Telegraph Canyon's Chris Johnson To Launch New Electronic Side-Project? ASAP, Actually.

Just got off the horn with Telegraph Canyon's Chris Johnson for a little follow-up on this here Fort Worth Weekly item that says--hey now!--might he be dropping the guitar and harmonica for a new electronic-based project he's setting up to work on with Mike Sempert of San Francisco's Birds & Batteries?

Sho' 'nough, Johnson says from his home in Fort Worth, sounding pretty darn keen on the idea. In fact, he's already started writing some tunes for the band, which is tentatively being called Pelicanstate and will offer up tunes in the vein of MGMT and Postal Service.

And, he says, things on that front are already coming  along swimmingly: "I just finished up the first song last night, actually. I'm really stoked on it. A lot of it is stuff where I can just sit in front of a computer and work on it."

Like a bedroom project?

"In a way, yeah," Johnson says. "But it won't end up like that."

Not once he and Sempert start trying to lay down the songs onto tape, at least.

And that's coming ASAP, too. As the FW Weekly reports, they plan to do in a rented apartment in New Orleans--and soon.

"I'm gonna go down to New Orleans this weekend and scout it out," Johnson says.

Seems the idea for Johnson and Sempert to collaborate on something together has been a long time coming--so much so that, when considering producers for 2009's The Tide and The Current, Johnson says Telegraph Canyon almost went with Sempert instead of Centro-matic's Will Johnson.

"He's just somebody I can sit around and come up with stuff with," Johnson says of Sempert.

The two met a few years back now when Birds & Batteries came to town, looking to share a bill with the Slider Pines. When the Slider Pines had to back out, that band suggested Telegraph Canyon take its place on the bill; it did, and a friendship between the two acts immediately flourished.

"They've just been really good to us and helped us out with shows up in San Francisco," Johnson says. "And whenever they come down here, we try to help them out, too."

(In fact, the first time I caught Telegraph Canyon live, back in 2008, it was on a shared bill with Birds & Batteries at the now-closed Club Dada.)

Don't fret, though, Telegraph Canyon fans: Johnson's hardly leaving that band out in the lurch. As he's been writing Pelicanstate material, he's also been penning new Telegraph songs.

"I've written two or three songs this week," Johnson says. "I'm just gonna keep piling up all this stuff. It's cool--so long as I'm able to keep writing like this."

Which means, yes, Telegraph Canyon is also planning to record in the near future--and again with Will Johnson at the helm.

After all, no need to extinguish that fire just yet, especially as Telegraph Canyon continues to earn love in the regional and national spotlights--which, go figure, explains how the FW Weekly folks got hipped to the Pelicanstate plans in the first place. Johnson dropped the news on FW Weekly scribe Anthony Mariani earlier this week as the two conversed for an article that Mariani is writing on Telegraph Canyon for Paste Magazine.

Look for that article to run in either the June or July issues of the Georgia-based publication.

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