From “Mind Mischief” by Tame Impala to his own new track #runaway we chat with Tete about all things music
PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF FOR US WHO ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH YOU AND YOUR MUSIC AND TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.
I’m Tete, I’m a songwriter and musician from Bromley, and I’m trying to see how far I can take being a solo musician. I started writing lyrics when I was about 14, and pairing them with music a couple of years later. I’d probably say I make a lot of guitar pop and indie rock but with inflexions of other sounds and genres. I don’t want to be pigeonholed as a singular thing or as making one type of music so part of the enjoyment for me comes in seeking out new things to try on myself. If the jacket fits, you keep it on.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR SINGLE?
It’s called “Runaway” and I wrote it a few years ago. Sonically, it leans more towards the guitar-heavy stuff I like. The riff and lead line create this palpable tension in magmatic form before the chorus explodes and shows us a little bit what lava might sound like, but there’s a simplicity to it that, I think, is what’s drawn people towards it. When I first started writing these things, a lot of them were about escapism, and Runaway’s lyrics are a product of that a bit. Growing up in one place and being bound to it a little, it can be easy to see that as being your whole world. I’ve always wanted to branch out and see what might be over the wall, and “Runaway” is a challenge being thrown down to do that.
WHAT INSPIRED THE ALBUM OR SINGLE?
I see a lot of my songs as being a reminder to myself, either to do or not do something. When I talk to myself and think out loud, the thoughts kind of flow in the way that a lot of these lyrics ending up reading. Trappings come in different shapes, whether they be your excuses for your own behaviour or the people you surround yourself with. It can be all too easy to feel overly comfortable with where you’re at, so “Runaway” is kind of calling caution towards that feeling.
CAN YOU SUM UP THE SINGLE IN A FEW WORDS?
It’s got crunchy guitars and a big boy chorus, but I think the heart of the song is the breakdown and bridge. That’s where you’ll catch my meaning, if you hadn’t done before.
WHAT RECORD CHANGED YOUR LIFE AND WHY?
I’m gonna go for “The S.L.P.” by Sergio Lorenzo Pizzorno. A lot of people will know him for his work with Kasabian, but that record is by far my favourite of anything he’d ever done. I got the vinyl for Christmas just gone, it’s a beautiful present; the LP alone is so pretty to look at. Before hearing to it, I’d seen the different music I listened to as like renting different rooms in a flat and them never really interacting, keeping to themselves mostly. But hearing that, the way he’d pair and collate these disparate sounds within the tracklisting and even within in individual songs – I didn’t realise I wanted to hear a Smashing Pumpkins kinda riff over a Grandmaster Flash beat – but that’s the genius of it. Suddenly the riffs and chord progressions I was playing with, I could see a conduit between them and the beats I was making with friends. From then it stopped being either or and really just became and.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE MUSIC VIDEO FILMED BY YOUR BAND OR ANOTHER ARTIST?
I’ll never forget watching the video for “Mind Mischief” by Tame Impala for the first time. It was actually the first time I’d heard their stuff, you know, beyond catching the riff for “Elephant” on some car advert or something. A friend of mine had just gotten “Lonerism” on wax and I think we both fell face first into their stuff after that. I just love the set up and framing of the story, and where it goes from there. The symbolism of the depth of our fantasies and our willingness to give ourselves wholly to our infatuations, regardless of whether there’s any likelihood of it materialising. Even without that though, a lot of us know what it’s like fancying a teacher so its immediately relatable. If you’ve not already seen it I’d encourage you to.
WHAT WOULD WE FIND YOU DOING WHEN YOU’RE NOT MAKING MUSIC?
I watch a lot of films, I’m always making lists of things for myself to watch. I kinda just wanna consume as much as I can so I can be cinephile I’ve always wanted to be. Reading is big for me too. I want a massive bookcase when I move into a place of my own. I’m a huge football fan as well, it’s the only thing that comes close to my love of music and is maybe the thing I’ve been obsessed with the longest. I’m a Man Utd supporter, which isn’t as easy as when I was growing up but it could be worse, could’ve be an Arsenal fan. I’m big into cooking as well, trying out new recipes and that, I find calm and headspace in it.
DO YOU GET NERVOUS PERFORMING LIVE, IF SO HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT?
I don’t really get nervous to be honest. I’d never really shied away from performing or speaking in public as a child. Fortunately for me, the confidence to do those things seems to have come out of the packaging with me. Eagerness is probably what I most feel beforehand. The urge to get it all right and give a good account of ourselves. After two Guinness’s and a tequila though, you can’t stop me
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
I was playing in a band for a bit and that’s how I first heard of The Animal Farm. They seemed keen for us to record some songs with them and working alongside each other to see where we might end up taking it. That never quite happened, so when I was mulling over what next to do, I got in contact with them. They said to come back with some demos and when I did, they seemed excited about what they could possibly do. They were the first set of people, outside my inner circle, to be as excited about something I had done as I was, and that gave me the confidence to continue exactly as I was. I owe them greatly for that.
HOW DO YOU WRITE? – IS THERE ANYTHING YOU ALWAYS START WITH FIRST, OR DOES THE SONG DICTATE THAT?
All my songs start in different ways, and that’s what kinda keeps them interesting for me. I might be in the bath, humming a melody that evolves into a full lyric, or playing with loops and beat making, that can set me off with a rhythm section and backbone. I’m drawn to certain sounds, like everyone, so in order to challenge that I try to keep my choices fresh. If it’s a stock synth sound, I’ll try to play with the settings, just so it doesn’t sound exactly like something I’ve used before. If I’m bored, you’ll hear that, and more time that doesn’t get you the second date, does it?
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I’m inspired by musicians who have a clear understanding of what they want, how they want to present it and by people who are unashamedly themselves. Mixed messages aren’t cool, in any walk of life, so clarity of execution is at a premium, and that seems most readily available to the artists who are the masters of their ideas. On a basic level, though, I just want to make the music I’d want to listen to and make the people around me proud. Anything I can learn from, that’ll get me closer to that, can sit next to me.
WHAT IS NEXT?
I have another single, packed and ready for shipping, so hopefully that’ll be along in the near future. I also have ideas for the “Runaway” video, I’m hoping to get on with that soon too. I’m always writing and preparing for the next step so you can bet on me being ready for whatever that ends up being. Until then, I’ve got hearts to break and Caramac to eat.
PLEASE TELL US ANY SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS SO WE CAN SHARE.
My Instagram is: https://www.instagram.com/wheresyourtetat/?hl=en
Twitter is: https://twitter.com/wheresyourtetat
Facebook is: https://www.facebook.com/wheresyourtetat