New band Telegram make music their message

Telegram. Photograph: Pooneh Ghana

Bright future: Telegram. Photograph: Pooneh Ghana

Since exploding onto the scene last year with debut single ‘Follow’ and playing to packed out crowds at several Dalston locales, success looks to have come relatively easily to East London four-piece Telegram.

A series of voracious performances during a recent residency at the Shacklewell Arms saw Matt Saunders’ sonorous vocals set against flanged swirls of guitar and chugging cement mixer beats – leaving behind it a trail of critical acclaim.

The band’s story is the most extreme application of music’s DIY culture. Without a record deal they’ve so far made festival appearances in Japan, the setting for their latest video Regatta, and at Spain’s Benicassim, as well bagging a spot at Field Day in Victoria Park last June.

“On the strength of ‘Follow’ our booking agent had a lot to work with and at the time we were supporting Temples and Palma Violets, so the promoters in Japan took us on,” says bassist Oli Paget-Moon.

Self-releasing ‘Follow’, the run of 500 seven inch singles was quickly snapped up and are now changing hands for inflated sums on the internet.
Currently in the process of drawn out negotiations with labels, the band has so far relished guiding their own destiny and retaining complete control of what they do.

“The thing that I like about doing it all ourselves is that we’re way more in tune with the whole process. With massive bands, they’ve never even seen a merch stand because everybody else does it for them,” says drummer Jordan Cook.

However, the band has reached a bottleneck. While industry chiefs negotiate the band’s future, their hotly anticipated debut LP lays dormant. Not that this bothers them as they keep ticking over, gigging up and down the country. One recent gig apparently saw a Midlands venue proprietor “shirtless and stage diving” while the band played to a sold out crowd.

See Telegram play live at the Lexington, 96–98 Pentonville Road, N1 9JB on 28 December