Leaping from synth wave to the digital age, Alex Teleko drinks in addictive 80s melody and convulses to the maddening beats and bleeps of the contemporary era.
A by-product, birthed in the ceaseless surge of an intense digital labyrinth, 22-year-old ALEX TELEKO coolly steps onto the scene breathing words radiating a reluctant truth we flinch from. But it’s not entirely confrontational. His artistry also possesses a narcissistically relatable demur that we can’t help but concede to.
Based in Liverpool, this modern innovator takes his self-designed concepts and manipulates them in a way that reveals his lust for digital emotion: “I’ve written music in many styles for a long time, but recently I’ve been trying to draw human emotion out of a computer instead.”
A self-proclaimed crooner who produces “midi ballads in synthesis”, Teleko is not one to sugar-coat the reality we share. A realist who strives towards challenging the general perception of contemporary music, while also keeping his feet on the ground, he tells us that his creative intellect hasn’t always resided in music. “I much preferred the idea of becoming a train driver or a firefighter. However, some aspirations are unobtainable, so creating music seemed like a stable fallback plan.” Big aspirations steered his path, noting a wish to support the fondly-remembered Europop of Steps, because, “Why not?”
Photo by Luke Parry
As far as inspiration goes, he is his own muse. That is not to say further musical influence is obsolete. “My head has always been very scatterbrain, so I would absorb anything that had a strong melody or hook,” he explains. “That could be anything from police sirens echoing from outside to chart-topping singles on the radio, so I don’t think I could pinpoint one piece of music, purely because everything with a musical nature acts as a form of inspiration.”
Spurred on by an inwardly pleasing writing style, he goes on to explain how “songwriting can be so selfish at times, especially when you’re dealing with your own emotions and experiences, which I regularly interject into what I create”. It’s this strong sense of narcissism that some believe makes Teleko so delightfully appropriate for listeners nowadays: he accommodates them with a real human voice they can associate with, all the while still serving hard-hitting, bassy synths.
That being said, Teleko admits to enjoying the more mischievous side of production: “I like to use my writing as a form of people watching, too, stalking the odd habits and tendencies of others, it provides some sense of entertainment.” Not just a theme in his writing, this also makes an appearance in performance: “I very much enjoy playing Call Me Digital. I like how, despite its upbeat exterior, there is a tormented and sick meaning at the centre of the song. It’s a good juxtaposition to me, to have something abrasive and visceral mixed with what is a seemingly pleasant surroundings. It probably says a lot about me subliminally.”
Having performed mainly in Liverpool – with the exception of the odd anomaly – Moon Duo at the Invisible Wind Factory and Future Yard Festival have been notable highlights. Ultimately his favourite would be the former, despite the fact that it was “bordering on temperatures parallel with the Arctic Circle, but it’s an amazing space”. It’ll take more than temperature to halt Teleko’s infatuation with live performance, however, as he has a number of shows lined up to round off 2019, beginning with the Merseyrail Sound Station showcase at Liverpool Central on 30th November.
Which other artists does Teleko think others should be made aware of? “Die Orangen are one of the great acts coming out on Malka Tuti, an experimental label based across Europe with its roots in Tel Aviv. Khidja and Tapan are others on their roster that are worth checking out.”
It’s safe to say that, with taste this eclectic, there are inspiring things to come from this young emerging artist.
Alex Teleko plays at Liverpool Central station on 30th November for Merseyrail Sound Station Live. He also supports Natalie McCool at Arts Club on 14th December.