Lancaster trio TV FACE have honed a fun, raw and funky post-rock meets noise rock sound with touches of psych and punk influences who, in their words, “make songs out of being in a room making noise.”
As the band explains: “We all love playing music like we mean it. We are most at home being in a room making a noise, and out of that come songs. And the songs give creative structure to what we’re thinking about, what we’re doing, the world around us.”
The trio of sTeVe (vox/guitar), Brigit (bass/vox) and Neil (drums) are so-called based on sTeVe’s childhood memory of finding a smashed-up TV on a military firing range in Scotland. He was blown away by seeing its insides and has been obsessed with TVs and other “electrical doodahs” ever since.
The band first began with Brigit and sTeVe in 2018. They’d played in bands together before and had formed their own style before bringing drummer Neil on board.
As they explain: The band was formed in the wake of Steve developing a chronic illness that sometimes leaves him without words or energy or sleep. Neil joined the band called TV FACE in May 2019, and brought exactly the right kind of drumming into the mix. We gelled really quickly, and the writing began to flow. We did some great and sweaty gigs, and began to work on an album.”
They just released new single Work Hard, Have Fun, which opens up with a fun, jaunty guitar riff. That drops into a lively opening verse of almost spoken, engaging echoey vocals that feed into a catchy quick chorus “There is no love in this place, Only time, Work hard, have fun.”
A cool effects-ridden guitar lick segues into a second verse of more spoken vocals, with shouted support from Brigit in the background, and another short and sweet chorus. More of the effects-ridden guitars, then a cheeky little twisting guitar line helps build up to a few repeats of the chorus lyrics to finish.
On the track, the band tell us: “Musically, the song was born during one band practice, when Brigit stepped out for a toilet break. When she returned Steve and Neil had jammed most of the core of the song. The bassline was quick to write there and then. Just one of those songs that fell out of the sky. A frenetic postpunk chunk with discordant surfy overtones.
“Lyrically, the song began with the idea of a toilet break, and turned into being about not having time to eat, shit or sleep in the gig economy. Many of the lyrics inspired by interviews with people who work for Amazon; the title is lifted from the aspirational motto that adorns the entrance to the Amazon distribution centres.”
The song is the latest in TV FACE’s ongoing mission to release a new single on the final Friday of every month rough 2020. All tracks are recorded and produced by the band themselves, in various locations including bedrooms, cellars and cupboard under the stairs.
The single releases are also compiled as three limited edition CD EPs, which come with screen-printed artwork designed by sTeVe and handmade by the band. The latest, the Work Hard, Have Fun EP, was recorded during lockdown across two households using iso-boxes for guitar amps and blanket forts as vocal booths.
So what else can you expect from their music? Expect more funky guitars, engaging vocal deliveries, as evidenced by a personal favourite track Happy Delusions. The song features the line “I feel like we’re getting closer to the meaning of ignorance, Like putting your hand in a toaster and switching it on and it making sense” before flying into a lively smash of the catchy chorus. Check it out below:
The trio have a diverse range of musical influences, which we’ll let them explain themselves. Steve begins: “I was really influenced and inspired by the musicians on the local scene I grew up in. I like musicians and bands who misuse the rules, like Glenn Branca who was a great influence on the early 80s no-wave and proto-punk scenes, and then Belgian weirdos dEUS who write epic alternative pop songs, and Mica Levi whose soundtrack to Under The Skin was truly exceptional.”
And Brigit adds: “As a child I grew up listening to a lot of reggae and punk but then I fell in love with Prince and Madonna. A bit later my path into playing music was paved by lots of womxn musicians and riot grrl: Bikini Kill, Gossip, PJ Harvey, XRay Spex, too many to mention!”
To which Neil adds: “Like Steve, I was really inspired by drummers I grew up around on the local scene, and more generally drummers who play like they mean it, like Todd Trainer (Shellac) and Dave Ghrol (Nirvana, Foo Fighters).”
And on what inspires their music, they tell us: “As Steve is lead songwriter, the subject matter of our songs is often told from the experience of living with a broken body, mixed in with a good dose of rage at the current broken social and political system.”
TV FACE are currently focused on writing and recording the final four singles they’ll be releasing through the rest of 2020. But, like pretty much any band and music fan out there, they are hankering for the return of live music.
As the band tell us: “We aren’t convinced that live streams are the right medium for a band like us. So much of what makes our gigs special is about the bodies in the room, the volume of the instruments, the air moving with the bass amp and kick drum, the sweat flying. We don’t have any IRL gigs until 2021, and they all depend on covid as to whether they will go ahead. The grassroots music scene in the UK has been hit really hard because of the pandemic, although the Music Venues Trust are doing an AMAZING job of fighting to save it, and we live in hope that live music will survive the storm.