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Telescopes - Interview

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 5 / 2 / 2016

Telescopes - Interview


Anthony Strutt speaks to Stephen Lawrie from experimental/psychedelic act the Telescopes about his band's lengthy history and their recent inclusion on 'Still in a Dream', a new five CD shoegaze box set

English experimental act the Telescopes were formed by Stephen Lawrie in 1987, who now remains the only original member. 'Taste', their psychedelic-inspired debut album, came out 1989. After their label What Goes On went bust, they signed to Creation Records for their self-titled 1992 second album and developed a baggy sound. The Telescopes returned in 2002 after a long absence with their third album, 'Third Wave'. Their most recent album, 'The Hidden Fields', came out last year on the German label, Tapete Records. Pennyblackmusic spoke to Stephen Lawrie about the Telescopes' history and their recent inclusion on 'Still in a Dream', a new five CD shoegaze box set, which is out now on Cherry Red Records. PB: The Telescopes are featured on ‘Still in a Dream’, the new shoegaze box set. How do you feel to have been included and do you feel you should have been included? The Telescopes were never a shoegaze or dream pop band, so in reflection how do you feel about being put in this scene that you had nothing to do with? SL: Whether or not we are a shoegaze or dream Pop group depends on whom you speak to. We certainly seem to appeal to a lot of people following the genres. Our music means something to them, so I’m happy to be included. Both genres have been very supportive of the Telescopes. A lot of the new and some of the old bands tell me they were influenced by our music. So, I don’t think it’s strictly true that we had nothing to do with it. The Telescopes' house has many rooms. PB: The band was formed in Burton upon Trent in Staffordshire. Did you feel you had no option but to escape to London to further your musical career? SL: No, I felt I had no option but to write songs. PB: Why did you choose the name the Telescopes? SL: I chose the name to create music that is beyond the realm of natural vision. PB: ‘Taste’ has a lot of fury, bitterness and anger. Was there a lot of anger that you had to get out and was music your way of doing so? SL: Anger, frustration, resentment, hurt, revolution, disillusion, revenge, art, expression, annihilation, inspiration, love, adventure, survival and compulsion were also reasons for turning to music. PB: When you look back on that album, is there anything you would change about it? SL: Not a thing. It is what it is. PB: The second album to be released without permission of the band was a well-received live album, ‘Trade Mark of Quality’. How do you feel about this release? SL: I haven’t listened to it in a long time. But I’m fine with it being out there. PB: Your latest release, which is due soon, is ‘Splashdown: The Complete Creation Recordings 90-92’. You signed to Creation and completely changed direction. Did you think that you had stretched your Spacemen 3/Velvets influence as much as you could at the time? SL: I started getting more into the psychedelics of the recording studio. I became disillusioned with being spat on and having bottles thrown at me during our shows. I wasn’t really feeling the masochism of it all anymore. So, I did what inspired. PB: In reflection, how do you view your baggy Creation period and the self-titled second album from that time? SL: From the present looking back. I’m very happy with everything The Telescopes have done. I make sure of it. PB: The musical landscape changed a lot in the early 90s. Grunge and Britpop came in and changed everything. Do you think ‘Taste’ in particular and the Telescopes would have gone down better had they been releasing material during a later time? SL: No, I would have sabotaged things somehow. PB: Did the original band split after the Creation years? Was that because you felt out of place with what was happening in the music world? SL: I felt out of place in my own world, so I looked the other way. There is no original band. There never was. PB: There was a ten year gap before the Telescopes’ third album, ‘Third Wave’. What were you doing during that period? Were you still making music? Is it true that you recorded a solo 7 inch under a different name, Unisex? SL: I never made any solo records. I made some records with Füxa for Rocket Girl Records and Mind Expansion. PB: The band continue with you as now the only original member. Can you ever see a time when the original band may reform and play new shows or even record new material? SL: I am the only original member there is. I reform and play new shows and record new material all the time. As far as everything goes, it’s the same as it ever was, just further. PB: Thank you.

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Telescopes - Interview

Telescopes - Interview

Telescopes - Interview

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Interview (2006)
Telescopes - Interview
Former Creation label signings, the Telescopes play their own unqiue blend of instrumental electronica and post and industrial rock. Main man Stephen Lawrie talks to John Clarkson about the band's new mini-album, 'The Hungry Audio Tapes'
Interview (2004)

live reviews

Mondo Underbelly, London, 17/2/2010
Telescopes - Mondo Underbelly, London, 17/2/2010
Anthony Strutt watches former Creation band the Telescopes play a violent and darkly impressive set of songs from their 1989 debut album, 'Taste'
Marquee, London. 7/10/2005

digital downloads



Songs of Love and Revolution (2021)
Haunting and also surprisingly accessible twelfth album from London-based veteran noise/experimental rockers the Telescopes
Exploding Head Syndrome (2019)
Hidden Fields (2015)
#4 (2005)
Altered Perception (2004)

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