Exclusive Interview: TV Girl's Material World
Updated: Sep 15, 2021
With the help of blog culture, TV Girl became an indie pop sensation almost overnight.
Their self titled EP was named "Best New Music" by Pitchfork in 2010, yet the group wasn't even ready to play live at this point. Being in bands before, the group was used to performing yet their newfound use of sampling posed a new challenge. After about a year of turning down major label offers, the duo consisting of Brad Petering and Trung Ngo managed to get their act together and began touring during 2011.
Over the past 8 years, TV Girl's lineup has changed up a few times but their overall sound has remained consistent. Layers of dreamy samples and hip-hop breakbeats are a common element to their bedroom bops, yet Petering's poetic vocal presence seems to be the thread that ties each project together. The playful soundscapes are fertile grounds for Petering's way with words. Most songs are cleverly crafted stories from the vantage point of a unique perspective and audiences nationwide are eager to listen.
The group seems to hit the road with every release, which is pretty common for most independent artists. Might as well give the people what they want, tasty tunes and a reason to party. During the past four years, TV Girl must have gained some insight into their fanbase of college students because they've stopped in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo almost annually.
The group's latest venture to SLO was in 2019 right after the release of their album, Death of a Party Girl. Somewhat fresh out of the studio, the group was supported by vaporware icon, George Clanton whose rise to success actually came a few months after this tour.
I had the opportunity to chat with vocalist Brad Petering before TV Girl's most recent set at SLO Brew Rock.
Here's what he had to say:
Q: So, TV Girl started up in 2010, could you describe how you all came together as a group?
A: Well, originally it was different than the people who are in the band now. When I started, it was me and my friend Trung and we’d been in bands for a long time together in San Diego. We had a band before this called the Movers and the Shakers and a bunch of other bands that didn’t ever go anywhere. They weren’t popular and no one really heard them.
This was when blog bands were blowing up and we had these friends, Cults, and they blew up in San Diego. We knew they blew up because all these blogs started posting about them, so we were like, we should just start a band that sounds like the music these blogs are posting about, you know like Neon Indian and Washed Out. So, then we just emailed like 50 blogs.
Literally, the next week, we were “Best New Music” on Pitchfork. We weren’t even really a band, hardly. We hadn’t even played a show, have a record or anything, so it was kinda crazy. We probably got too much attention right away, but that happened to a lot of bands back then, you know. It was kind of a crazy time.
Q: Did that early blog scene get you interested in using sampling for your music?
A: No, I was sort of making hip hop beats and stuff. A couple years before, I thought I was going to make beats for rappers, that’s what I was trying to do. But, then we just combined the band we had before, which was kind of Beatles-esque guitar music, with hip-hop. Stuff like that was sort of the foundation of our project at first.