Interview

Deep Dive with TALK [Q&A]

Joe DelloStritto

It’s not every day that an artist can debut their first single, and earn over half a million streams within the first month of its release. This was the case for TALK, who released “Run Away to Mars” in late June. The emotive, lofty track turned heads, and TALK’s gravely vocals and incredible storytelling showed through. With the release of his second single today, “Train,” I had the opportunity to chat with the rising artist about his music, persona, and what’s next. Get to know the fun-loving, kind-hearted musician below.

First off, let me just say we’re super excited for you to join the Sheesh community. The first time I heard “Run Away From Mars” I was blown away by your vocals. So let’s start there: How do you feel about the way your debut single was received?

Thank you so much! Honestly, I was absolutely blown away by the support I received and am still receiving. I had teased the song months before release on TikTok and the love I got there was already overwhelming. I have been humbled by all the DMs and messages from people all over the world, who’ve connected to something I made on my laptop while I felt sad and isolated. It’s magic.

You also created quite the music video for "Run Away To Mars." How involved were you in making that happen? How important do you think music videos are to conveying the message behind a song?

I worked with a brilliant stylist Shirin Nadjafi to create the most beautiful sequin spacesuit ever seen on this planet and the most amazing director Jessamine Fok, who came up with the general concept. We filmed for probably 15 hours that day, maybe longer? I can’t tell you enough good things about the crew: they were the heart and soul of the video. I was just in the right place at the right time. I think the greatest music videos these days are the ones that capture the exact vibe of the song visually. I think we did a good job with the "Mars" video in that way. The video feels drifty and empty, but heartfelt and emotional at the same time.

   

I saw on your IG that you gave us a 60 second explanation behind "Run Away From Mars.” So let’s do the same for your new release, “Train.” What’s this one all about?

“Train” is a culmination of stories and experiences I’ve had and heard from others all rolled into one. Each single I’m releasing this summer is presented as a different character – all of them based on a part of my past or personality. You’ll see that reflected in the artwork for each one. This character is my party animal side. The first guy to get to the party and the last to leave. The guy who knows he should probably go home but stays for one last drink. The risk taker, the heartbreaker, the one who feels empty when he’s alone with his own thoughts. There’s certain lines in this song like “but if I see that train I might end up back in jail” – these lines are an extension of this character by way of stories I’ve been told by close friends and family. People that have dealt with addiction much more intensely than I have.

So I had noticed on TikTok that you mentioned “Train” is generally about addiction and peer pressure. How has addiction and peer pressure played a role in your life to this point?

I think everyone encounters peer pressure at some point and dealing with it can be stressful and confusing. I’m sure I’m guilty of it without even knowing. I’m sure many people are. I’m a fairly strong willed guy and I have a habit of not listening when people tell me to do something so I’ve been pretty safe from that. I’ve witnessed addiction in friends and family more so than in my own life, and it’s a brutal and destructive beast. I’ve seen lives fall apart and the lack of support in society for those affected by any type of addiction is heartbreaking.

"Train" certainly has more of an energetic feel. Did you find yourself happier while making this single, compared to when you wrote "Run Away To Mars?"

I don’t know if I’d describe it as happier. I would say there was more excitement. I was definitely in a different state of mind than I was while writing Mars. The song was born out of a sample sent to me by a dear friend Saavane, a fantastic producer from LA by way of France. It was the guitar you hear in the intro and it runs almost the entire song. It was one of the quickest songs I’ve ever produced. My roommate went on a walk with his girlfriend and when they got back maybe an hour later, I was recording my last “CHOO CHOO CHOO” and it didn’t really change much at all after that. I remember my roommate putting on my headphones and saying “Yeah, ok this is a smash” and it’s been my personal most listened to track I’ve ever made. I would say that it brings me happiness now listening to it rather than while I was making it.

Going off of that – tell me about yourself beyond the music. What’s hanging out with TALK like? Hobbies?

