The End: Telekinesis | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Friday, December 6th, 2019  

The End: Telekinesis

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May 17, 2019 Issue #65 - Mitski and boygenius
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To end out the week, we ask Telekinesis some questions about endings and death. Telekinesis is the project of Seattle-based singer/songwriter/drummer Michael Benjamin Lerner, whose new album is titled Effluxion, which comes from the Latin term meaning "to flow."  

While on previous albums Lerner worked with Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla and Spoon's Jim Eno as producers, Lerner self-produced Effluxion, recording it in his basement home studio in West Seattle and playing every instrument. It was Walla who helped discover Lerner, shepherding his self-titled debut album in 2009 (released by Merge), producing it and playing on every track. A decade later, Lerner is still signed to Merge and releasing his fifth album for the label. Effluxion is the follow-up to 2015's Ad Infinitum. The album was influenced by his time in 2017 as a touring member of label-mates Teenage Fanclub, leading him to a more back-to-basics sound as opposed to the drum machine-led Ad Infinitum. Effluxion was previewed by the single "Cut the Quick," which was shared via a video filmed in Manhattan that featured Lerner being haunted by a mysterious spirit living in a photograph.

Read on as Lerner discusses how he'd like to die, what song he'd like played at his deathbed, his concepts of heaven and hell, his favorite endings to movies and books, and how two feuding British brothers initiated his favorite band breakup.

How would you like to die and what age would you like to be?

Oh good grief, I haven't given this much thought. But, I suppose I'll give the same answer most people probably would give, given the circumstance of being able to make it however you'd see fit. I'd love to just go in my sleep, after I've been able to have told all my loved ones how much they've meant to my life, and I'd love for it to be on the eve of an epic storm, like sideways rain and wind and cold, so I could hear the rain beating down on the roof. As for age, man, I haven't a clue. It's all dependent on how long my body is functioning properly! Hopefully past 80?

What song would you like to be playing at your deathbed?

As of right now, "Strangers" by The Kinks. I mean, I'm sure old version of me won't want that, but man, it just seems right currently. It just seems apropos at this moment. 

What song would you like to be performed at your funeral and who would you like to sing it?

Man, again, probably the above? I couldn't possibly choose who would perform such a task! How terrifying. 

What's your favorite ending to a movie?

This is a tough one. At the moment, because I just watched it again recently, the end of The Shawshank Redemption. I just absolutely love the look on the warden's face when he pokes his hand through the hole, and I love that final shot of Red walking on the beach in Mexico making his way to see his old friend Andy. Such a brilliant ending to a brilliant film.

What's your favorite last line in a book?

"Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody." From The Catcher in the Rye.

What's your favorite series finale episode of a TV show?

I think the final episode of Breaking Bad was ridiculously great, and a massively fitting ending to a brilliant series.

What's your favorite last song on an album?

"Motion Picture Soundtrack" from [Radiohead's] Kid A for double sure.

What's your favorite last album by a band who then broke up?

The Postal Service: Give Up.

What's your favorite way a band broke up?

Hmm, I think maybe Oasis? Like, I think it's admirable when it's a real thing, like they don't speak, and they legit broke up for a good reason. I could be wrong, but it truly doesn't feel like they are going to reunite despite all the globs of cash they have been offered to do so, so it feels like a real break up. 

Whose passing has most affected you?

David Bowie was a rough one for me, particularly. It just felt like losing someone so very special, a true artist, one that cannot really exist today. 

If you were on death row, what would you like your last meal to be?

Sushi, please. A chirashi bowl from Mashiko in West Seattle, to be specific.

What's your concept of the afterlife?

I really don't quite know what to make of it. I'm not a religious person, so I'm not really one to believe in the heaven or hell thing, but I'd like to think it maybe goes all dark like a big sleep, and then something happens next, but I don't quite know what that next might be.

What would be your own personal version of heaven if it exists?

A place where it is rainy and windy and cozy every day, where I would have a cabin in the middle of nowhere, with a wood stove, endless supplies of wood, and some musical instruments to make endless tunes. And my wife and all of the pets we had throughout our lives would be with me always.

What would be the worst punishment the devil could devise for you in hell, if he exists?

If hell was legit hot, that'd be punishment enough. I can't stand being too hot.

If reincarnation exists, who or what would you like to be reincarnated as?

Cat, probably. Seems super chill.

What role or achievement would you most like to be remembered for?

I hope that I was just a good man who created some good art and was a good member of society, and was a good husband and brother and son and uncle, etc., etc. I can't think of one specific moment or achievement I'd like to be remembered for other than the above.

What would you like your last words to be?

"I love you," to my wife Amiee.

[Note: This article originally appeared in Issue 65 of Under the Radar's print magazine, which is out now. This is its debut online.]

www.telekinesismusic.com

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