Liverpool’s TV ME are currently riding the crest of a wave. Interest in the band has been ramped up by a debut national tour and the release of a well-received EP, A Broadcast from TV ME. Theirs is a well-defined aesthetic marrying smart songwriting with intriguing visuals that create a satisfying whole.
The rest of 2018 is likely to see more releases and live dates which should further enhance their burgeoning reputation. Bitter Sweet Symphonies’ Paul Cook chats to TV ME songwriter Tom McConnell.
As an introduction, who are TV ME?
TV ME is a recording project by me, Tom McConnell, and a live band consisting of Frankie Tibbles, Adam Dixon and myself.
How and when did TV ME come about?
I was in a lull doing a solo project during 2016 and also happened to have a lot of new music that I’d worked on. It all seemed to come from a similar musical place and I wanted a new way of housing it. I thought it’d be better if it was a project name instead of a solo name – then I could record solo but at gigs we’d be a unit. Frankie and Adam had been in the backing band for my solo project so, it was only natural that they were in the live band. After deciding on the name we put out the first tracks last year.
Did you always have a particular direction you wanted to take, or did it emerge from the three of you playing together?
The musical direction was sort of planned from the start as I had all these recordings to work with. It deals with childhood and surrealism a lot. The imagery, ideas for videos and live set-up comes from the three of us working together.
There’s been a lot of labeling of the band and the songs – psych, psych-folk, electronica, electro-pop. Are you any, all, some of these – or does it not matter?
I suppose you can label each song as a slightly different genre. I always want each song to be different. As a whole, I don’t think any of those particularly apply or matter. If we were going to be called anything I’d say it’s futuristic pop as it has dashes of a lot of things. I think it’s psychedelic but I don’t know if it fits exactly with the “psych” that’s currently doing the rounds as I find a lot of that really un-imaginative and I want TV ME to be imaginative.
What influences you as a songwriter?
For the bare bones of the writing I’m influenced by my favourite songwriters, Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, David Bowie, Damon Albarn, Kate Bush, Abba. Then sound wise, I really love things like Boards of Canada, Roxy Music and any quirky odd sound I can find such as things from my childhood surroundings.
You’ve just done your first national tour, how were you received?
It was great. We didn’t know what to expect as we’re not very well known. We felt our live show had developed to be tour-ready and it seemed to go down very well everywhere!
There has been a very positive reaction to your new EP, A Broadcast from TV ME, which must be pleasing…
I’m really glad about the reaction as it was a lot of work getting it together and it’s the first thing we’re putting out on our own. The recordings are all a few years’ worth of stuff so it’s nice to see them finally out there.
What are the plans for the rest of the year? More recording? More touring? Any festivals?
We’ve started work on an album but before that we’re going to do another run of dates in the summer. Definitely more singles and EPs before the year is out and possibly a few festivals too. You’ll have to keep an eye on our socials for more info!
Who else amongst your Liverpool contemporaries should we be keeping an eye on?
The city has always had a reputation for producing new bands and doing things differently – is that as strong as ever?
Liverpool’s strength is that there still appears to be more people here that want to do music than in other places. I think that’s because of its very obvious musical history, there’s a competition with its past to prove there’s more, which there is. However, listening to music and creating it is purely about individual tastes due to the internet. That applies in Liverpool just as much as anywhere else. Everyone here is clicking on the same music online, finding tracks they like, being influenced by them and uploading what they create to the same websites as everybody else in the world. There’s certainly unique people from Liverpool, creating great music but the internet has completely changed the idea of local scenes and sounds because it’s impossible to ignore the fact that any style of music is as available as the next…
The new EP ‘A Broadcast From TV ME’ is available to purchase from Bandcamp here.