The Atmospheres of Drywall Obituary
The chorus of wet guitars and synthesized piano chords on Teros Midi’s Drywall Obituary form a collage of and homage to the artist’s musical influences—songs and albums that have become as much a part of the artist’s being as their hair color or a freckle on their arm.
“This is what makes me, this is what has formed me,” Teros said. “It’s an amalgamation of wearing my influences on my sleeve, but also forming what I am as an artist. Kind of like showing how people walked so I can run.”
Teros began a foray into music by joining band at 11 years old, an after-school activity they reluctantly admitted was very fulfilling. After years of playing tuba, they decided to pick up a bass guitar. Their classmate, Madeline Kassen, heard Teros could play bass and invited them to join her Cain’s Ballroom Battle of the Bands group. The group won the audience vote and got into a car crash leaving the venue. From then on, the two artists have entwined their musical endeavors. Kassen is featured on three tracks on Drywall.
In conjunction with experimenting with bass guitar and building a musical community, Teros discovered Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon—the first album that drew the artist to experiment with instrumentation in a new way.
“I heard how expansive and large and so professionally crafted that album was,” Teros said. “And they created it organically with instruments. They’re making this insane level of atmosphere, but with guitars, and drums, and pianos. It broke up my idea of what music was.”
The sonic world of the Dark Side of the Moon informed how Teros heard music and approached songwriting—seeking soundscapes that form cohesive, self-contained scenes and themes.
On the title track of Drywall Obituary, Teros creates one of these distinct environments. The song discusses feelings of isolation. The narrator looks around their room, feeling that their own eulogy is being written by the walls themselves. The intimate production and Kassen’s weepy vocals underline this growing feeling of loneliness, putting the listener inside the room alongside the artist.
Another source of Teros’ inspiration lies in the music and general aura of Kate Bush, an English singer-songwriter whose 1985 album Hounds of Love also inspired the look and sound of Drywall Obituary.
“I just feel akin with her,” Teros said of Bush.
Bush’s ability to push the envelope and create the soundscapes of the future greatly influenced how Teros interprets songwriting and album creation. Donned in Kate Bush merch, Teros labeled Bush as a “mega-genius” whose influence on Teros’ life has gone beyond just music, becoming a part of who they are.
When writing their music, Teros draws from more inspirations than just other artists. Teros cites their queer and non-binary identities as a central force in all of their creative endeavors, particularly seeking vindication for queer individuals in Oklahoma, while reminding listeners that their non-binary identity is not just a uniform they wear.
“Gender is simultaneously so ever-present, but also non-existent at the same time,” Teros said. “There is a radical self-expression of gender, but also a radical freedom from gender in my art. I want other people to know that and enjoy that.”
These identities, influences and stories all come together in the tracks on Drywall. Their favorite track, Foxes, was born of a half-of-a-xanax fever dream. Recounting the dream, Teros talks about a party at their house. The 1977 film, Suspiria, played on the tv. When noises started to come from outside, Teros and their friends went to the backyard where they found the ground coated in foxes. The foxes were bathed in a red light. A woman stood and beckoned Teros to come further outside. The light switched to lavender and the foxes started to tear Teros and their friends limb from limb. It hurt, but then it didn’t. The attack became euphoric. And the next morning, with the help of Sonny Tharel, Teros turned the dream into a song.
“My music is based in my reality,” Teros said. “But it’s more lush and more grand. A romanticized version that exists as an escapist vessel—for myself and the people listening.”
Find Drywall Obituary wherever you stream your music. Follow @teros.midi on Instagram and Twitter. Visit Teros' Bandcamp & Cult Love Sound Tapes Bandcamp to buy Drywall Obituary on CD and tape. You can check out Teros’ radio show on okno.one on Fridays at 6 p.m.