DFW Music News

The Pandemic Served as a 'Songwriting Bootcamp' for Folk-Pop Duo Telephone House

Jay Simon
Dan Bowman (far left) and Tarun Krishnan (far right) collaborated with old friends on a new project Telephone House.
This past year has been one giant swing forward for newly formed Dallas folk-pop group Telephone House. Through intensive virtual writing sessions, the band explored stories of love found within times of uncertainty.

The band recently released its first video, for the track “Cracks in the Pavement,” off their first album Pendulum. They will celebrate the occasion with a performance and official EP release party on Thursday, May 13, at Wild Detectives.

Telephone House's lead vocalists, guitarists and songwriters Dan Bowman and Tarun Krishnan met years ago. (“We would meet at gatherings from friends and artists on Sundays, but he had moved out to New York City while I was back at Texas playing with Fox and the Bird," Bowman says of his bandmate) They worked consistently through the pandemic by sending one another notes, voice memos and demos.

"We were holed up in our homes sending each other songs back and forth,” Bowman says.

"Part of the pandemic was sort of an intensive writing bootcamp,” Krishnan adds. “It was kind of a gift to spend so much time writing and sharing and sitting with music versus worrying about when we would have to play the next show.”

Pendulum was a highly collaborative effort between the duo and musicians Bill Richmond (violin), Mimo Morreale (bass), Aaron Stanfield (drums), Jacob Metcalf (electric guitar) and Ben Fisher (accordion).

“Scott Byrne was set up in Deep Ellum with his studio equipment, and we just worked with him over the pandemic to record them professionally and do it the right way,” Bowman says of the album's producer.

Byrne’s recent move from Los Angeles to Dallas gave the group the enthusiasm to record their multi-instrumental project.

“The choice between lo and hi-fidelity was a pivotal point for Telephone House," Krishnan says. "The decision to give a shit about what we were doing was not an inconsequential decision, and I think it makes Pendulum feel like a labor of love because it was for everybody involved.”

The recording allowed a reunion between Bowman and his other band, Fox and the Bird, with members such as Metcalf and Kim Back, a violinist and stand-up bass player.

"The decision to give a shit about what we were doing was not an inconsequential decision, and I think it makes Pendulum feel like a labor of love because it was for everybody involved.” –Tarun Krishnan

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The album explores three different stories about the balance of finding and discovering love.

“‘Cracks in the Pavement’ follows this narrator reflecting something that you may think is love, when it isn’t,” Bowman says.

Bowman and Krishnan reflected on their own journeys of hopeless romanticism through the use of metaphors of weeds and cracks as red flags that a relationship won’t work.

“‘In The Middle’ is about the concepts of swinging left and right of extreme emotions and experiences in life," Bowman says. "When you wake up and realize something that didn’t work out, and you can walk in the middle right now.”

Krishnan says the song is about the burdens of heartbreak.

“I feel there’s a lot there depending on what state you’re in a relationship,” he says.

The music video for “Cracks in the Pavement” was a collaboration with Jay Simon, a concert and event photographer who brought their vision to life in a decaying building in Tehuacana, a Texas ghost town.

“The equivalent of a four- to five-story modern building that was built by European stone masons with a huge cathedral in the middle,” says Bowman of the location. Simon's team re-created the image of decay perfectly.

“A combination of Jay’s concepts and our concepts that capture our more contemplative thoughts in a crumbling room,” Bowman says.

Although Krishnan dealt with severe anxiety during the pandemic, he says he aimed to capture a hopeful feeling with the album.

“I wrote ‘Putnam and Bedford’ and wrote the whole song in one session, which is the intersection I lived in Brooklyn,” Krishnan says. “It’s getting to experience unconditional love and acknowledging the beauty in the broken. It’s the most minimal, but feel it’s the most intimate of the three.”

Watch the video for "Cracks in the Pavement" below: