Virginia Band Telltale is on the Rise

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Man, 2019 has been an awesome year for music, and we’re not even done yet! We’ve seen some killer album releases, made a lot of friends, and of course, covered some of the best shows in the Midwest.

Monday night’s show (7/22) featuring Telltale from Richmond, Virginia easily slides into my top ten for this year so far. The energy level and enthusiasm Telltale brought to the Lookout Lounge was incredible. Even with a fairly modest crowd, they worked the room like it was a stop on Warped Tour.

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John from Telltale hits the crowd with the “Whoa oh ohs”

Before we get too far into the show, my wife Virginia and I were able to catch up with Telltale for an interview over dinner at Potbelly. To give you a quick backstory, Telltale formed in Richmond, Virginia in January 2017. They are currently signed to SharpTone Records and just a few months ago released their new E.P. Timeless Youth. Telltale is John Carter, vocals, Bryce Marshall, guitar, Tim Fogg, bass, and Travis Slack, drums.

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Travis from Telltale pounding the beats!
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Bryce from Telltale shreds!
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Tim from Telltale lays down the groove

Stories from the Crowd: So you guys have been together since January 2017, how did the band come together?

Bryce: I met Travis when I was in high school and the two of us met John our senior year on a little tour with another band, and Tim had always just been in the music scene. Old projects ended, we came together and here we are now.

Stories: Nice! How did you guys come up with the name for the band?

John: It’s inspired by Edgar Allen Poe, and his short story The Tell-Tale Heart. He was from Richmond.  There’s a museum downtown dedicated to Poe, and we all grew up reading his literature. When we were thinking about the name for internet handles you can’t use hyphens, so stylistically we just made it a compound word, but yea, it’s an ode to The Tell-Tale Heart.

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Stories: So what are some of your first memories of music? Like your first record you bought or first concert? What was a band that made you make the decision to want to pursue music as a career?

Tim: The first record I ever bought was Meteora by Linkin Park. I just really loved the nu-metal scene. My mom was a big Creed fan, so Linkin Park was a little bit of a change for me. I heard Faint on the radio and I thought this is a hit. I went to Target and picked up the album, I think I was like 8 at the time. That was my gateway into modern rock music, and I’ve been into it ever since.

Stories: That’s cool. Virginia and I saw Linkin Park in a club of like 200 people. They were opening for Kottonmouth Kings on one of their first tours. It was a few months before Hybrid Theory came out! Good times.

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Linkin Park at the Ranch Bowl in 2000.

Bryce: I don’t really remember the first record I ever bought. I remember buying some Green Day CDs when I was about 8 or 9, but I got a lot of music from my next door neighbor. She had a bunch of older Green Day CDs, some Linkin Park, and a lot of 90s/early 2000s alternative rock. She just said “I’m too old for these, here you go.”

Travis: My first concert was Green Day on the 21st Century Breakdown tour, and the first record I ever bought was Riot by Paramore, because they’re from Nashville and I’m from Nashville.

Stories: You guys have pop punk in your blood!

Travis: Yea, Green Day was big too. They were always like “that band.” Them and Zeppelin.

Stories: For sure. Green Day had the number one pop punk album of all time according to Rolling Stone with Dookie, and I believe Paramore’s Riot was in the top ten. That was a great record!

Travis: It’s still good!

John: So, I don’t remember the first record I bought, but I remember going to an after school program and there was this kid that started introducing me to music. He burned me a copy of Fall Out Boy’s From Under the Cork Tree and you know, back then, when you burned a CD you could add a few extra tracks at the end. So he put about five tracks from All American Rejects at the end, and I just remember gravitating towards those songs the most. Like, I would skip over Fall Out Boy to get to those songs.

Stories: So what was the first concert you went to?

Bryce: I saw Cheap Trick when I was like 5. It was a really small outdoor venue in Richmond. It was a great time.

Stories: Yes! That’s amazing.

Tim: I saw Aaron Carter, that was my first concert. LOL. I want candy, haha.

Stories: Hey, that’s cool. One of my first concerts was Weird Al. I thought I had that classic rock street cred with Aerosmith, but when I looked back at the timeline, I think Weird Al was first.

Bryce: Weird Al is so sick! It’s an experience.

John: I’m similar to you, where I’ll tell people my first show was Foreigner, for the rock cred, but I think it was like Alan Jackson.

Stories: That’s cool. Virginia’s first show was Garth Brooks.

Virginia: I was dragged by my parents, but the show was pretty awesome.

Stories: Didn’t he swing from a rope over the crowd and stuff?

Travis: That sounds pretty dope.

John: So at our show in Boise, Idaho Garth Brooks was playing the same night and it really cut into our draw. You wouldn’t think there would be much conflict, but we heard a lot of kids ended up going to that show instead.

Stories: Well, hopefully Omaha is going to show up for you guys tonight. It’s a Monday, which can be really tough, but the weather has been awesome, so I’m really hoping the scene pulls together.

Travis: Is Garth Brooks in town?

Stories: Um, no.

Travis: I think we’re alright. Cue the whole table cracking up.

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Stories: So you recently released your E.P. Timeless Youth, and before that you had another E.P. What was behind the decision to follow an E.P. with an E.P. rather than a full length? When you make your full length will it contain songs from Timeless Youth or will it be all new material?

Bryce: We put out our first E.P. just to have a first release because everybody needed to know who Telltale is. Timeless Youth was just a continuation of the work that we had been doing and kind of a start towards where we want to go and how we want to sound. The song Rose is a good example of where we’re headed with a lot of these songs, a little more rock than pop punk.

