SoundCloud Superhero: J.S. Tedesco

This article is the third of a series called “SoundCloud Superheroes,” where our writers discover new artists they like on SoundCloud and share them with our readers. There are really no boundaries…the music just has to be interesting and fresh. We realize this is a huge SoundCloud endorsement. We like SoundCloud, so that is okay with us.

J.S. Tedesco lives in the Pittsburgh, Pa. neighborhood of Wilkinsburg. He manages an animal rescue shelter and lives with his girlfriend in a quaint second-floor apartment, where they own three dogs and four cats. On summer weekends, the couple hosts occasional parties, featuring fire pits, friends and their dogs, icy summer cocktails, and if guests stay long enough, they might hear Tedesco cover his favorite Outfield song, “Your Love.” A few months ago, the musician requested the sexually suggestive song at his best friend’s wedding in Austin…not very appropriate for the occasion, but we love his cover of the song that he posted among nine other songs in his new set on SoundCloud.

Because Tedesco’s life is loaded with full-time hours at the animal shelter, he doesn’t have too much time to devote to his music. Most friends of his haven’t even heard his music before unless they’ve been in his bedroom and seen his recording equipment and array of instruments.

“I have a job and music doesn’t really come up much when you are finding homes for animals. There are a few people who I have mentioned it to. I feel like too many people point out that they know how to play songs on a guitar,” he modestly explains.
Tedesco uses what he refers to as “pretty regular, cheap stuff” to record his music. His setup includes a 6-year-old old desktop computer, Fruity Loops for recording/programming, an M-audio interface, an Alvarez acoustic guitar and a Korg XD5 keyboard. When writing, the musician always starts with the sound before the lyrics, whether it’s finding catchy notes on a guitar or laying out an interesting beat on the computer. Sometimes he dreams about songs and then wakes up and hurries to his computer to capture them.

Recording has been a learning process for Tedesco. He elaborates, “I sat down two summers ago determined to figure out a program and make some fake drum beats. I had been using a Tascam four-track since like 2001. I just kept messing around with it until things sounded decent. It’s been a lot of late nights.”

The lyrics that he adds on top of his instrumentation are about people, images, and situations that stick with him. Although his songs sound like whimsical summery themes, they usually contain stories of poor past decisions or stories about misbehaving and mistreated animals.

“I work at an ‘open door’ shelter. That means we take in animals all the time. Shelters that sound nice are called “no kill,” but this just means they send animals they don’t want my way. I tell people things they don’t want to hear every day. Making songs is a stress reliever for me. In more than a few songs the dogs are accidentally recorded because I do not have a proper studio,” explains Tedesco.

Moreover, some of the musician’s songs are specifically about animals of his. “Pit Bull” is referencing his girlfriend’s puppy, “Shokou” is a reference to a recently lost dog, and “Fall Asleep” talks about his dog “Bullet” tapping his feet (or paws).

The song “Fight Me” features his good friend Robin Joyce on guitar. “Fight Me” is Tedesco’s attempt to make animal abusers fight him rather than beat, fight with, or abuse their pets. “I’m in league with animals / Come and fight me / I’m lost inside a cage / Come and find me / Once we’re lost we’re never found,” he sings.

According to the musician, he moved from Rochester, New York to Pittsburgh in 2006 because of “boredom and a mistake,” but he ended up staying in Pittsburgh because he fell in love with the city.

When considering the Pittsburgh music scene and whether he will eventually play music outside of his bedroom, Tedesco says, “I actually didn’t play or write any music from 2006 to 2010 because someone told me I was awful and annoying. That isn’t an excuse but I really am just now feeling comfortable with my sound. I also don’t have any desire to be an acoustic singer/songwriter. There are so many better people at that. I’d like to have a band.”

Hopefully Tedesco finds his band and starts playing shows soon, because his set on SoundCloud is incredibly promising. Listeners can hear the musician’s Sonic Youth and Pavement influences, but really he’s created a sound of his own–a reverbed, colorful mixture of electronic beats, guitar, piano, and layers of vocals. The most memorable tracks are “Fight Me,” “Just Because,” “Fight and Worry,” and of course, his cover of The Outfield’s “Your Love.”

Listen to J.S. Tedesco through the embedded SoundCloud below.

–Jen Brown

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