"The Tea Party – we don’t play to backing tracks or anything like that, you know."
Bryget Chrisfield checks in with Jeff Martin and drummer Jeff Burrows to discuss the challenges of rehearsing tracks they’d never performed live before ahead of The Tea Party’s Transmission 20th anniversary album-in-full tour.
In 2015, The Tea Party kicked off a tour to celebrate 20 years since the release of their breakout third album The Edges Of Twilight, playing the album in full. And now, two years later, it’s time to celebrate 20 years since The Tea Party’s fourth album, Transmission, dropped.
When asked which particular Transmission songs The Tea Party had never tackled live, Jeff Martin offers, “I’d say that Gyroscope was certainly one of them... Alarum was another one – just to be able to bring the intensity forth from what was created on the record and to bring it to the stage; that was certainly challenging.”
Martin also singles out Emerald (“one of the two ballads on the record”) as one that The Tea Party had “never really tackled live”, before enthusing, “Once we got our heads around the dynamic... it became one of the highlights of the show.”
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Pointing out The Tea Party are “not huge, huge fans of rehearsing”, drummer Jeff Burrows adds, “Normally we just like to get our stuff together and then we make it happen, and we do it really well.
"But Stuart [Chatwood, bass/keys] has always been the one who takes care of any and all of the programming and stuff to create the sounds and so on live. So the first, I think, two entire days – Jeff’s gear was set up and my gear was set up, and Stuart was locked in around his keyboard set-up and computers. And Jeff and I were drinking tea and watching some television,” he laughs, “because Stuart was just slammed with all these ancient sounds that hadn’t been recreated since the album when Jeff and me were creating those specific noises and sounds and states.”
“What you need to understand, too,” Martin interjects, “is, like, when Jeff and I talk about Stuart programming and stuff, right? The Tea Party – we don’t play to backing tracks or anything like that, you know.
"What Stuart is actually doing with four limbs – haha, he’s being the octopus that he is and essentially we’re just trying to distil what we’ve created on the records. And so even though Transmission incorporated a lot of electronic influences, in the mix of the sounds and the songs; to experience The Tea Party playing Transmission – it’s still an organic entity."
For a full look at the dates, click here or scroll down.
When & Where: 4 Nov, Forum Theatre
9 Nov, The Tivoli
10 Nov, Enmore Theatre
27 Oct, Astor Theatre
2 Nov, Thebarton Theatre
3 Nov, Odeon Theatre