John: When we went in to record Timeless Youth, we were planning to record a full length album. We ended up tracking 11 songs and 4 of the songs were closer to Rose, but even more of a progression into a rock direction. Coming from a more pop punk E.P. we decided that we definitely needed a bit of a transitional period before we put out a modern rock record. I think that’s what you could expect from a full length from us.

Travis: We definitely want to do a full length next, but it will be all new. Hopefully the four songs that didn’t make it on to Timeless Youth will be released before the full length so we can go in with a clean slate.

John: They might make it on the record. Who knows?

Stories: Well either way, I’m excited to hear them. So how did the recording of Timeless Youth come together? Was it a bit of a D.I.Y effort or were you fully backed by the label at this point?

Tim: No, it wasn’t D.I.Y., we’re fully backed by the label. We were already working with a guy Zach, who was familiar with an A&R at SharpTone. The guy that was at SharpTone used to work at Fearless Records and he was in this band My Enemies and I, who were also from Virginia. So we had a connection there and it all just came together. After getting signed, SharpTone had us continue working with Zach because they liked the quality of Zach’s music and they knew he would push us to make the best songs possible.

John: It was also great because we already had a lot of ground work demo type stuff from working with Zach so the label didn’t have to put a bunch of money in to fly us to L.A. and work with some big name producer or something, which isn’t what we wanted to do anyway.

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Stories: That’s cool. It actually reminds me of this band that we met last year Heavy Things from Columbus, OH. They got together with J.T. from Hawthorne Heights who are also from Ohio and he helped them record their first album, took them on their first tour, just all around kinda took them under his wing. So a similar case of local helps local which is really cool.

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Stories: So you guys shot a video for the song Dazy at a house show in Virginia. Did you just put out a notice on Facebook and people showed up, or was there a lot of coordination involved?

Travis: So it was a very calculated decision (band laughs). Um, in reality it would have been a better idea to have it in a bigger venue because it was our hometown album release show. We kinda underestimated how many people were going to be into it, but yea, no one got hurt, nothing was broken. I don’t know, Timmy?

Tim: Yea the house is owned by one of my good friends Camden. I do a lot of D.I.Y booking in Richmond and his house is called the Yellow House and it’s one of the spots I use a lot. So I hit him up and was like “Hey, I want to throw our album release show there” and he was like “Really? That’s a lot of people.” I was like “Yea”. So he said “Ok, that’s cool.” We ran all the sound ourselves and took care of the door. The whole aspect of Timeless Youth is what that video is about.

John: That’s what our youth was all about, D.I.Y shows, playing in basements, pretty much anywhere you can get a gig. It was important to have our “major label” release show at a place where it all started.

Stories: That’s cool, kinda bringing it back to the people that supported from the beginning.

Travis: Plus, we had just gotten off a really long tour so it was nice to have that homecoming to look forward to. We were out in California, which is where we just were on this tour and now we’re heading home.

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Stories: Awesome. Speaking of touring, what’s your dream tour package or your dream support slot?

John: Have you heard of Don Broco? They’re from the U.K. and they’re on the same label as us. They have this weird metal meets 80s fusion sound and they play 10,000 seat arenas in the U.K. It would be sick to do something over there with them. That would be mind blowing!

Travis: Green Day would be insane, I’ll go with that.

Tim: Blink 182 with a Tom Delonge reunion, A Day to Remember as direct support and us as third.

Bryce: Wow, all those sound like a really good time.

John: Slipknot!

Bryce: What? Yea! Slipknot. We’re pretty much in Iowa right? Close enough.

Stories: Haha! Totally. We’re going to see Slipknot twice on this tour, once in Lincoln and once in Kansas City.

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Stories: What’s the biggest show you’ve played so far? I saw on your Instagram that you played a Warped Tour date, was that pretty packed?

Travis: Yea when we played Warped there was about 350 at our set that day. That was really fun.

John: We had a one-off show with a band we just got off tour with, Divided Minds and it was some kind of single release show mixed with a pop punk prom, and it turned out to be a pretty massive show. It was an 800 cap room in the middle of Arizona just going wild.

Stories: So what’s the next milestone for your band? Another recording, a support tour?

Tim: A support tour would be great. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, maybe with the band Broadside or something. (the whole band was in agreement).

Stories: Great! So last question for you, what was it like when you got signed? How did you feel?

Tim: It was amazing. We went over to Bryce’s parents house and popped some champagne and all went out to dinner. It was a cool to see all the hard work we’ve put in, and we’ve all been playing so long, it was great to have someone say they actually care about our music and want to invest in it.

Stories: Yea that’s awesome. I’m definitely digging Timeless Youth and I can’t wait for you guys to play tonight and hopefully come back through Omaha again many more times.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Telltale!

As for the show, I’ll keep things brief. Telltale destroyed! They played all but one of the songs from their new E.P. Timeless Youth which got the crowd moving. There were a few small circle pits and John had all the people in the back swaying their arms and singing “Whoa oh oh” on the song “What we live for.” My favorite part of the set came during the last song, the title track to Timeless Youth. There’s an intense breakdown and I screamed every word! “One time for my dead friends! One time for their words unspoken! One time for the dead ends! One time for the lies we say over and over again! Ugh!! Just an awesome moment that kept the room rocking!

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I can’t say enough how happy I am that I discovered Telltale’s music. I can’t wait for them to come through again. Hopefully this article will inspire you to come out the next time they’re here! You can find Timeless Youth on all streaming platforms.

Thanks again to Telltale for hanging with us and making the night so awesome!

Thanks for reading. If you like what you read, please share! Every share, like, comment, and social media follow helps keep the dream alive!

You can also follow along on Facebook and Instagram: @storiesfromthecrowd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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