On the Go

Style on the Go - June 25, 2009: Telepathe

Telepathe's Melissa Livaudais, left, and Busy Gangnes.
Telepathe's Melissa Livaudais, left, and Busy Gangnes. (Andrea Laszlo Konrath )
Thursday, June 25, 2009

Before they went their own way in 2004, Busy Gangnes was a drummer and Melissa Livaudais was a guitarist in the same Brooklyn math-rock outfit -- gigs many would consider pretty awesome, except that neither woman was interested in making music that was so conventional.

"By that point we were really bored with rules in that band," Gangnes told us in a recent interview. "We had a sampler and some pedals; we realized it was way more fun to just experiment."

They formed trancy electronic-pop outfit Telepathe -- pronounced like "telepathy," it's kind of an ideal name for the duo, who seem to be of one mind on the way to make music.

It so happened that lots of bands around them (including Animal Collective and Gang Gang Dance) were beginning to deconstruct the old "band" model and look for influences outside of traditional indie rock. "Chrome's on It," Telepathe's EP of rhythmic, techno-inspired songs, arrived last year at the exact right moment and set blogs buzzing. But it is this spring's full-length, "Dance Mother," produced by Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio, and the current tour, which lands in Washington tonight, that will test their longevity.

"It was a very extreme experience," Gangnes says of working with Sitek on the record (begun in late 2007). "He likes to work in the middle of the night. And he was very strict about that. He just constantly was pushing us to add more and more layers to our music -- to just go for it."

The resulting album is layers and layers of sound, with girlish vocals woven in as yet another rhythmic element. It is made for dancing. But as it turns out, it was not made for live performance. They had to take months off after the album was made to turn it -- with all its pieces -- into something that could actually be played onstage.

"Most of [the songs] have more than 100 tracks," Gangnes says. We never stopped to wonder, 'How in the . . . are we ever going to play this music live?' "

Telepathe performs with Lemonade and Lode Runner tonight at the Rock & Roll Hotel. Tickets are $12. Doors open at 8 p.m. 1353 H St. NE. 202-388-7625 or http://www.rockandrollhoteldc.com.

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