The new single from Gold Coast’s own purveyors of post-punk, coldwave and industrial, Tesla Cøils, was released yesterday, July 17, 2020. Songwriter, musician and vocalist Jed A. Walters has finally emerged from his self-isolation cocoon with a high-energy track – an ode to introversion, anxiety and alienation.
THE PARTY is a hard-hitting cry of desperation, with pummeling post-punk rhythms, aggressive bass and a washy haze of synth, guitar and tape sounds. Walters’ commanding baritone (channeling Peter Murphy, Ian Curtis and Andrew Eldritch) describes feelings of anxiousness, paranoia and alienation when attending a social gathering. “I wrote the party a long time ago, when I was in such a poor mental state that the simple act of being at a social gathering was excruciating” exclaims Jed.
“Anxiety does different things to different people, but for me, it had the potential to make me believe that everyone hated me, that they thought I was weird or were judging me whenever I attended a party. After a particularly bad experience I went home and did some research, and it turned out that a lot of people go through this kind of thing. I wrote this track to hopefully help them feel that they are not alone. It’s ok to be shy, it’s ok to be introverted and it doesn’t mean you have to suffer in this extrovert world”.
THE PARTY’s quick smart pop structure takes the listener through this despair-filled gathering. Throughout the verses – punctuated by throbbing Moog bass and Neubauten-esque scrap metal hits – Walters narrates, “I felt just like an alien, standing in the corner of the party”. “There’s a special little lyric for the dog lovers” exclaims Jed, “yeah I wondered what they would think of me, playing with the dog … being anxious at a party is always better when there is a dog involved.” He hits the melancholic truth about the impossible task of trying to connect past this alienation in the chorus; with an eruption of chorused-bass guitar chugs and shimmery guitar lines he shouts “I don’t relate/to the human race/I guess/I’m a socially awkward mess”.
Recorded at Walters’ own home studio, THE PARTY is another instance of his DIY approach to recording. However, this approach is expanding into new sonic territory. “My modest collection of synths and drum machines played a part in the production of this track,” Walters exclaims. “However, lately I’ve been incorporating more guitars and tape loops into my palette. Basically, I’m putting the bass guitar through distortion to get more aggression, playing the guitar sparsely through lots of echo to create an organic space for my vocals to live in, and using my cassette recorder to make noise textures that lurk here and there throughout the mix”.
And where is Chris Dennis, the hard-hitting drumsmith who has graced the stage with Walters up until this point? “Chris and I were looking forward to getting back together to create a brand new live show this year with fresh songs, instruments and technology,” says Jed, “but of course COVID-19 really threw a spanner in our works”. “We’re doing our best to stay safe,” adds Chris, “but as soon as we have the all clear to play live again, we can’t wait to be back onstage together with our new songs and live show”.
Accompanying the single is a home-made music video, filmed and cut by Walters and Dennis during the COVID-19 outbreak in Walters’ family home. “Originally, we wanted to stage an actual party and act out the song’s lyrics using actors, but that was obviously impossible due to COVID-19. We really thought about how we could still make an engaging video with very little space, people or resources” says Walters. Through harsh cuts and editing trickery, the video sees Walters and Dennis performing the song as different instrumentalist characters, acting out the song’s narrative, all from the comfort of a family living room.
This single is the next step into a new phase of the Tesla Cøils universe. By the end of 2019, Tesla Cøils had toured off the back of their sci-fi adventure song DINOSYNTH; played BIGSOUND Festival, Dead of Winter Festival, and Wallapalooza Festival; supported the Godfather of Goth himself Peter Murphy (Bauhaus); and were awarded the 2017 Gold Coast Music Award for Breakout Artist of the Year.
Shedding an old skin of childlike whimsy, THE PARTY marks the first stage of Tesla Cøils’ metamorphosis into something more mature, melancholic and visceral.
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