Singer Pamela Martinez’s voice is the strong thread
that holds these multitextured songs together. Listen to the powerful ballad
“Distant Places” as it builds to an aching climax, or the delicate
“ampm two” where she sings over a simple piano line and strings,
and you will find them equally moving. Teletextile writes beautiful chamber
pop with wonderful theatrics but none of the hokey melodrama.
Who in the band is classically trained, and how do
you think that affects your approach to crafting rock music?
We all had some kind of musical immersion since childhood.
Dan (guitar) played trumpet in the school band, Brian (keys and gizmos) learned
piano as a teenager before becoming obsessed with synthesized sounds, and Luke
(drums) has studied music all over the world. I started playing piano at seven,
soon after violin, then guitar, then harp, then whatever else I could get my
hands on. I didn't take it very seriously, back then I never practiced. I liked
the sound of the instruments more than the sound of the music I was playing.
So I started to write my own music. That's how I got addicted I guess. Both
classical music and electronic music easily allows for someone to become hung
up on details which fits my personality, but in the end I write what I write
and I don't really know where it comes from.
How do you include dance and video in your live shows?
The group has worked with a lot of different artists. Usually
I start talking about some new idea I have, then someone gets interested or
passes the word on. A designer friend of mine was making me an outfit for a
show who introduced me to Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls. Amanda, by chance,
met a dancer who wanted to work with Teletextile. Then one of my dancers introduced
me to a video artist who did live feeds at the shows. It goes on from there.
Collaborating is a big part of who I am as an artist. I have
overwhelming curiosity, and it gives me an adrenaline rush to expose myself
to new ways of thinking. By entering someone else's world I become double stitched,
triple stitched, bulk stitched, secure and complex. I've worked with everything
from painters, to photographers, to electronic groups, to string orchestras
- just because we like an idea.
Pamela, tell us about you non-music work. We hear
you’ve got a knack for fashion design.
Well I'm not a fashion designer, but I make stuff - stuff to
wear, stuff to look at, stuff to feel, and stuff to hear. I've worked with a
few designers most of which are interested in the idea of reuse, reconstruction,
and recycling materials. My fashion is more about identity within a culture.
Personally I'm very attracted to string, knots, and raw fabric. It's very symbolic
for me. Right now I work with Mary Catalina at Vintageloftnyc. Mary was named
one of the most influential people in fashion by New York Magazine. It's a huge
vintage clothing archive. Designers like Anna Sui and Marc Jacobs come visit
You've got ties to Boston where some of you schooled
and made music before moving to NYC. Where do you feel more at home?
New York's my jam, but Boston had its perks. I met Brian at
Berklee. We were roommates, schoolmate, and bandmates with an incestuous pool
of people, many of whom have bands in NYC now: Via Audio, Tiger City, Elizabeth
& the Catapult, Zigmat, St. Vincent, Rice Boy Sleeps and on and on.
Is your guitarist really named Dan McCool?
Yeah, but I usually call him McAwesome.