We spoke with Natalie Ribbons of Tele Novella about tour, talismans, their upcoming LP, and what’s next.
“Tele Novella is an inspired macabre-pop band out of Austin, TX. They are dreamy, they are spooky, and they write real fucking songs. While one may detect the influence of the nocturnal jungles of Os Mutantes or the lapelled, knee-socked smarts of Belle and Sebastian, they have cobbled together a special kind of mineral all their own worth making room on the Table of Elements for. Earnest, yet sinister; Vampy, but sentimental. The precise recipe that goes into this concoction cannot be revealed, but it is a delightful snow globe of warm, colorful darkness.”
We see you’ve been on tour since late July, how are things going so far?
Yes, this is our first full tour of the year, and it is going great! The west coast always goes really well for us and we have been having so much fun! It’s a relief to escape the Texas heat too.
What’s been your favorite stop as of yet? Any crazy shows/stories to share?
Hmm, so many fun shows… but LA may have been our favorite so far! We played with our friends, Summer Twins, and Samira’s Infinite Summer. It was a killer turnout and my face hurt at the end of the night from smiling so much!
What is the inspiration behind the music – what drives Tele Novella to create such beautifully fuzzed out tones amidst all of your melodic harmonies?
There are so many different points of inspiration behind the niche we are trying to carve out in this contemporary musical landscape. Halloween is a big one–we all LOVE Halloween, and spooky playful stuff. We also love well written pop music and go for that in our own thing, so we consider ourselves ‘macabre pop.’ It is a vague categorization, so there is plenty of stretching room to sort of do whatever we want. We can be very romantic and dreamy at times, with more ornate embellishments, musically and aesthetically. Other times, we are coming from a swampy and simpler place, slinking around like creeps on jazz. The surrealist art movement was always vague enough that it could be childishly innocent and strangely sexual in one heave-ho. I would like to think we dabble in that at times, but it’s hard to say.
Did you guys approach the writing process differently/go in any new directions while putting together your new LP coming out, “House of Souls”?
The album was written over a long period of time, so there was not a consistent approach. I think this album is our first really directed attempt at settling in one spot for a second and making a cohesive body of work. We get bored easily so it is a near impossible feat, and we might have failed, but I think it sounds good and it’s interesting and fun.
We listened to your recent release of your first single from your forthcoming LP, “Heavy Balloon” – it’s amazing! Any specific reason why “Heavy Balloon” was chosen to be the first single?
I think we chose Heavy Balloon because it makes people move their legs a little bit at shows. People told us that it was the single and so we obeyed them.
If you were wielding a magical talisman, what would it be?
Hm, I imagine it would be some kind of Victorian amulet with the hair of some kind of obscure royalty. For protection, or something.
What’s next for Tele Novella?
Next, we will work on a costume selection for our tours. I am going to make us matching jackets covered in googly eyes. We will write new songs intermittently between all of these tours so it stays fun. I would like to write slightly simpler songs so I can play them accurately when I am drunk. These songs can sound like shit if I enjoy too many cocktails before the show, so the current set requires greater caution.