Feature: The Ingredients of Tesse's 'How It All Unfolds'

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Fresh from the release of How It All Unfolds, Tesse aka Tom Stephens gives us an insight into the inspiration behind his debut LP. Scroll down to also find out where you can catch Tesse on the road!

I wrote a lot of these songs while on the road playing the drums with another band. I’d spent the better part of 2016 away from home while in an unstable relationship and going through some health issues. Touring definitely has its joys, it’s a big privilege getting to see the world as well as play music every day, but a lot of it consists of large amounts of time on aeroplanes, in vans driving down highways and sitting in cafes and empty green rooms. I was pretty self-absorbed and exhausted, all in all, a bad combination. A lot of these songs were written while in that place as a way of working through those emotions.

Neil Young - ‘On the Beach’ from On the Beach LP 
Neil’s masterpiece. The recording has so much raw energy and life, I remember being shown this song and being instantly struck down like I’d been hit by a truck but in a good way. Really fueled the desire to record straight to tape for our album. The instrumentation is so sparse and beautiful, every note permeates a feeling. Lyrically it’s so direct and potent. Each line says something universal but he’s not trying to be grandiose or setting out to heal the world with his words, he’s just telling it like it is; “though my problems are meaningless… that don’t make them go away.”

Relationship Breakdowns  
Any relationship coming to an end is a real reminder of the impermanence of everything. I was really confronted with this around the time of writing and recording these songs. After coming home from that period of heavy touring, two relationships that I held up high dramatically ended and it really rocked me. Creating these songs with 4 close friends was a form of therapy. I think all art making is about appreciating the broad spectrum of human experience and emotion, embracing everything that comes with an experience, be it negative or positive and turning into something.

Smog – ‘Red Apples’ from Red Apple Falls LP 
There is an incredible weight to this recording. Each line sang and each note played is delivered with purpose and intent. There’s an effortlessness to it; you get the feeling like it could have never been played again after this particular take. That was the intention with our record, to go in for each take and try to be completely present and together for that length of time and whatever happens, happens; embracing the imperfections and rolling with it. 

Long Blacks and Tea  
Gotta keep the motor running while making an album. Turns out engineer Alex Bennett of Sound Recordings, Castlemaine is not only a wizard on the faders but is also a wizard on the coffee machine and carries a serious selection of loose leaves. Much appreciated in between takes.

You can listen to How It All Unfolds below:

You can catch Tesse live at these dates:
July 12th - The Lansdowne, Sydney 
July 13th - The Catfish, Melbourne 
Click here for more info