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Attempting to Crack Teleportoise’s Shell

After seeing Teleportoise for the first time this past summer, I was once again blown away by the diversity of talent within the Guelph metal scene. Teleportoise was both atmospheric and ferocious at once – offering something visceral and exciting to metal-loving ears. The band was a bit of a mystery to me, so I dove in with bassist Adam Ujhelyi and drummer Calum Ferrall to get to know more about them and their new EP Terra.

Teleportoise will be playing a CD release show Thursday, November 20 at District, alongside friends Earthbreather, Quiet Lakes, and Wakeless.

Chuck: Can you give us a little Teleportoise history lesson?

Adam: I went to Vanin with a song I had written while in Serbia/Hungary mostly just to hear what my bass parts would sound like with guitar over them. I knew I wanted to form a band in the vein of Mastodon and Neurosis but I was still playing around with exactly what instruments I wanted in the line-up. However during that first jam Vanin came up with riffs that were the perfect compliment to what I was playing on bass and added so much more to the song than I had originally hoped for that I knew we had to work together again (as we’d been in a couple of bands together already at this point). While we were looking for a drummer, Calum’s thrash band Acid broke up and for whatever reason he decided to come downstairs and jam on the drums for us. This was strange because Calum had been exclusively a bassist until that point. That being said though he learned the drums very quickly and surprises us almost every practice with some awesome new accent or fill he’s added to a song. Since then we’ve been writing songs and playing shows and so on.

Chuck: What’s the story behind the band name? And would you like to set the record straight on how it’s pronounced?

Adam: Teleportoise is literally the combination of the words ‘teleport’ and ‘tortoise’, so the pronunciation should be done with those two words in mind. To try to spell it out phonetically it’s “Teleportus’. That being said though, we’ve always been fond of the somewhat french pronunciation of “Teleport-trois” as well. The name came about when Vanin and myself decided that tortoises are really metal, and that combining a word with tortoise is the way to go. Vanin will tell you that he came up with it originally, I’ll tell you that I came up with it originally, but deep down inside I think we both know it was me.

Chuck: For anyone who has never heard your music, how would you describe your sound?

Adam: This sort of comes up a lot when talking to people and it’s been a bit tricky. We came up with the term Proto-post-progcore. It’s mostly a joke, but it’s also the term we’ve stuck with. Vanin has recently said that a great deal of our sound as far as riff choices and overall tone are fairly reminiscent of early Baroness from albums like ‘First’ and ‘Second’. I think we also sound a bit like Fall of Efrafa, specifically from their second album ‘Elil’. I’ve also recently been thinking of describing us as what would happen if a dumb version of Primus were to play Isis songs.

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Chuck: What are some of your musical influences?

Calum: In a global sense, our influences encompass something from all genres. Each one of us end up bringing our own ideas to the table while writing which is usually shaped by whatever we have been recently listening to at the time. Because of the eclectic range in our individual tastes it is difficult, if not impossible, to pinpoint singular bands. What can be said however, is that whatever we decided to extract inspiration from, we attempt to put a ‘Teleportoise twist’ on it. Locally, our influences are scattered throughout the whole Guelph and Hamilton scene. Without a doubt the most notable band would be Quiet Lakes. When we first went and saw them play in Hamilton, it was like finding a long lost sibling. We took lots of inspiration from their detection to music they want to play and their overall loudness, which, for a live setting we are always looking create. The two bands that we look up to for their sound are definitely Wakeless and The Great Sabatini. Their doom elements with raw and powerful music is exactly the kind of thing we are all about. The last band I would like to mention is Seducing Medusa. Their pure crazy energy and stage presence is nothing less than inspirational. Now, this is not an exhaustive list of influential bands from the local scene, especially because of its massive influx of talent that we have seen over the past few years. These are just a few of the bands that challenge our sound, performance, and creativity which propels us to attempt and improve the entity that is Teleportoise.

Chuck: Are any of you involved in other creative projects?

Adam: I do a lot of illustration and am currently in the animation program at Seneca, Calum is in the Philosophy program at the University which is probably a creative project on a whole other level, and Vanin is really good at squats and Dark Souls. Musically though this is the only band we’re in.

Chuck: Tell us a bit about your writing process.

Adam: Musically we usually start with some sort of very clear image of what we want to happen in the song and we build a soundtrack around it. This can get fairly specific at times and it really helps us get the exact sounds we want. So far it has been Vanin and I that have come up with the foundations for the various songs and we’ll have an idea of what we want the sections to sound like, but we all personalize those parts as the song progresses. It’s really cool when a song ferments as we play it a bunch of times at practice and it ends up sounding nothing like what we originally wrote.
The lyrics usually relate to the images we establish in the song but sometimes they don’t. The music has always come first though at this point and I find the areas where I want to have lyrics afterwards.

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Chuck: How did the EP come together?

Calum: The EP was rumoured to happen for about a year and a half. However, because we work at the pace of a tortoise it took us forever to actually get into gear and into a studio. We finally got together and decided on what songs should go on our EP, which, was basically just what was not going to be on our full length (first being rumoured here). We talked around for places to record until we came by Brent Munger (Drummer of Wakeless). He really wanted to record us; we really wanted to record. It was love at first sight. Romanticisms aside, it was actually the smoothest recording sessions any of us have ever had. We had a setup in Guelph’s own Jam hall where Brent was able to record us as we wanted to; raw off the floor. To keep the integrity of our sound we wanted it to sound as natural flowing as we possibly could. It took about 15 hours for all of the tracking to be done for all the songs. Brent then did all the mixing, which understandably, was much more than 15 hours. His work on it though made a product that we are all happy about. The songs on the EP have each have the theme of land, sea, and sky (not necessarily in that order) with the intro song revolving around the sun. When combined you get the three things that make up the Earth, hence Terra.

Chuck: What does the “ideal future” look like for Teleportoise?

Calum: Our ideal future involves our full length album coming out before 2020. Also hopefully one day doing a tour or even a mini tour. Although we are always trying to push ourselves forward, even if it at a tortoise pace, we do not have clear expectations of the future. As long as we keep doing what we love to do, the ideal future is people also liking what we like.

Chuck: If you had to form a band with animals, which animals would be in the band and who would play each instrument?

Calum: I have been preparing my whole life to answer this question. I would get together a gaggle of geese. The band would consist of a vocalist, guitarist, drummer, bassist, and two bass clarinets (because bass clarinets sound like sick ducks as it is, I think it is a fitting and unique sound to such a band). It would be a post-hardcore band called “Alarms of Rome” where every single beak-down would be a capella and drums. Every song would consist of minimum one break-down. To imagine a crowd throwing down to the polyrhythmic honking of geese is the most delightfully ridiculous image I can think of.

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