BANDSPEAK

TV Girl: Brad Petering Talks DIY Music, Tragic Beauties, and Elvis Depressedly

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TV Girl, a dreamy lo-fi alternative bedroom pop musical group based out of Los Angeles are coming to Boston Thursday July 30, playing a show at the Lily Pad at 10pm in Cambridge. The group has gone through many changes over the years: a new lead singer, new friendships, new enemies, and new music. I talked to Brad Petering about his dope Tumblr, friendship with Elvis Depressedly, and why the best way to support a small band is to buy their music directly from Bandcamp.

BH: I saw you are a friend and fan of Elvis Depressedly, how did that friendship begin?

BP: Me and Jason from TV Girl produced an album by Mat’s other band Coma Cinema. The album was called Posthumous Release. Mat is more important than people realize. He is the central cog of American Underground music right now; he’s a tireless champion of artists and one of the best songwriters. It pleases me to no end to see him doing so well. Selling out shows across the country and hitting the billboard charts.

BH: Are you friends or enemies with any other cool bands?

BP: I consider Youth Lagoon my personal rival, although I’ve never met the guy nor do I really have any reason to feel that way.

BH: Where did you get the mannequin aka “Charlyne” you post about on Twitter and Facebook? Is she your merch girl/dj/band mate?

BP: She better not catch you calling her a “merch girl” unless you want to get smacked upside the head with hard plastic. She is our manager, our muse, our confidant, our benefactor, our overall raison d’être.

BH: TV Girl has been around for a few years now, how has your music grown and changed since you started?

BP: We used to have a different lead singer which a lot of people wish was still the lead singer. Other than that I don’t know how the music has changed really. The songs have gotten better, in my opinion. I’m sure some people feel the opposite. Maybe the biggest change has been with the live show, which used to be underwhelming. Now I think it’s pretty cool and innovative.

BH: Is your TV Girl Tumblr a collective blog or is one person writing all the posts?

BP: That’s just me. I don’t really use it much anymore.

BH: Speaking of your blog, I liked your post about how little money bands make off of music steaming services, it really puts things in perspective hearing you made like .004 cents for every song streamed. Do you think the best way to remedy this is to buy songs off Bandcamp? Is it still supporting the band to listen to them on Spotify in a way?

BP: When I first wrote that article. It was before our debut album came out. We actually make a pretty decent income from Spotify, a lot more than I would have thought. The Spotify payouts may indeed be low. But BY FAR the greatest thief of artist incomes is Record Labels. We don’t have a record label and so all the streaming royalties go to us and it’s a decent sum every month. But the best way to support a band is to buy something from Bandcamp (if they run their own Bandcamp) If someone buys our album for $10 off of Bandcamp, that’s $9 dollars straight to our pocket with no extra fuss.

BH: I particularly enjoyed “Tragic Beauty Tuesday”, do you have a favorite tragic beauty story?

BP: Without question. Peg Entwistle AKA the girl who jumped off the Hollywood sign. It’s such a perfectly tragic story it doesn’t even seem real. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peg_Entwistle)

BH: Your sampling of Todd Rundgren is so perfect on “If You Want It (You Got It)“, but the song isn’t on your band camp, were there sampling issues? Or are you just sick of that song now?

BP: Todd Rundgren’s record label pressured bandcamp to take it down and so there was nothing we could do. I’m not sick of the song. We perform it at every show.

BH: Does being from LA give you a uniquely California sound or do you think the bands coming out of LA are really different from TV Girl?

BP: I certainly don’t feel a part of the LA scene and I like very few musicians who live in LA. The only ones I really like are Monster Rally and RL Kelly. I don’t think physical location has much importance. All of my favorite bands are scattered across the country.

BH: What band or musician has been your biggest inspiration?

BP: Like everyone, my current musical hero/obsession changes year to year, month to month. But pound for pound in my life, no one artist has had a bigger effect on me than Lou Reed. As far as contemporary artists, I look towards Lil Ugly Mane as my role model.

BH: What is TV Girl working on next?

BP: It’s weird. Bands get asked this question a lot but as far as I can tell there are only two things you can really work on: an album and a tour; that’s what we are working on.

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