Telenova: From a chance grouping to rapid risers

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Telenova: From a chance grouping to rapid risers

Words by Eli Duxson

The inside story of Telenova with two thirds of the group, from inception to processes, with a strong outlook on the future

When vocalist Angeline Armstrong, multi-instrumentalist Josh Moriarty, and guitarist Ed Quinn were grouped together at an APRA AMCOS songwriting camp less than three years ago, none of them could have expected what was to come.

Ed’s Slum Sociable was coming to a close, Josh’s Miami Horror was touch and go, and Angeline never really had a group that was serious and utilised her range of talents. A perfect storm for the beginning of Telenova.

Read up on all the latest interviews, features and columns here.

“I was initially drawn to it because I had two people who actually wanted to do fucking work,” Ed says from the roof of his house. Josh immediately agrees and chimes in with his own experience.

“I had guys that I really liked, but they just didn’t commit in the same way. When we all met, we all wanted to do this! It was like, ‘Oh cool, so should we get together tomorrow?’ And everyone was like, ‘Yeah that’d be great!’ I was like, ‘Wow, this is kind of a new experience’.”

Ed didn’t know where this chemistry was going to go and it wasn’t until he raised it with his manager that he thought Telenova could evolve beyond the camp.

“Funnily enough, I had a side project that I introduced to our now manager, but attached to the email I was like, ‘I’m also working on this other stuff’. And they were kind of like, ‘Yeah fuck your side project, what’s this thing called Telenova? You should definitely work on that’.”

They say when things are too good to be true, they probably are, and this story is another one of those which was predictably interrupted by the pandemic. But like us all, Telenova adapted to the “new normal”.


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“Ed and I didn’t have that much respect for the rules,” Josh laughs. “We just continued to get together at my studio, Ange was a lot more diligent in following what Premier Andrews had to say but Ed and I were like, ‘Fuck this, if everyone else is allowed to work at whatever capacity they are, suddenly because we’re musicians, two of us can’t get together at my home studio and write music?’ He was my intimate partner!”

“Covid allowed us to really hone our sound,” Ed states. We had a year and a half without having to release anything. We almost did but we thought we’d wait until people had more of a reading on what the situation is.”

The ability of Telenova to adapt and find the light in the dark pits of lockdown has been the driving force behind their musical progression.

“I had another band and the bass player ended up just buying one of those cheap Hofners, I remember it just sounding so good, but then he quit the band and we had two guitar players,” Josh recalls. 

“I was one, and the other guitarist was like, ‘Well I’m not fucking playing bass’. So I just became the bass player in that band and bought what our old bass player had. It’s quite an easy transition from guitar to a Hofner because they’re so small and you can be quite nimble and play it a bit like a guitar but still with a bit of a bass brain.

“Anything in my musical career that I’ve managed to get good at has been purely out of necessity! The only reason I got good at bass was because I had to play bass. I played piano in a band because we didn’t have a piano player and we had piano parts, so I just started learning the piano. 

“Even with producing in Ableton and stuff, I used to just have the other guys from Miami Horror do it but I was eventually like, ‘I have my own ideas, I need to start doing this stuff myself’. So I just had to learn.”

As Ed was leaving his teen years, he found he was also no stranger to honing his craft and learning out of necessity as well.

“When I was 18 or 19 I went into a big studio and they had all this gear, we tried to record something and it just sounded like metal,” Ed laughs. So I got a shitty version of Ableton and made music and would work out what I wanted it to sound like. If I listened to it now I’d be appalled.”

“I definitely didn’t have the Ableton production confidence until I met Ed,” Josh adds. I was like, ‘Hang on, if this fucking cowboy who doesn’t know anything is getting away with it and it sounds good, I can do that too’.”

Nevertheless, it is Ed’s job to trigger the percussive elements of Telenova on stage which he’s done for their run of shows to support their latest EP Stained Glass Love.

The five-track EP has been out in the wild for a little over two months now and has garnered a wide range of support and praise.

When it comes to the music-making process, the group likes to keep it simple. “We’ll make a demo in a day usually,” Josh says. “We’ll come up with some chords, Ed will have some drums, I’ll play some bass, we’ll do some guitars, Ange sings the top line, and then we park it and try and do another one the next day.

“At the end of every few weeks we decide which ones we’re going to keep, and then Ed and I will go in and define the drums a little more.”

The pair knows what they’re looking for when they hear it, having had that time to hone their sound, but also by being selective with the gear they use.

“Having a limited sonic palette is what defines your band,” Josh says. “If you can have just two or three things that you use and you know how to use them pretty well, that will be fine, and you’ll end up having consistent tones in your music, which makes you sound like your own band.

“People just have too many options and never end up sounding like anything because every song has something different – it’s like, ‘What’s your band bro?’”

While their attention is focused on their final show of the tour in Melbourne tonight, there is still one eye looking ahead to getting a record together.

“I think we’re going to have a great record, the next progression of our music,” Josh says. “Then after that, we’ll do another one, go on another tour, then write more songs, and keep doing it! We really enjoy it, all of our hearts are in this. 

“As long as none of us die, get a criminal conviction, or have any children, we should be good.”


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