With their latest album, Telltale embraces early 20-something life with a timeless pop punk sound.
Pop punk is alive and well in Richmond. Its heart beats to the sound of Telltale’s timeless message, for those who face the challenges their many pop punk brethren have faced before them. With the release of their new album, Timeless Youth, the guys of Telltale deep-dive into the issues of early 20-something life that they hope others can relate to.
“It kind of has been overdone, but we don’t really care,” said Telltale guitarist Bryce Marshall. “A previous tourmate of ours actually suggested we call it Timeless Youth just because he felt we were naive. It’s the theme we’ve embraced as a band.”
“At the end of the day, it’s primarily a creative outlet for ourselves, what we’re dealing with and going through,” said John Carter, the band’s vocalist.
This message they carry forward rings true to each generation as they pass from their teenage years into adulthood. While the message may seem to be unnecessary with the trailing off of many pop-punk bands in the larger scene, there is no shortage of audience members who continue to face these growing pains today.
“If we can connect to people be them younger or older, that’s great. But if it’s not something somebody identifies with, then it’s not for them,” said Carter. “It’s not the message they need to be hearing at this time, and maybe they need a message from somewhere else.”
As they’ve blossomed into a prominent Richmond band over the years, the members of Telltale made friends they’ve kept close who uplift their message across genres, and who they support as well. The guys have ensured that within their re-emerging genre, they continue to extend their reach into other places to reach anyone who might need their message.
“We see support out of the pop punk scene, but also out of the hardcore and folk scenes,” said Carter. “You pull influence and fans from, and send fans to, other genres inside the community between us all.”
“We’ve felt a lot of support from bands we’ve looked up to for a while,” said bassist Tim Fogg. “The bands we’ve looked up to are actually starting to see us as a contender within the music scene, and it’s established this really unique friendship that also gives us a lot to learn. It’s been nice to have everyone backing us as we’ve been ‘on the come up,’ as they say.”
In the midst of support from different bands and different genres, the guys have found their niche in the scene and know what they want in sticking to it. While they recognize that their name (which is a reference to Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Tell-Tale Heart”) could lead them to include more horror themes in their music and performances, they want to leave that to those who already do horror well, and instead appreciate the art in the writing itself.
“There’s tons of bands named after assorted books and elements from writing, us included,” said Fogg. “Someone might see we’re into Edgar Allan Poe, that they’re familiar with, and understand we’re out here making art just like everybody else.”
“Life is scary enough, and there’s enough horrific things out there to write about, so you don’t really need to write about horror novels in the songs,” said Carter. “As cool as that would be, there’s already bands out there that are doing a great job of that. It’s just not really us.”
“We’re nerds,” added drummer Travis Slack.
In finding their place as up-and-comers, Telltale has hit a couple bumps along the way, but they have stayed focused and worked through each of them. During the creation of the first two music videos filmed for Timeless Youth, the guys had to pull together ideas last minute. While that may not be how they prefer to have things done, they have made it work time and time again.
“We actually were supposed to go shoot them out of state with hired actors and this whole set-up and everything, and then at the very last minute we got notified we were going to be filming it in Richmond. It was like 36 hours before we had to shoot it,” said Carter. “By the seat of our pants and without much preparation is how those have gone in the past.”
“We’re definitely a band that prefers to have everything planned out months in advance with everything laid out,” said Slack. “We like having everything prepared, and knowing everything we possibly can know.”
However, even in planned scenarios, things don’t always go as expected. When the guys showed up to shoot a music video back in January, they thought they’d get to keep warm in their coats — but the director had other ideas.
“The ‘Rose’ video was shot in a cold warehouse near Shockoe Bottom, and my skin ripped off my arm when we were supposed to be ‘going hard,’” said Slack.
Telltale has big plans moving forward, and absolutely no plans on slowing down. Fans can expect new music soon, including two new singles out this fall, and a whole lineup of shows.
“We never want to have all the music we have recorded out and nothing that we’re holding in our hands,” said Marshall. “So as we go into the fall and have these songs out, we want to have more stuff recorded. We’re getting things together for whatever the next release might be.”
Timeless Youth can be found on multiple platforms, including Spotify, the Sharptone Records website, Amazon, and the official Telltale website, where you can also find tour information and links to recently released music videos.
Top Photo courtesy Telltale
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