Telafonica - To Me

from 20ths of 2011 by The 20th

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'To Me was one of those tracks that came together super-easily. They don't often happen but when they do, you are completely thankful for them. The normal mode of operation for a Telafonica 20th track (which is not often how a non-20th Telafonica track happens) is that Rebecca will write some words during the day and Adrian will, completely independently of those words, work on some music, generally based on the kinds of things he's been listening to at the time. Then, the two are brought together, normally with Adrian working on making melodies that will set the words into the music that has been created and then singing them, then polishing off the music so that it fits around those melodies.

This was almost the way it happened this time, except that they knew Eliza would be coming to their place for dinner, so they decided they'd leave the melody bit to her. Adrian created a very simple pattern of chopped up electric guitar stabs and a drum loop stolen from somewhere (maybe a Free The Beats compilation?). So there wasn't much to it. The initial musical inspiration was definitely Animal Collective, particular the 6/8 rhythm and very grainy sounds. The band had been discussing the theme of the suburbs as a creative inspiration for considerable time, so Rebecca used that to frame her words. Later in the evening, Eliza came around, had dinner then sat at the piano with the chord sequence while Rebecca did the washing up and Adrian went out to the studio to put some synths and bells in. A short while later she headed out back to sing what she'd spent a fairly brief time making up. No doubt she'll deny it, but everyone else heard Feist in her catchy melody. The music had no dynamic at all to it, just the same loop section repeating for a few minutes. Eliza sung away over that then went back inside. From there, Adrian pushed and pulled the music around those vocals, adding middle eights and choruses to the verses (though you'll notice they all actually sit over the same 4 chord sequence). Then it was a matter of throwing a whole bunch of backing vocal takes to give energy and colour - both Rebecca and Adrian did this, layering a whole bunch of different things on together. But, most of these were first take ideas - the whole track actually came together fairly quickly.

At that time, April, Telafonica was putting together what would become the 'Sleeping With The Fishermen' album. There were 7 tracks earmarked for it, some of which had been worked at for well over a year (many having been started on other 20ths). But the track order and sequencing weren't quite feeling right. About 2 weeks after 'To Me' was created, it suddenly dawned that it actually fit in to the album almost seamlessly, far more so than another 20th track, Sister Zephyr, which was, at that time, to be included. So the band replaced Sister Zephyr with To Me and everything fell into place. To Me then went through a fairly rigourous polishing process. Blake and Cherry, who hadn't been part of the recording on that first day, added their voices. Blake and Adrian spent a fair bit of time mixing and sending versions back and forth to each other - that drum loop needed to stay grainy for the mood, but needed much more punch. Eliza re-recorded the middle eight section and extra psychedelic, backwards reverbs and delays were added, while the piano was tightened up. The final results ended up as the penultimate blast on the new album, a blast of pop before the mælstrom that follows it there.

Telafonica was quite inspired by the more group focused dynamic of the day. Normally, Telafonica tracks float around between members over a period of months before all the bits come together. But, having more members work on this one piece in the short space of time allowed was quite great. The desire is to do that much more often!


from 20ths of 2011, track released April 20, 2011
Music - Adrian Elmer and Eliza Magill
Words - Rebecca Elmer


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The 20th Sydney, Australia

The 20th project ran from 2005 to 2013. It worked like this:
(1) On the 20th day of the month, write and record a song.
(2) Send it in so it can be heard by everyone else who contributed.
(3) Receive a CD-R compilation of all contributions from that month.
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