Seamlessly blending alt, classic and art rock, London-based five-piece TALMA command a magnetic sound and presence that comes straight out of the underground scenes of London. TALMA’s raw and unshackled live performances are where they truly run riot. They’ve supported the likes of Queen’s Spike Edney and received acclaim for their intense energy and all-out charisma from London all the way to LA, including praise from industry commentator and author Ari Herstand. Singer Henry Adams captivates attention with a bravado and charm that’s rarely seen among many frontmen, while the telepathic tightness of guitarists Jack Rennie and James Creed, bassist Pete Warren and drummer Jonny Harrison make TALMA an artistic unit to be reckoned with. Where the band draw direct inspiration from the likes of The Smiths, The War On Drugs and The National, they also incisively employ a musical diversity and dynamic range comparable to the likes of Radiohead and Wolf Alice. The result is a band who operate without creative constraints and who are primed to challenge the seemingly predetermined binaries of modern British rock.
1InMusic interviews the Alternative Rock band Talma as they release In Circles, the second single from the upcoming EP… We have been enjoying this latest offer from the four-strong group and wanted to know more about how it all came about and what they are looking at doing next.
1inMusic: Hey guys, first of all, already a second EP and even a second single. Where did time go? And how busy has it all been?
Talma: It’s been manic! I am sure many creative types of all forms will relate to the challenge of balancing real life – e.g work, partners, eating etc with trying to put a body of work together – it is exhausting. In our case, the writing, the recording and all the million things that go into making an EP make it sometimes a laborious process. However now we are in the position where the music is going out and gigs are on the horizon, it is a really nice, reflective and I guess comforting place to be in. The time has evaporated before our eyes, I saw a ‘Facebook memory’ pop up the other day which reminded me of where we were at a year ago – a weird moment to see how far we have come in such a short time. Regardless of the stresses, it has been so worth it, and ultimately really fun. This time round we have had amazing support from various people around us particularly our good friend Adam Williams who has been insanely productive with our release schedule and marketing.
1inMusic: Where did the lyrics and sound in ‘In Circles’ come from? How does it relate to the longing to step away from the sleepless cycles of the apathy of the everyday, the mundane. What particular lyric do you like the most on the single?
Talma: A lot of the new EP alludes to feelings of displacement and isolation from the world around us. ‘In Circles’ is reflective of these ideas and in particular considers the apathy that can be attached to a routine lifestyle. Lyrically, the song is influenced by the experiences of a couple of members of the band whilst on their travels, whilst undoubtedly enjoying their new surroundings they had the distorting feeling of being able to take things with a renewed perspective. Aside from the positive impact that a new outlook can bring, in the same breath, the apathy to the life being led at home became ever more poignant and prevalent. In conjunction, the sound looks to support this through the disjointed, percussive verses which contrast to the full melodic choruses and hook lines. The choruses look to reinforce the ecstasy and the desperation that we try to bring to the fore throughout the song – illustrating the resentment of a routine and the emotions attached with trying to leave it.
As the singer, my favourite lyric is probably the line ‘..thank God my memories of England are happy ones…’ . It may not be intended, but I always interpret the lyric as dripping with honesty, sarcasm and with a tinge of bitterness to boot. For me, it reiterates the constant questions that the song asks, what the f**k am I doing here? And was all ‘that’ worth it for me to go return to the boring two-step of a routine at home.
1inMusic: How does this second single fit into the EP and why chose it as a second single?
Talma: ‘In Circles’ will open up the EP. Over the four tracks, there is a loose narrative depicting certain experiences and feelings that have hit us in recent years. We all felt that the instrumentation, particularly the intro is a natural starting point and works well to grab the listeners attention.
It was a little bit of a toss up between ‘Lifeline’ and ‘In Circles’ and to be honest, I think the decision was more commercially led than anything else. We had a hunch that this would perhaps have a wider appeal and would be the perfect track to hit the market leading into the EP launch on the 23rd and the show the day after. Alas, with all emerging bands, the crowded music scene demands us to be strategic and pick our moments to share our best stuff.
