TEES Interview - Cathartic Dance Music
Meet TEES, a u-beaut Aussie duo bringing in the vibes with their acid-house pop groovers. We had a chat to Lizzy and Sean, the minds behind the TEES project about their musical past, the writing process of their debut EP Flow, plus much more!
You can catch TEES on tour when they hit up Melbourne for "VOLUMES presents" on February 1, and at Sydney's Brighton UP Bar for the Flow EP launch.
You can read our review of the Flow EP, HERE.
Futuremag Music: How’d you enter the music scene, and how did TEES form?
TEES (Lizzy): I lived in this old crappy house in Wollongong called ‘The Mansion’, and pretty much everyone living in the house were all musicians. At the time I didn’t sing, or play any instruments, but some nights everyone came together to jam, so I started to get involved. One morning I remember waking up, and my house mates being, “oh Lizzy, you have a really good voice”, and from there I my music journey started. I played for a few bands before, I met Sean who just started up a new project called TEES. He was looking for another person to start getting involved, and we joined up. That’s basically how TEES started.
Sean has always been into music, he started quite young playing instruments. He’s also been into the acid house, dance scene for a while too.
TEES (Sean): I was super into Kevin Shields, and Loveless before all the acid house stuff. That influenced me to explore the garage beats stuff, which helped me move into house, and dance as I descended into it. I love merging dance with psychedelia.
Futuremag Music: Who are some musicians that have influenced your life?
TEES (Lizzy): I think all the music we all listen to influences us. I don’t purposefully reference musicians in a direct way, it’s more subconscious. A lot of different music influences the way I write and understand music. I love the sound of Elizabeth Frazier, the Lijadu Sisters.
TEES (Sean): I’ve been listening to a lot of dub at the moment, a very rhythmic sound. I’m more in the production side of things because Lizzy is writing quite a lot. I really enjoy rounding out the sound.
Futuremag Music: Can you talk us through the production and the writing process of Flow?
TEES (Lizzy): It’s been a different process for each song, as we’ve both become more confident in our different roles. Some songs Sean wrote the beginning of it, and I added something at the end, other tracks I started, and Sean took it from there. It really depends on who came up with the idea. Overall, it’s been a very collaborative process.
TEES (Sean): It’s definitely been 50/50 down the line. In regards to the Flow EP, some tracks are very old, about three years, I think one of them was Lizzy’s third time singing on a track. With everything else we’re very haphazard with it all, it’s a natural organic process.
TEES (Lizzy): Even though everything we do is carefully considered, it’s also a natural process. We don’t really talk about what it means until afterwards. The way we do vocals, and the lyrics is I’ll be play around with the melodies and words just pop out and they’ll resonate and form the structure. It’s kind of weird, we write the lyrics really quickly, and end up being quite profound, they come from a place we didn’t quite know we were kind of focusing on. It’s a very cathartic process. A lot of the songs are quite personal. Some artists write a poem and try to fit it into a song but we do it backwards, and something just comes out. I like it that way, because we surprise ourselves with some of the deep poetry that just happens out of something quite disjointed and we polish it up later.
TEES (Sean): It’s nice to respond to sounds, rather than monologue internally. It’s almost like having an epiphany accidently.
Futuremag Music: What can fans expect with your upcoming tour?
TEES (Lizzy): We’ll be playing the Flow EP on this upcoming tour, that’s for sure!
TEES (Sean): It’s quite ethereal but still house driven and our shows are introverted as well, due to melancholic aspects. In terms of the production side of things, it’s like our recorded work, but there’ll be a lot more movement and dancing, it will be vibe central.
Futuremag Music: If ‘TEES’ was a cocktail what would be in it to best describe yourselves and your music?
TEES (Lizzy): Ahhhhhhh… Well we do love an aperol spritz!
TEES (Sean): Maybe we’re a mimosa? Sparkling like the champagne, and sweet like the grapefruit.
TEES (Lizzy): Also a bit tacky, hahaha!
TEES (Sean): Let’s throw a prawn in it for good measure! We’re definitely something summery, but something to reminisce and contemplate on. We sometimes get a little too emotionally drunk.