Interview with Truth Teller
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
For me, it was Muse’s album, Absolution. I initially started off playing piano solely because of how huge Apocalypse Please sounded. A few years after I picked up guitar and this became my main instrument. My grandparents supported me massively, taking me to piano lessons and buying me my first guitar, and I definitely wouldn’t be in this position without them.
If I hadn’t got into music and a band I’d probably have a lot more time and money! And a lot less happiness.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I like to play video games, most of us in the band do. I’m pretty addicted to Destiny 2 at the minute, but with the band, a 9-5, and a nearly 2 year old son, I don’t get a lot of time to play!
How long has your band been around?
We started up prior to the COVID lockdown in the UK as a band called MARV, so nearly three years. We’ve had our current name and lineup for about a year now.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We’re all from around the Norwich, UK area. The music scene struggled here as a result of COVID, as most places in the UK did, and is struggling with the rising cost in living right now. But I think this has led to a bit of resurgence in loud angry music, and I think the honesty in our lyrics and music is cathartic - at least for us!
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
‘TRUTHTELLER’ was a reaction to the very open, very honest lyrics we’d been writing up to that point. We’re a band that talks about personal issues without rose-tinted glasses. We don’t hide our insecurities to fit an image - we embrace them so that our music can reflect who we are. And that’s something you can’t do without being authentic. Something you can’t do without telling the truth.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
My most memorable show is probably seeing Gallows pre-Orchestra of Wolves in a tiny venue in Norwich. There were only about 10 people in the crowd, but it was one of the most high energy gigs I have ever been to, I’ve never seen a band command such energy. I’ll never come close, but I like to try and emulate that energy with every gig I play.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Voodoo Daddy’s in Norwich is a fantastic venue and has earned itself a bit of a reputation in the local area as the place to see new and upcoming local bands.
Obviously we want to aspire to play places like Wembley and the O2, but more realistically I’ve always aimed for a support slot at our local ‘big’ venue, the UEA LCR. For me, having seen so many bands there over the years who have gone onto massive things (Biffy Clyro, Taking Back Sunday, Foals), it would be a lifelong dream come true.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Architects would be an obvious choice to headline, with Godspeed You! Black Emperor opening, and Tool as main support. TRUTHTELLER will slot in wherever we can!
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Commit. It’s a young man’s game, the less responsibilities you have outside of the band the easier it is. Juggling a career and a family with a band is difficult, to say the least. I wouldn’t change it for the world, but I wish I had had the desire and opportunity to commit to something musical when younger. That and go to as many local shows as you can, become friends with other bands, with other artists, a good network is invaluable.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
For me, it’s a song we’re currently working on called Blackout. Ewan has smashed it with the lyrics on this song, reflecting on the existential crises we all face, along with the anxiety that comes with these, and the seeming apathy by those with power to actually deal with those problems.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
We get a lot of requests to play an older song, Money, but I think as a band we feel that we have grown past some of our older stuff. Fire is probably up there as a favourite to play, when that riff kicks in you can see the crowd react to it.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
It’s a collaborative process and no one takes full responsibility for everything. Our guitarists, myself and Chris, often come up with an instrumental track which our bassist, Martyn, will make some structural tweaks to. Our singer, Ewan, then adds vocals and lyrics to which our drummer, Joe, acts as an editor, making notes and suggesting new ideas.
Our songs cover a mixture of topics, but messy relationships, mental health and lockdown have all been featured so far.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Those of introspection. I think we all struggle with our inner demons, and we like to approach them with a sense of hopefulness and aggression. Sometimes it’s ok to say ‘fuck you’ to your problems.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
We often have disagreements! Should this part have more or less energy, should it be longer or shorter, does this lyric work or not? We treat it diplomatically, unless anyone has any particularly strong feelings about it one way or the other we’ll go with the popular vote. This is where having five members helps!
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Our second EP is releasing on the 26th of August. In some ways this feels like a debut EP, a real statement of the ‘TRUTHTELLER’ sound.
We’ve already been recording our third EP and it’s sounding even bigger.