Touch Sensitive & Your Smith Interview Each Other About Latest Single 'Telephone Line'

Touch Sensitive & Your Smith Interview Each Other About Latest Single 'Telephone Line'

With their irresistible collab of italo-disco influenced sounds out in late 2023, the pair shine a light on its creation

Image: Left - Touch Sensitive, Right - Your Smith

Late last year, longtime fave Aussie bass overlord, production wizard and DJ, Michael Di Francesco AK Touch Sensitive dropped his silky smooth new single Telephone Line that saw him teaming up with US vocalist Your Smith.

Wasting no time, Telephone Line opens with big, bright FM synth chords and Your Smith’s alluring vocals, soon met with some claps and cymbals before the tension gives way to bouncy drums and bass lines, all the while keeping the focus on Your Smith and the irresistible vocal hook of the chorus.

Speaking on the single’s creation, Touch Sensitive explains “In 2018 I was on a plane to a gig and when I landed ‘The Spot’ by Your Smith came on. Eventually we got to hang out at the Future Classic studios in LA and in that session we pretty much wrote what you hear. It then lived on my computer for years and was opened monthly to see if I could make it better (oftentimes making it worse). I re-recorded it on two separate occasions, once in Sydney and once in LA, and there’s even a disco version that we did live to tape with an awesome Rhodes solo by John Carol Kirby. In the end we settled on the version you hear now; I'm so happy it’s finally out in the world.”

Meanwhile, Your Smith reflects "I’ve been a fan of Touch Sensitive for years and am absolutely honoured to be featured on one of his songs. I can’t wait to shamelessly bump this song while screaming over it at full volume telling the person next to me how I got to work with Touch Sensitive."

With Touch Sensitive’s next shows coming up at Waves Wollongong on Friday February 9 (alongside Hellcat Speedracer and The Naughty Boys), as well as a slot at Frankston’s Waterfront Festival on Saturday February 10, Touch Sensitive & Your Smith got nostalgic for Pilerats and had a chat about how Telephone Line came to be.

Touch Sensitive:

Do you remember the session, as in how it came about? I remember hearing the spot on a plane, then hit you up almost straight away.

Your Smith:

My buddy Elliott Kozel had introduced me to your music and we really geeked out on your stuff. So when you hit me up I felt SO COOL. I remember that session you showed me a bunch of songs I could potentially sing on. Every one you showed me was amazing and it was impossible to decide. I can’t remember how we landed on the one we did but I remember the song was insanely easy to write. It just came tumbling out. I was like, is this legal? Can a song be this easy? I think we wrote like 3 ideas that day. When are THOSE coming out, Mikey?!

Have you always been one for collaborating with other artists on music? Is that important to you when it comes to your creative process?

Touch Sensitive:

Always, 100%. I feel like today to a certain extent, artists expect themselves to do everything so it’s easy to forget that some of the best songs in history weren’t made by just one person… except Prince or Stevie or Junie Morrison. But yeah, I love bouncing back n forth and most of all laughs and a good time because even if nothing comes of it at least you had a good time. BUT. Sometimes you just want to troll alone and that’s cool too.

Your Smith:

I’ve actually gotten in a little rut of NOT being able to write unless I’m collaborating. The good times aspect keeps me out of my head. Sometimes when I’m alone I start overthinking and it gets all murky. I’m a big collab guy.

Touch Sensitive:

It does help having someone nudge things along even if it is like, yeah that sound is good, or how about we try that…

Do you feel like your creative process has changed over the years, like as technology has evolved so has your process?

Your Smith:

Yes definitely. I grew up just writing with an acoustic guitar. I think that limits what I’m able to write because I could only write over a rhythm that my right hand could play while I sang (I’m not the best guitar player). Being able to record ideas, even steal loops to write over, has opened up a whole WORLD of writing. But funny enough, I kinda wanna challenge myself to pick up my guitar again and write solo. This is reminding me to get on that lol.

Touch Sensitive:

Yeah same, but sometimes boundaries are good. Like today you can still even change things after it’s out.

Your Smith:

You can?!? And like, reupload to platforms?!

Touch Sensitive:

Haha no, well yes but no. I mean you can open the session and ponder what could have been.

Your Smith:

Oh got you, got you, yes definitely. Part of the job is knowing when the song is done. That’s sometimes the toughest part.

Touch Sensitive:

Before it’s out and in the system I think you can swap it out at the last second but it has to be identical in length.

Your Smith:

I was about to be like hold up, I’ma have to fix some of these songs real quick brb.

Touch Sensitive:

Hahaha!

Your Smith:

What do you remember from our session writing “Telephone Line” aka “hottest heater of all time”.

Touch Sensitive:

I remember first off we were talking about Jam & Lewis and that you’re from the same part of the world. Then also when we landed on it, just dancing and laughing. I think I might have listened to it for a week straight after we did it, and also that you were excited because you could finally put ‘Saginaw Wire’ into a song.

What else can we share about the creation of “Telephone Line” besides the 100 different versions there are? Even one with a lap steel guitar which I think was cool.

Your Smith:

Just that singing ‘Saginaw Wire’ is immensely satisfying. It is my version of Cellar Door. And I’m glad you brought that up because I am STILL pumped that I used Saginaw. Ever since I heard Paul Simon use it in “America”, I wanted to use it in a song. It is a beautiful word.

Touch Sensitive:

I remember googling it after, I didn’t realize it was a corporation. I thought it was just the name of the telephone exchange so to speak.

Your Smith:

It’s a city in Michigan. I’ve never been there though.

Touch Sensitive:

What’s something we know about each other that whoever is reading this should know…?

Your Smith:

Hmm let’s see. I can’t think of anything about you that I know… that someone else wouldn’t. So instead, I’ll share a great memory from when I was staying with you in Sydney (Sydney right?) and we went to Pride and saw Courtney Act perform a MASSIVE show. Then you took me to maybe one of the best meals of my life at that amazing Chinese restaurant with the floor-to-ceiling aquarium. Remember that?

Touch Sensitive:

Omg yes, Golden Century, that’s right but it’s closed now. Let me think… your love for Jam & Lewis maybe? But actually, maybe that’s why I always thought you were from Minneapolis. Also curious, did your dance come naturally or did you study?

Your Smith:

I grew up dancing in various dance groups — my favourite was tap dancing — but when I moved to LA I started frequenting Ryan Heffington’s dance studio. I was there so much they let me volunteer at the front desk for free classes. So, for the 5 years I lived in LA, I went maybe 3 times a week. They closed the studio over the pandemic and I don’t think I’ll ever emotionally recover from that haha.

Touch Sensitive:

Also, I forgot to ask, what are you working on at the moment?

Your Smith:

I got some stuff in the works but mostly just focusing on family :)

Touch Sensitive:

Awesome mostly the same here except I’m mainly trying to focus on ideas not gear (musical).

Last question before I let you go, what’s inspiring you at the moment?

Your Smith:

I’m kinda in the same boat! I want to start focusing on the song and less on the production. Writing good bones of a song before thinking about production is inspiring me right now.

Touch Sensitive:

Yeah I’m trying to stay away from chords, lovely chatting with you, until next time.

Telephone Line

Follow Touch Sensitive: Instagram / Facebook

Follow Your Smith: Instagram / Facebook

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