Alas, my favorite electronic jazz, experimental, pop duo Tennyson. Luke and Tess have been together… Well, since birth. They're brother and sister, and their music has infected many in a "playful" way. They utilize sounds you'd find from all over: car alarms, cats, sprinklers, laughter, you name it. To witness some of their past stops at EARMILK, check here.
They're playing live at the What the Festival on June 17th, so we thought it would be fit to share some more intimate information before the big day. I got a chance to speak with Luke and Tess in our exclusive EARMILK interview below:
EARMILK: Luke and Tess! One of my favorite duos out there today. Give me just a general background of how Tennyson came together…
Luke: It feels like it slowly put itself together. We started playing music together when we were 7 and 9, doing Weezer covers and stuff. And since then all the decisions have sort of made themselves.
EM: CANADA! What’s it like being an up and coming duo in arguably one of the best places to be a musician right now?
Tess: Canada is great. Growing up here is amazing, and cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal have been especially fun for us to play in.
EM: Before we dive deep, how would you describe your music to someone on the street? If you had two sentences to give them, what would you do to represent in the best way possible?
Luke: Oh, I never know what to say when people ask. It’s intricate, playful? Hopefully pleasant? Haha.
EM: One of my favorite parts about your guys’ music is how you seem to use a variety of random noises incorporated into each song… Cats, car alarms, etc. How do you find the right sound and is there a purpose behind them?
Luke: The sounds usually start as a normal instrument but then later after thinking about how much it sounds like a sprinkler just, changing to a sprinkler.
EM: Who are some of the influences behind Tennyson? we hear so many different forms of music it’s difficult to pinpoint.
Luke: I didn’t realize until yesterday but the years of learning only Chopin pieces on the piano have influenced the music perhaps more than anything else.
EM: I find you both very intriguing. I can’t truly put another name in the hat when someone asks me to compare you, I’m honestly at a loss. Who do you guys feel that way about? Is there anyone you follow today who interests you in that way?
Tess: Luke and I have been watching a ton of Derren Brown videos. He's a mentalist from the UK who actually reveals at the end of his show how everything was done.
EM: The “XYZ” cover is hilarious… How did that come together? The reaction to the single has been nothing but positive…
Luke: The idea came from a Bollywood movie called Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. We took turns taking photos of each other at Value Village.
Tess: I'm not even sure how the pictures turned out so identical to the original poster but we had a such a hilarious time making it.
EM: What can audiences expect to see/hear during your set at What The Festival? Perhaps, new music?
Luke: We’re adding a lot of details to the show. Our goal now is to create something for the audience that’s engaging and unforgettable.
Tess: I love the idea of recreating the ambience of an orchestra tuning before a performance.
EM: This is a loaded question… But what’s the end game for Luke and Tess? Why do this in the first place?
Luke: Death. Birth.
Tess: Gosh, that's a weird answer from Luke. I'm not even sure what he means but I'll go with it.
EM: Lastly, if you had one time period to live in, when would it be and why? This genuinely interests me from you guys more than others.
Tess: I think it would be cool to go back to the 1920s or something, when you could only hear music through scratchy radio speakers. Any earlier I just start thinking about how uncomfortable going to the bathroom would be. I think it's best to just stick where we are.
Take a listen to Luke and Tess' most recent project, the Like What EP:
If you're in the Mt. Hood area in June, I simply urge you to go see these guys live. Here's a look at the entire lineup for the weekend:
What The Festival Complete Lineup (Alphabetical) :
Bonobo (DJ Set)
DJ Pan Am
DJ Professor Stone
DJ Silly Syl
Festival The Show (LIVE)
Heartbeat Sound Systems
High Step Society
Louis The Child
Luz Elena Mendoza
Lynx & The Servants of Song
Mikos Da Gawd
Monique Trinity Rose
POPgoji w/Rejoice! Dancers
Shades (Eprom & ALix Perez)
The Perfect Cyn
The Saloon Ensemble
Tom Kha Soup
Tuck in Tyler