than anything premeditated.
We plugged away at songs for a couple of months, trying out drummers but none of them were really... cutting the mustard. There was one guy who couldn’t drum, one guy didn’t want to talk to us, and there was this one guy who was really into Taekwondo. Or at least, he looked like he was when he drummed. It was funny. But then a friend recommended Jordan, and told us that he could play anything. He was in the middle of his degree and living with his parents in Bristol, and would have to megabus it back and forth to rehearsals. Jordan was also in almost every band in Bristol but we managed to convince him to leave his college and his family. We snapped him up. His folks have replaced him with a husky.
You guys have been together almost two years now, what was your first show like?
It was in Paper Dress, a vintage shop in east London. There’s some video footage of it online but we were set up in the window and it was quite early in the evening, still quite light outside and you can see the people and buses passing. Thinking back it all feels a bit surreal because just a year later we were picking up visas to go and play at a festival in Japan with Suede, Childhood and Peace. Just never imagined that that’s what we’d be doing so early on.
So things gathered momentum quite quickly then?
Yeah, it’s been a whirlwind. We’ve done a lot in a short amount of time. Bit by bit we stopped working on other projects and work that’s kept us going and poured our energy into the band as it’s picked up.
And it all started with that Marc Riley session?
That was actually the first thing we did after the gig in the shop. Actually, that was the first time we’d really heard the songs back ourselves. We couldn’t afford to record demos and even in rehearsals we weren’t able to record them to a level where we could decipher anything. Marc’s been really good. That session was an amazing catalyst for us. Having that so early on really helped us out. He’s a really great guy, willing to take risks.
Text by Nazanin Shahnavaz