I cook a lot! I absolutely love cooking. I live with my band who happen to be four hungry boys and I make meals and snacks for them probably every day. I admire people like Action Bronson and Matty Matheson and have always had this dream of having some type of cooking show. I’m a pretty loud guy. Some may say very loud. I’ve always been that way and it’s way too late to try and change that. I like watching movies and telling dirty jokes and I love Korean BBQ and just Korea in general. I started watching this YouTube channel a few years ago called Korean Englishman and it was life changing. I’ve been starting to learn how to speak Korean and cook Korean food all because of them. But yeah, I’m a pretty normal guy who drinks rum and plays video games with my friends.

You are quite the comedian, and it seems like you're having fun every step of the way. How do you simply focus on being an unapologetic version of yourself?

I’m glad someone finally noticed that I’m funny. I work VERY hard on my incredible jokes and everyone seems to forget them and focus on the music. So refreshing to be a part of this hard hitting investigative journalism your showcasing here! But in all honesty, I spent a long time trying to be someone other than myself and it’s just exhausting. If you spend time with me you’ll see that I am exactly who you think I am. I’m way too lazy to pretend to be something I’m not. I hope that inspires other people to embrace themselves and show their true colors. Don’t let anyone tell you who you’re supposed to be. They don’t know jack shit.

How did you chose the name TALK. Any special meaning behind it?

TALK comes from two different places. The first is I never stop talking. It also happens to be my favorite Coldplay song. Chris Martin is my hero and saved my life with his beautiful lyrics and melodies. It felt right to carry a piece of him with me for life.

It’s crazy, you seem so polished already, with only two releases under your belt. When did you start making music, and playing instruments? Where do you see yourself improving as a creative?

Thank you! I was an extremely hyper kid and that left my parents desperate for something to hold my attention. That happened to be drums and I started playing when I was 6. After that I jumped around to every instrument you can think of. I was training to be a producer without even knowing it. I’ve been writing and producing more seriously for about 8 years and almost full time for the last 3. My dream is to write, record, produce and mix/master a full length album myself. I already have most of these at a decent level but my kryptonite is patience and I haven’t had the patience to sit and learn some of the critical techniques I’d need to accomplish that dream. I’ve always gone off feel in every other aspect and never learnt how to do things properly. I can’t seem to make that technique apply to my mixes, ha!

What's your plan to cut through the saturation of the industry? How has your team been able to help?

Every artist has just come off a year and a half of isolation. That’s going to produce an incredible amount of inspiring music. I think we’re about to enter another golden age of music. It’s important artists lift each other up and celebrate one another. That’s how we move forward as an industry and as human beings. I could write a small novel about my team. They are one of a kind. I am supported by too many people to name here but I really want to highlight one of my best friends and a reason I am here today making what I make – Drew Yorke. We went to elementary and high school together. We’ve always been friends and he was the first person to care about what I was doing years ago.  He is a genius when it comes to content on social media and strategy and what you see me post on TikTok and Instagram, it is a two brain operation. I’m not here today speaking to you if it wasn’t for him. To all my other team members reading this, I promise I’ll write some nice stuff about you in the next interview, don’t be sad ok? Love you all equally, I promise.

What’s next for TALK? Where you you see yourself, say, one year down the line. Five?

The dream has always been to play stadiums. I think that’s everyone’s dream and it’s mine too. I think another one is getting to meet people that have impacted me and to thank them. People like Dave Grohl and Chris Martin have taught me how to write and express emotion through song and helped make me who I am today. I think that deserves a thank you. And maybe a small handmade trinket from an antiques store or something, I don’t know.

Lastly, why should the people care about TALK?

I’m not sure exactly why people should care about me. I believe in being kind to people and showing love to everyone I meet. There’s so much hate in the world and I want to do anything I can to have a positive impact. So maybe if you wanna care about me, care about that stuff instead and we’ll already be best friends.

Stream “Train” below:


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