The Water Cooler
with TV GIRL
While elements of the 60’s are often used to inspire many contemporary bands, it’s rare to find a group of musicians that turn away from the decade’s psychedelic movement to focus on the pop music of the era. The San Diego based indie band, TV Girl, grabs a hold of the 60’s pop sound and transforms it into an indefinable marriage of electronic pop and urban rhythms. Incorporating hip-hop beats, acoustic instruments, and sound machines, these musicians delighted the sharks when they came in and gave us a private performance at the office.
We chatted with these high school friends turned bandmates to find out a little bit more about the individuals behind this unique sound. Trung and Brad hung out at the Grooveshark Water Cooler and shared with us everything from adolescent sexual frustration to their lives of touring around the nation while juggling office work.
GS: Correct me if I am wrong, you guys were working at a marketing firm when the band started. How is it like juggling corporate and concerts?
Trung: Yeah, I still work there part-time. It is super nerdy Internet marketing stuff, not like Mad Men.
GS: What do you tell your boss when you have to disappear for a week when you have to tour?
Trung: Well, we both work from home because it is all based online.
Brad: Yeah it’s kind of cool because that’s the perfect thing to do and tour because you don’t ever have to go into the office. Though the hardest part is to discipline yourself to do your work when you don’t have to go in the office.
Trung: During our last tour I was definitely doing work in the hotel.
GS: Where did the name TV Girl come from?
Trung: The name TV Girl comes from a Beat Happening song of the same name. I really just liked how the named looked on paper and loved how it looked on my iTunes playlist.
GS: Who were you guys in high school, and what album defined your high school experience?
Trung: I used to be really into skateboarding, so I guess that’s how people knew me. If you search for it on YouTube you’ll find some funny old skate footage. I listened to The Beatles obsessively in high school. My friend Wes was pretty into them and he gave me their entire discography. So it was sort of by default that I listened to them because they took up the majority of my iTunes. Of all the albums, I probably listened to Please Please Me the most.
Brad: The Violent Femmes self-titled album probably defined my high school sexual frustration. Honorable mentions go to The Velvet Underground and Nico, The Thermals’s More Parts Per Million, and The Dead Milkmen’s Big Lizard in my Backyard.
GS: That’s funny that you mentioned sexual frustration in response to your high school experience.
Brad: Girls; they’re all you really think about in high school and they are all I really thought about and that Violent Femmes’ record was all about that. It really spoke to me at that time. I still really like it but its one of those records that I cant really relate to the feelings I once had about it.
GS: While we are on this topic, if you could have a date with one of your music influences who would you be with, where would you guys eat, and what song would be playing in the background?
Trung: I’d grab a slice of pizza with an early 60s Ellie Greenwich and “Maybe Tonight” by The Shirelles would be playing in the background. I think shes such great songwriter and she was an icon of the music I am in to.
Brad: I want to see Leonard Cohen’s seduction techniques in his prime so I’d probably dress up as hot girl and take notes and bring that back to my future and use it. We’d be listening to his song “Don’t Go Home With Your Hard On.”
GS: Where did the inspiration come to sample different artists like Tracy Chapman and Bob Dylan in your music?
Brad: It stems from me starting to work with hip-hop beats. I’ve always composed and wrote songs using a guitar and it was cool to have a new avenue to explore songwriting. Sampling is sort of the bread and butter of hip-hop and it is very freeing because you can have any instrument at your disposal; like you could have parts that you could never play yourself or drumming that you could never get yourself no matter how hard you try. I think its a good tool to have if you are a songwriter. Nothing more than good old-fashioned hours of cruising youtube looking for tasty samples
GS: How was performing at SXSW 2011?
Trung: It was just a complete disaster. First of all, we drove out in a Corolla and it was four people in a car, with all of our gear driving out to Austin from San Diego. It was 22 hours of driving only to find out that we didn’t really have a place to stay. The whole situation was kind of last minute and during the day to day we’d have to lug all of our gear across the area because we performed in different areas everyday.
Brad: It was fun but it was a pain.
Trung: I think we know how to do it better if we were to go next year but it was still sort of cool just to being able to play with some of our favorite artists at the time, like Wise Blood.
GS: What are some of the future plans for TV Girl?
Brad: Well we are working on a record now and we just plan on continuing to play shows and figure out better ways to make our set interesting
Hop on to Grooveshark and check out the band’s recommendations, “I Wonder Who She’s Kissing Now” and “Benny and the Jetts.”