- Ryan Drever
- 26 June 2009
Telekinesis - Coast of Carolina
Telekinesis is the now somewhat expanded solo project of Seattle native, Michael Benjamin Lerner. Inspired by travels, and the people and places of the world around him (including those he's never seen), the resulting sound is one of hope - bright, upbeat and dreamy, yet riddled with engaging lyricism and a barrage of folk-infused rock stomps. On the back of last year's Coast Of Carolina E.P, Lerner has since worked with Death Cab For Cutie's Chris Walla to produce his debut full length, which is set for release next month and almost certainly destined to grab the attention of those with ears already attuned the likes of DCFC, The Shins, and Brendan Benson. That being said, this album shows potential to rival its peers and will no doubt waste no time infiltrating overseas.
In the meantime however, here's Michael Lerner, who puts it all so much better himself.
What first got you into music? Were you in bands or any other musical projects before Telekinesis?
Well, I grew up around music. My father was a DJ on morning radio here in Seattle for thirty years, and for my entire childhood, so, I remember from a very early age hearing lots of music and going to see lots of shows. That got me interested in the drums, which I started playing about 10 years ago. I remember starting to play in bands when I was 13 or 14 - playing in bars and such when I was way too young to drink. It was so fun! I played drums in a lot of bands around Seattle before starting Telekinesis.
How did you decide on the name?
It just popped in my head one day. I remember thinking, 'Wow, the idea of Telekinesis being possible is totally nuts! Can people really bend spoons only with their mind? What's all this about random number generators!? Crazy!'
Though there are obvious references to people and places, what exactly would you say has inspired your debut album - both musically and lyrically?
Well, a lot of it had to do with my girlfriend living so far away. She lives in North Carolina currently, and that distance really inspired a lot lyrically. Also, since a lot of the songs were written in the darkest, dingiest, and smelliest rehearsal room in Seattle, it was easy to dream of far off places. Musically, I remember listening to a lot of Pavement - Brighten The Corners and Slanted and Enchanted. Whether or not that seeped in at all, I'm not so sure.
Do you have a favourite song of yours?
I think I'm most proud of 'Look To The East'. That one was fun to write, and record.
What was it like working with Chris Walla? Are you a big Death Cab for Cutie fan?
It was amazing. Chris is an absolute genius, and a really fun person to spend time with in the recording studio. He's made some pretty incredible records, and it was fun to hear stories about them while we were making this record. Not only is he totally talented with turning the buttons and making things sound good, but he's also really great at making you give the best performance you can possibly give.
And yes, I think Death Cab for Cutie are a wonderful, wonderful band.
How have you enjoyed touring so far, do you prefer writing and recording or are you in your element whilst road-bound?
I absolutely love it! Touring is amazing. I can't believe the places that rock and roll has taken us so far. It's really quite amazing to pile into a giant white van, zip across our fair country with your best friends, and play rock shows most every night. I have to pinch myself sometimes. Plus, David Jonie and Chris, who play in Telekinesis live, are the most talented, lovely people in this whole world. We have some great times together, and they inspire me every time we play.
I think writing and recording is equally as fun, and a totally different experience. I love how spontaneous it is. I don't prefer either, they both are part of the whole picture, and I just enjoy this whole thing so much.
Do you have a favourite place you like to play?
There is a venue in Portland, Oregon called the Doug Fir. It's hard to have a bad show there. I am also quite fond of the Mercury Lounge in New York City.
If you could share a stage with anyone, who would it be?
Right now, a Pavement reunion!
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Hopefully we'll do a full European tour in the early Fall, and then start recording a new record after the new year! Excitement!