To make a real impact on the music scene these days you have to have the full package locked and loaded, be it a solid social media presence, stimulating media visuals on tap and an air of confidence teamed with likability. Oh yeah, the music, that’s important sure, too many bands rely on just one of these aspects, it should just be about the music right? I think it’d be naive to believe that narrative in today’s scene. Urgh ‘scene’ what a horrible fucking word, might delete.
Anyway, the band they call TV Face, have all the qualities mentioned and then some. I was first made aware of this Lancaster three piece a year or so ago whilst looking out for ‘outsider’ bands to play some gig nights I was organising, i was instantly hooked, they are one of those rare finds, true DIY outsiders that know exactly what they want to do, how they want to do it and aren’t afraid of speaking out for what they believe in. Punk isn’t a sound, it’s a feeling, an honest rage and it resides in the underbelly of this riotous three piece.
Brimming with an abundance of fast paced angular fuzzed up punk attitude and lashings of infectious style, you can certainly understand why they’ve caught the attention of the outsider community.
To picking up support slots with Warmducher, Brix Smith and Objections, three cutting edge collectives who don’t suffer industry fools. To now having their new record, ‘Tide Of Men’, mastered by Pete Maher and released on the genre eclectic powerhouses Evil Blizzard’s label Cracked Ankles, it’s evidently not just I who realises that TV Face are a respectable and slick outfit.
‘We’d got the record finished before Crackedankles picked us up, we recorded the drums in a church which is now a recording studio and did the rest in the room we are sitting in now in rural Lancashire. We reached out to Pete Maher online, it was the icing on the cake that he agreed to do it really.
We played a gig with Filthy Dirty, which is the lead singer of Evil Blizzards side project, and then invited him to come and play a gig in Lancaster and after that gig, he was like, we love it. We want to put the record out. It took us by complete surprise! We weren’t angling for that, it was just like, ah, these cats are a cool band, let’s put ’em on.’
Why is the DIY ethos so important to you as a band?
‘I don’t think there’s another way to do it anymore. I think everybody, even if you sign to a big label, you’ve still got to do loads of it yourself anyway. So you may as well do all of it yourself and reap more of the rewards.’Neil
‘I think in a way it’s been foisted upon a lot of bands, but actually beyond that, having had the misfortune of being affiliated with a major it’s quite frankly horrible, it’s a soul destroying experience that leaves you without any creative control or license and you lose sight of why you’re doing it in the end. So over the years it becomes not only incumbent upon a band to do it because of the changing landscape, but also from, from our perspective, if you want to be at the creative epicentre, make the decisions, you live and die by your own sword, then it’s the only way to do it.’Steve
‘That’s why it was so nice that Cracked Ankles, took on the record because they were really focused on us retaining our dignity and control, they just wanted to work with us because they like what we do, we were able to maintain the DIY ethic, which is a collective practice anyway.’Brigit
On venues past and present, the death of creativity..
‘Future Yard is great, we had a really lovely time there and The Ferret in Preston as well, we’ve got a close connection with that venue because of Crackedankles and Evil Blizzard, we’ve played there quite a few times, they’re integral. We lost our home venue in Lancaster, which was The Yorkshire House, which shut down during the pandemic, it was a proper venue that had bands on, not just Iron Maiden tribute bands, that’s all the venues put on anymore, it’s a shame, it was amazing and we’ve lost that as a result of the mess of everything, we’ve gotta hold onto these venues but it’s getting harder.’Brigit
‘I mean, the venues are struggling, so they’re putting on the most horrific bands, it’s overwhelming how much covers and tribute acts seem to have taken over the live music circuit, it just seems to have expanded exponentially, I think it’s a really, really bad turn of events. Certainly pre-pandemic and a good few years ago cover bands were a dirty word and now it’s not, it’s the only way to make money because you’ll go and do a covers gig and you’ll get three, four hundred quid, whereas the rest of us are lucky if you get twenty or thirty notes.
The fucking problem is, it isn’t just the fact that covers bands and tribute bands are anathema to anything that’s remotely interesting, its that they’re emblematic of the death of creativity and imagination in a country that’s been brought about by the X Factor and Pop Idol and all that shit in collusion with the rhetoric spouted by bullshit governments. It’s about the death of creativity, the death of imagination, the death of choice, and the abject fear of creative new ideas. And, as far as I’m concerned, every time I see an advert for a covers band or a fucking tribute band by heart dies a little bit.’ Steve
‘We’re railing against all that by putting our own shows with underground bands on under the banner of Idiot Box at Kanteena in Lancaster, and the upstairs room has some of the same vibes as the Yorkie, which is cool! Maybe there’s hope yet!’Brigit
We at NDR hold a strong bias towards creating positive and affective dialogue around mental health and addiction within the art space, we feel it is imperative that these subjects are not only spoken about, but given a platform for growth and change.
‘That’s a good question. Mental health is getting talked about a lot more these days in the music industry and that’s great, but like you say, its got to be a dialogue. No point talking if no-one is listening and it doesn’t effect change. Like, people are starting to realise how much the industry exploits musicians’ addiction and mental health problems for profit, often with tragic outcomes, the examples are numerous – Kurt, Amy, Janis, etc. Or, on a smaller sclare, promoters offering to pay you in beer! I can’t pay my bills with beer! The 20-year-old car we rocked up in to play the gig doesn’t run on Carlsberg FFS!!’Brigit
‘The album is a lot about my enduring chronic mental and physical health conditions. It’s incredibly difficult to survive as a musician who has physical and mental health problems in an industry that takes pride in treating its employees like shit. There’s a lot of expectation around musicians that you give every ounce of your body and your energy and there’s no space to kind of recover from it, so you burn out really easily. That’s ten times harder for disabled musicians.’Steve
‘The first track on the album Stuck is a little bit about addiction of all different kinds, including being addicted to being a musician. The madness of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Staying at the fair too long, with the remnants of candyfloss vomit in your hair.’Brigit
‘We’ve all done a lot of partying, to have fun, to escape, to self-medicate. But music is my main retreat, it’s a place to hide in and it makes you feel like you’re part of a community, gives you a place of belonging. But the problem is that place of belonging can also be very damaging’Steve
‘For example, you’re constantly having to be online selling yourself and that’s not much fun. I drew the short straw in the band as I do all the social media and sometimes I just have toswitch it all off because it’s just too much shit to have to wade through just to say we’ve got a gig or we’ve made a t shirt. Being DIY, at least we’ve got a choice of when to do that’Brigit
‘It also feels a lot of the time that even when you do put tons of effort into that stuff, it still feels like you’re shouting into a void because there’s so many people who are also promoting their stuff.’Neil
‘That’s a good point, it is a difficult balance but at least once you’re DIY you are not subject to the bullshit of managers, label execs expecting you to be on TikTok 24/7 and as well as being drunk and off your face doing it. I guess DIY is a good way of escaping some of that crap but there’s no getting away from it fully.’Steve
This band and their views need to be protected at all costs, it’s one thing having an opinion, especially about the industry that they are working in, but to not pull any punches and call it how they see it in an open interview, is truly respectable on every level.
GO AND SUPPORT THIS INCREDIBLE BUNCH OF HUMANS
FRI 6 OCT – Jimmy’s, Liverpool
SAT 7 OCT – Barrow Underground Music Society, Cumbria
THU 12 – SUN 15 OCT – Lancaster Music Festival 2023
FRI 13 OCT – Sunbird Records, Darwen
SUN 15 OCT – Kanteena, Lancaster
FRI 3 NOV – The Peer Hat, Manchester
Their sensational new record ‘Tide Of Men’ is out NOW.