IDM Pioneer Telefon Tel Aviv Kick Off India Tour This Month
Producer and instrumentalist Joshua Eustis, who has been part of bands such as Nine Inch Nails and Puscifer, on Indian music, his debut tour in the country and releasing new material
At the turn of the millennium, American electronic music duo Telefon Tel Aviv released Fahrenheit Fair Enough, a robotically glitchy, ambient and well-paced collection of songs that many would count as their introduction to what became known as “intelligent dance music”. While the term itself still remains loaded, artists such as Telefon Tel Aviv and Aphex Twin certainly became successful for a multi-layered sound that reflected moods like few other genres.
With a total of five albums by 2009, Telefon’s co-founder Charles Cooper’s unexpected death in the same year cast more spotlight on the artist as well as its future. While Eustis became part of industrial rock giants Nine Inch Nails for their 2013 shows and even joined prog band Tool’s frontman Maynard James Keenan in Puscifer, Telefon Tel Aviv was brought back to the fore in 2016, with Eustis announcing live shows and material in the works.
The comeback brings Telefon Tel Aviv to India this September, for three shows in Mumbai (September 7th), New Delhi (September 8th) and Bengaluru (September 9th) put together by artist and event management agency Mixtape. Ahead of his run of shows, we caught up with Eustis about coming to India and the future of Telefon Tel Aviv.
What is it like making your way down to India?
I never imagined I’d get to play music in India and I’m pinching myself to see if it’s real.
Specifically, what can you tell me about your influences from Indian music, if any? Are you going to go digging and buy some records while you’re here?
Inayat Khan is a powerful influence on me, personally, and his writings and approach have helped shape how I think about music, for sure. I’m also a huge fan of Charanjit Singh and Debashish Bhattacharya, real musical heroes. If I have time I very well might dig for records…
You mentioned in an interview a few years ago about how the live shows are often more “rock” than they come across on the records – does that still hold true for Telefon shows?
Probably not. Since it’s just me, it’s hard for it to be “rock” so now it sort of goes off into “weird.”
How has being part of projects such as Puscifer influenced you? What’s the most enriching part about projects like those?
Puscifer is so much fun because it’s really being part of a team, and trusting others completely. I like to give that trust, and I like when it’s given to me. That makes playing in a group a really rewarding experience, and allows room for growth, and learning, and not just the drudgery of work.
“Something Akin to Lust” was out a few months ago–what was it like putting something out under the Telefon Tel Aviv name after such a long time? Does the name itself bring with it certain self-created expectations?
It absolutely burdens me with self-created expectations—and I’m trying to get rid of those, speaking honestly. Releasing new music always feels terrific, though, and once it’s out, I don’t really care about whatever my expectations were.
Are there more releases you’re working on? Or was this just to test the waters?
I’ve been working on new Telefon Tel Aviv material for years now – “Something Akin to Lust” must made sense on the compilation with [record label] 79A, so I gave it to them. It is, in a way, a sort of “mission statement” with where I’m headed stylistically, so in THAT way maybe it’s testing waters, but only artistically.
What is your set going to be like on these set of shows in India and in Asia? Is it all pre-decided or spontaneous?
It will depend on the crowd, and the night. I have a strong idea of where I’d like to start, and where I’d like to go, but I change things sometimes in the middle, depending on how I feel. Sometimes I just don’t want to play this particular song, but I really want to play this other one…
What else have you got planned while you’re in India for the tour?
Channa masala and lentil dal every day if possible!
Telefon Tel Aviv India Tour 2017
September 7th – Antisocial, Mumbai w/Aqua Dominatrix, Burudu
September 8th – Antisocial, New Delhi w/Aqua Dominatrix, Corridors
September 9th – The Humming Tree, Bengaluru w/Aqua Dominatrix, Ape Machines
Hear Fahrenheit Fair Enough below: