With a name as absurd and flippant as Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (or TEED), I couldn't label TEED under some pseudo-dance music category. Instead, I'd rather describe his music for what it is, just phenomenally fun and colorful.
Since the eagerly-awaited release of his first album, Trouble, in 2012 (which was dubbed by iTunes as the "Debut Electronic Album of the Year"), TEED continues to prove himself as a triple threat: his cherubic voice, whimsical and quirky rhythms, and c'mon, he wears a custom-made dinosaur suit on stage.
TEED has been touring for the most part of the year, hitting up major festivals worldwide, and I was fortune enough to catch him for a quick chat at HARD Summer in LA.
EARMILK: How is your HARD experience going so far? Everyone was feeling your set at 7up!
TEED: Cool, cool. I had a good time!
EM: How do festivals in U.S. And Europe compare?
TEED: It's different, but I love it. I love the US festival scene…People here are really dedicated to the music and really care about going to see the artists they love.
EM: I feel like it's the opposite, In Europe they…
TEED: No, no, no. That's a myth…That does happen in Europe, but in Europe people are probably more preoccupied with getting really high.
EM: You've toured practically everywhere…last month you were in Iceland..what was that like?
TEED: That was incredible. I played in Iceland on Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. I played at the festival, and in Iceland, on the longest day of the year, the sun never sets. It's on the horizon for like six hours…just kinda bubbling. After I played my set…we…I know this sounds dumb and ridiculous, but I don't get to do this shit ever…We got a helicopter over the mountains and on top of the 'glass-ier' and dj'ed inside a 'glass-ier'.
EM: A glass-what?
TEED: You don't know what a 'glass-ier' is? It's like..oh what do you call it…
EM: Ohh, a glacier! Haha…
TEED: So, Iceland is like being on Mars.
EM: Do you have any favorite cities to visit or to perform?
TEED: I really like performing in Glasgow.
EM: What was growing up in Oxford been like? How has that shaped your music?
TEED: It's a very romantic and beautiful place…A lot of history and you really feel like that's part of something that's been going on for hundreds and hundreds of years. So yea, it's very inspiring..A lot of my friends who make music, who I grew up with, we all appreciate that opportunity we had…It was a beautiful place to grow up in, I'm glad.
EM: What is it like approaching music as both a producer and singer? Do you lay down the beat or words first? Do you have some kind of routine or is it all spontaneous?
TEED: It's pretty spontaneous. I'd say that, increasingly, it's like add piano, and just singing a song, then I'll try to produce it.
EM: Most students graduate school and feel like they never even apply what they learned from school…like calculus in our daily lives. But you specifically attended a music school…Do you think you apply a lot of what you picked up in school? Or rather…how valuable do you think formal music education was? Especially in this computer age when producers just pirate some software and mess around…
TEED: Pirating software…that has nothing to do with it really. That is one thing. But the more you know about your subject, the better. So, if you're a musician, you should find out as much about music as possible…There's no question…You get these stories about people, they're untrained, and yea, cool. Imagine, what they'd make if they did have an incredible music education. I think, just study your subject, make the most of it, and kill it.
EM: Do you still frequent record stores? What's the last record you bought?
TEED: I still go to record stores, but I'm pretty selective about what I buy now…It's just an expensive hobby. I just about got away with it when I was a teenager, buy a record a week maybe, but now I just want to go deep with it…I just buy jungle music. So a very specific genre…
EM: What was the first jungle record you bought?
TEED: It's not the best record, but it was by a guy called Aphrodite, and it was called Woman That Rolls…And I bought it because on the label of the vinyl, it had a picture of a naked woman.
EM: You mentioned that you haven't listened to an album in its entirety since you were 18…why is that?
TEED: Well, my point was…really that we just don't live in a culture that's convenient to sit down for 45 min to an hour and listen to a whole album…I have since listened to an album in its entirety, but I would say, most albums I've listened to in its entirety, I listened once…all the way through. I think that's just the way we consume music now…it's a real shame, but that's just how it goes.
EM: You mentioned in another interview before that you're not very moody and your go-to face is one of basically being unimpressed with life..haha…So, then what does impress you? What are your particular interests outside of music?
TEED: Hahaha…everything! I'm more interested than I look. I just have a grumpy face…
EM: So, the TEED name first surfaced around 2007 on Myspace, right?.. But the debut album, Trouble, didn't come out until 2012..I understand not wanting to rush things, and wanting to get your sound right…So what was your development process like? When did you know you were ready?
TEED: Ready for an album?
EM: Ready to release your first album.
TEED: Just when the body of work was there…It wasn't a very conscious or calculated thing, but when it felt right, You have to feel right, yourself, and the people around you that are ready to work with you in the right ways…So, yea, when it felt right…and I'll do the same again.
EM: Was the music you made, first starting out in 2007, a lot different than what came out in 2012 on your album?
TEED: Um…there is a change…I don't know if it was a big change…If you think about it, a year is quite a long time in life…So things are gonna change..If you stick with the same music for 15 years, you're either really boring or lying to yourself.
EM: When you have a live show, you really go above and beyond to create a colorful visual/audio experience…how do those come together? What are the ideas that inspire these?
TEED: Well, for the show with the last album, I jsut wanted to do something that was really fun…
EM: I think it would be so cool if you collaborated with MOMA or a museum to do some kind of installation…
TEED: Oh yea? I think that would be cool too.
EM: Do you keep up with the art world outside of music? Now you're more interested in fashion…
TEED: Yea, definitely…I don't know how to quantify that…but I am interested in art.
EM: Last year, you launched Nice Age…How do you like running a label, as opposed to just being an artist focused on making music?
TEED: It's fun because I get to push and support artists I like…I get to do parties…It's another part of the whole thing, so I really enjoy it.
EM: What do you have planned for Nice Age this year?
TEED: Parties, records..
EM: Parties just in the UK?
TEED: Not if I can help it! If I can get parties everywhere, I will. You gotta find the right spot and the right people…I always try to make sure that when I present something it's in the right place.
EM: I understand that your working on a new album? What can you tell us about that?
TEED: Nothing. Haha.
EM: Ok, now last few "Would you rather…" questions…Would you rather be stuck on an island with Dillon Francis, Boys Noize, or Eats Everything?
TEED: Aw! Those are all my friends! I don't know…I couldn't pick between those guys…they all have good survival skills, they're all funny…I just couldn't say.
EM: Would you rather never touch a computer or another person the rest of your life?
TEED: Oh, a computer.
EM: Would you rather become a sentient strawberry with the mind you have now (no physical ability for mobility or communication) or just become a regular strawberry with strawberry thoughts?
TEED: I reckon a regular strawberry would be pretty chill.
EM: Yea, you don't know want to be a conscious strawberry knowing that you're going to die soon….since they rot quickly…
TEED: Yea…who knows how conscious they are.
EM: Haha ok thank you so much!
TEED: Thank you!
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs