TV People talk new single ‘String’, being inspired by Joy Division and how the success of Fontaine’s D.C is paving the way for other Irish exports.
TV People are one of Ireland’s most exciting new bands. Their blend of unbelievably honest songwriting, haunting vocals and powerful guitars make for a musical experience like no other. Today lead singer and guitarist Paul Donohoe, Drummer Brendan Clarke and Bassist Rob Kavanagh talk to Generation Indie all about their incredible new single ‘String’, hopes of touring the UK and what it’s really like being a band from Ireland.
Firstly how are you?
Paul: “We’ve been keeping well over the last few months. We’re missing being able to play live but have been trying to keep busy by writing and doing livestreams whenever we can. This year has had plenty of ups and downs for everyone. We’re extremely lucky that we’ve had the band to channel our energy into over the last few months. I’m not sure how we would have gotten through the lockdown without our music and each other.”
It’s really good to hear that you’ve been keeping well over this strange time. So for those that are new to TV People how would you describe the band’s sound?
Rob: “I think generally our songs have a strong rhythmic component which melodic guitars sit over. Combined with Paul’s baritone voice and personal style of lyricism, as well as our wide range of influences like garage, punk, and electronic music, all together it defines our sound”.
With that said, can you talk us through the inspiration behind ‘String’?
Paul: “‘String’ is a reflection on past times in my life where I was burning the candle at both ends a bit too often. It’s a rumination on being trapped in a cycle of self-destructive behaviour that you can’t escape from. I think it’s a trap that a lot of people have fallen into in one way or another. The reduced pace of life over the last few months has given me a lot more time to think and to reflect on things with clarity. I spent a lot of time looking back on how I was living pre-lockdown and the damage that I was doing to my mental health. The lyrics of ‘String’ came out of that place of reflection and clarity”.
Previous singles such as ‘Kitchen Sinking’ and ‘Nothing More’ have very dark undertones. Do you feel like this is a conscious decision for you as a band?
Paul: I don’t think that we consciously choose to write about darker themes, but the way that we write probably lends itself to them. Whenever I have a very strong emotional connection to certain ideas or feelings, lyric writing helps me to process whatever is on my mind by expressing it on paper. The most complex and built up emotions which I tend to feel are often negative ones, so a lot of my lyrics are usually on the gloomier side. The isolation and monotony of the last year has probably contributed to that as well. Maybe we’ll cheer up a bit next year.
In terms of lyrical content did ‘String’ follow a similar pattern to previous tracks you’ve released?
Paul: “String is one of the more personal songs that we’ve written. Because the song is about very personal experiences that I’ve had, I think that I subconsciously steeped the meaning of the lyrics in vague imagery and metaphorical language. Normally I’d be a bit more direct in my lyrics. It was nice to dabble in that style of writing for the tune and to give the lyrics a bit more of a poetic flair than usual”.
As a band from Ireland how much of where you’re from has affected your sound and the vision you have for the band?
Rob: “I think seeing the success of the likes of Fontaines DC is very encouraging for Irish bands starting out like ourselves as it shows that it can be done and that people are paying attention to the music scene here as a whole. Having such a welcoming and supportive scene also helps to motivate people I think too. In terms of our sound and vision, we try to stay grounded in our influences from a wide range of genres and eras, and not become too swept up in what is considered trendy”.
The sound of bands like The Smith’s and Joy Division seem to be within your music. Are they of inspiration in any way or is that just a coincidence?
Rob: “Yeah both of these bands would be a big influence for us instrumentally I would say. Paul’s style of singing has been compared to Ian Curtis a fair few times also so I get why people would see a similarity”.
The Music video for String has also been released. What was the concept/inspiration for the video?
Bren: “The video was directed by my brother Rob Clarke. He had the idea of projecting images and designs onto the band that reflected some of the themes of the music. Toxicity by System of a Down was a reference we were looking at when coming up with the concept. Conor McLaughlin is a fantastic designer who helped with the projection mapping we did on the day. Some of the imagery in the video represents crowds and gatherings which seems so alien in these times. Other provocative imagery was also used to help visually convey some of the darker aspects of the song”.
As a guitar band do you feel like it’s harder to play in that traditional format when so much of modern music is at the opposite end of the spectrum?
Rob: “For me anyway I really enjoy the experience of playing with the guys on stage, which is not something that more modern formats of performance always have. It is much more engaging for me, and I find it to be the same when I watch other bands at gigs too”.
To end on an optimistic note, Where do you see TV People in the future?
Rob: “Right now we are aiming to get an EP out at the start of next year. Then when things return to normality we are planning to get over to the UK to play a few gigs. We’ve had some great feedback from listeners and radio presenters across the water there so it would be great to engage with the music scene over there”.
‘String’ by TV People is available now and you can click here to listen.