TV Colours are a bunch of punk-ass kids who released one of our favourite guitar albums of 2013. Following their tour with Straight Arrows (who released one of our favourite albums of 2014), Jake Stone caught up with them for a quick chat.
Today’s inaugural abstract illustration of TV Colours comes from the Joe Melhuish. His design work mixes abstract imagery with visceral, collage-esque elements to create dissonant, yet beautiful works. Check out his official website here.
Happy: What is it about punk rock that appeals to you? Do you even consider yourself a punk act? How did you form etc…
TVC: TVC formed in 2007 as a solo project, we’ve been playing as a full band for just over a year now. Growing up, the most important band I ever listened too was Nirvana, and to me, they were a punk band. My sister got me into Nirvana and on her education they came from a lineage of punk bands and when she first told me that it kind of blew my mind that punk wasn’t just Blink 182 and that other late 90’s early 00’s garbage that was around. And to me my big Nirvana moment was when I was watching Live! Tonight! Sold Out! for the first time, it was just the energy and emotiveness of the music that really appealed to me. Yeah we’re a punk band, I hope.
Happy: The record has a very particular sound, it’s a combination of extreme overdrive and home recording techniques employed in a deceptively hazy, aggressively melodic fashion. Sometimes you pull the rug out and reveal the space behind everything and occasionally the melodies move from bubblegum to quite dark in only moments, as on the opener The Neighbourhood. And there’s synths and stuff. What inspired the sound palette? How does it relate to the lyrical content of the record?
TVC: Ah, well, as far as the lyrical songs go the sound of them is just something I have been working towards for a while, ive always been drawn to loud guitar music and always felt like that’s what I should be writing. As far as the themes and sound design part of it, hearing the soundtrack to Suburbia by Penelope Spheeris was a huge influence, namely the drum machines and the guitars, but mainly the use of analogue synths.
I guess as far as the lyrical content of the songs, I did purposefully write the music for the lyrics but and also the other way round, if that makes sense? So I knew that I wanted the song about leaving home/neighbourhood to be sort of an early 80’s influenced punk song so i wrote it that way, but then say for a song like The Lost Years I wrote the music first, and then decided that it would work as a sort of romantic and introspective song, not that you can understand the lyrics anyway.
TVC: Ah well its really cool to see a lot of Canberra bands getting attention from the rest of the country, for the most part that never really seemed to happen, it just felt like a massive black hole as far as that was concerned. I feel like a lot has changed here mainly because of the internet, its just become more easily accessible for people to discover music from here and basically anywhere, it doesn’t really matter where you live anymore. I think that’s probably contributed to a shift in that mentality that you gotta move to the city to be playing music, which in turn has left more musicians in Canberra that are making good music.
Happy: On the topic of the suburbs, it sounds like your going for an almost Lynchian look at suburban life. A sort of re-imagining of the pop melodies and punk vibe that appeals to kids in the suburbs, re-imagined with slightly scary overtones, more melancholy, romance in overdrive, etc… Is that a reasonable summation? Why does that make sense for this band?
TVC: Oh yeah definitely, I really love the suburbs and it goes hand in hand with punk/metal etc.. But, the album is sort of more of a look at escaping that life. I just wanted the whole thing to be really dense in the hope it would have a really vast range of emotions from melancholy to romance to loneliness etc.
Happy: Where are the kids at? What do they care about? Why are guitar bands seeming to be re-taking the underground?
TVC: Yeah, but I dunno. Did guitar bands ever lose the underground? I always thought that was their stronghold. Live instrumentation will always have that certain appeal, it’s just the most exciting thing to witness live and that will probably never change.
Happy: What’s been a highlight so far, and where to next?
TVC: Oh, well, definitely touring Europe last year, it took me about 3 months to get back to normal after that, but now we’ll all start talking about it and we just go on and on, like “remember blah blah blah? it was awesome!” the Straight Arrows tour we’ve just finished up has been unbelievably fun. Ahh where to next… the album is coming out in the states so we’re finally getting to do some film clips for it, they’re long overdue. Otherwise I’ve been working on the follow up… fingers crossed it will get done!
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