ASBO Meets: Telenova

Words: George Pizani

Songwriters, multi-instrumentalists and filmmakers; Telenova, are the Australian trio leaving an outsized impression on the world. A band whose talents are as diverse and developed as their tastes, Angeline Armstrong, Edward Quinn & Joshua Moriarty are doing something interesting – and it seems to be working.

Having already found success with the singles “Bones” and “Tranquillize”, Telenova’s latest release “Teardrop” is mysteriously moody. The single is the first to be released by UK tastemaker label Fiction and signals a strong entrance into 2024 for a band bursting with creative potential. 

Formed in the studios and performance spaces of Melbourne’s vibrant music scene, Telenova is an Australian band consisting of singer/songwriter/filmmaker Angeline Armstrong and multi-instrumentalists/producers Edward Quinn and Joshua Moriarty. Its sound sits somewhere within the overlapping spheres of Massive Attack, Radio Head and Karen O, and is emerging as a torch-bearer for a new generation of trip-hop.   

Collaboration within a singular artistic project can mean any number of things, but Telenova seems to embody its truest definition. Discussing the various aspects involved in crafting Teardrop, Angeline Armstrong, the band’s front-woman, states; “In terms of the sound, Ed brought in the bare bones but the vibe was all there – the subby bass and intense driving piano sample and the groove. We all loved it so kept building onto it”. Then came the lyrics; “There’s an urgency in the music that inspired this sense of a ‘push and pull’ for us in the lyrics, a running towards something, but being pulled in a different direction. Josh and I are often drawn to writing about the divided nature of the self, so it seemed very natural.” she goes on. 

The music video for ‘Teardrop‘ would be worth a watch regardless of what song it was accompanying. Directed by Armstrong and filmmaker Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore, the visual component of Teardrop is an intoxicating, and elegantly rendered representation of the volatile emotions that define the single’s lyrics and mood. The look of the video draws from the surreal terror of David Lynch and the unsettling confusion of Michel Gondry to frame the peculiar nature of emotional contradiction that the song articulates. 

Unsurprisingly, Telenova’s visuals play such an important role in their overall style. Armstrong explains how “coming from a film background I tend to see the colours and images and glimpses of scenes even while still in the process of writing the song. So it was about fleshing those out once I had the space to sit with the finished song and interpret it in a new way.” In the hands of another creative unit, the video for Teardrop, with all its cinematic sincerity, could subsume the value of the single itself, but Telenova seems to embody the perfect amount of self-awareness to avoid this trap, instead executing a daringly out-there vision.

A dedication to crafting original and uniquely cinematic music has earned Telenova strong support from Australia’s domestic industry, with achievements including winning the 2022 AIR Breakthrough Artist Award and being played on Triple J’s Hottest 100. The band has also performed numerous sold-out tours across the country and appeared on some of its most exciting festival lineups. For instrumentalist and producer Edward Quinn, the value of gaining recognition has been exploring newfound access to the artists who’ve inspired his own music: “Working with Chris Taylor from Grizzly Bear back in 2022 was a huge highlight. Veckatimist is probably a top-three album of all time for me, so getting him to help produce our tracks was a fair bucket list moment. I was quietly freaking out in the studio. I don’t think we ended up keeping any of my guitar parts in the end because I kept on botching them.”

In terms of getting Telenova’s sound heard outside of their home country, Angeline explains that “Australia hasn’t had as long of a history of exporting its art to other corners of the world, so you have more to prove. On the plus side, life is more affordable here, perhaps less of a rat race. At least comparing Melbourne and London. And you’ve still got the flourishing creative energy and culture in the city, so it’s pretty fertile ground to experiment with new work”

However, geography and culture have not been able to limit Telenova’s success, with the last few years having seen the band headline shows in London, Athens, Berlin and Hamburg, as well as joining fellow countrymen RUEL on their European tour. The tour was a turning point for the band, and appears to have been particularly significant for Armstrong; “Live performance for me is a really beautiful way to extend the life of a song – it sort of gives it this expanse or something – to live and thrive and grow in” she extolls. The viral success of the singles “Bones” and “Tranquillize” has also helped to secure Telenova’s place in the global music conscience, raking in millions of streams and finding their way into the feeds and For You pages of even more. 

Teardrop is the latest single from Telenova, and available to stream wherever you get your songs. A music video for Teardrop can also be watched on YouTube.