1inMusic: Particularly enjoyed the instrumentation and arrangement of the track. How does it come about? Who writes, who edits, who arranges, who chooses the instrumentation?
Talma: No easy answer to this one unfortunately! it is very much a collaborative effort between all of us. The writing phase usually involves one of us bringing a skeleton at various different stages of development and then the rest of us fill in the gaps and make alterations. Instrumentation is driven more by Jack (guitar), Jonny (Drums), Pete on bass; I normally just snipe from the sidelines and make suggestions – regardless of how helpful the may or may not be.
1inMusic: Love the art work and the design trick on it. Where did the idea come from?
Talma: The artwork generally on the EP is something we are really proud of. Adam Williams’ (release/marketing) introduction to the band has been a breath of fresh air and his outside eye has really helped us develop an image that compliments the sound more definitively.
Unilaterally, we have agreed that we wanted to get away from anything to explicit that would describe the songs. Therefore, in terms of a concept, we wanted something that would allude to the themes of the song without ramming it down the audience’s throat. The ‘In Circles’ artwork therefore, goes for a hypnotic, sensory vibe that we feel really supports the unsettled nature of the song. The dark arts on how that image was produced and made – you will have to talk to Adam!
Note from Adam – it started as a photograph of two mirrors creating an endless reflective loop, which then got lost to the depths of editing and came out the other end as the single artwork.
1inMusic: So what has been the response so far and how have you felt about it?
Talma: Really pleased, for me personally, this is one of the first times I have walked out of a recording studio and thought – ‘yeah we have done ourselves justice there’ and what is even more pleasing is that the feeling has been reciprocated by those who have listened to it. We have some great responses in the press and from people who have found our music for the first time. I guess for us a group now, we are just buzzing to get back out there on the stage.
1inMusic: Thanks guys for answering our questions. Before we leave you to enjoy the response your art, can you tell us: What is next? Where are you playing this year? And of course where can we find out more? Good luck guys!
Talma: The big next thing in the diary is our EP launch show at Camden Assembly on the 24th Feb. We are then back in Camden again on the 5th April at The Black Heart. After that, we are hoping to be appearing in some European fields near you soon over the summer months. After that, it will be back in the studio to do it all again….
To keep up to date with us, @talmasounds is our handle for all our social media and our website www.talmasounds.com is always a good starting point to see what we are up to. Thanks for your time!
About ‘In Circles’
With its urgent ticking drums and syncopated bass lines, ‘In Circles’ is a canny sleight of hand from London alt-rock band TALMA. Frontman Henry Adams’ vocal line pairs with guitarist James Creed’s lyrics and arrangement to create a tune which effervesces with heady romance and nostalgia. As James explains: “In Circles is about the sense of apathy we can experience when returning to a routine lifestyle after time away from it all – the everyday, the mundane. Where the loss of rhythm helps us to see what’s before us with renewed perspective, it can ultimately lead us to question it too. We all crave a sense of purpose, but affecting a change towards that offers the unknown. We then have a choice; to resign ourselves to the security of these sleepless cycles or to take a chance, step away from paths well known and chase a new sense of meaning.”
About Out To Sea EP (Produced by Jason Wilson (Reuben, Don Broco, You Me At Six)
The second EP from London based TALMA, Out To Sea sees the alt-rock 5 piece produce some of their most powerful and intricate works to date. Taking inspiration from rock music’s most innovative artists including Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The National and Radiohead, the EP is defined by the dexterity of its guitar led arrangements and a poignant lyrical anxiety regarding the modern world. Themes of loneliness, isolation and upheaval are explored with a sense of romantic optimism, showcasing a musical offering that proves that TALMA aren’t just another glib or fanciful indie group. Like their heroes, they’re conscious of the power of rock as an art form primed to tackle timeless concepts and get to the heart of what it means to be alive and to be human.
Out To Sea