Indie bands can be a dime a dozen – but what isn’t is a band that comes along producing music that makes you jam out unknowingly while listening to them. And by that I mean a band that has you bopping in your seat while multi-tasking, and singing along to words that you didn’t realized you had learned. TV Heart Attack, based out of Vancouver (Thorny Bleeder Records), is a band starting to make waves with their latest EP “Lost in the Sway“. Lucky me happened to be in Van city and had the opportunity to meet up with Jason Corbett for a Q&A amidst the Olympics action to chat music, TV, and possibly heart attacks (or something of the sort).
- TV Heart Attack – who are you?
TV Heart Attack came together after being unsatisfied with previous bands. I wanted something fresh, new, and a way to express myself. We’ve got a busy group of guys together, Art and I do the business and write the music, Ryan is an actor on the side (he’s on Smallville, has been on Battle Star Galactica), and Dom is a full time drummer.
- TVHA says they experiment with sound – how do you describe it as of right now?
I’d say our music is a throw back to the 80s in how we write it – it’s a modern take with retro influences like Echo and the Bunny, David Bowie, and Gang of Four. We gather those influences and put them into today’s format. It’s sort of a pop structure…poppier and more accessible than Queens of the Stone Age.
- You’re coming to Toronto to perform for Canadian Music Week – what can we expect from TVHA live?
The record’s always one thing – slick and should be well produced. But when you play live you can be more dangerous and raw. People should expect a good rock show.
What kind of people do you attract out?
Well…a lot of pretty girls.
And why is that?
Oh, we’re friendly guys! But really, we get a good variety of people out – not people that you might expect out at rock shows. We like performing in smaller venues to get into the vibe of the room. But don’t get us wrong, we’ve played larger venues like Virgin Music Festival (the year the Killers were on), but you get to be a little more connected with the crowd in a smaller gig.
- You say that some things are best left unexplained. Any examples of other things you think shouldn’t be explained?
I think having to explain what kind of genre of music we are…someone best described it recently as “goth light”, which I hadn’t heard before. I think that labeling it in a genre provides people with a perception before they hear you. Who wants that?
- The AO music video has some pretty interesting imagery – any explanations as to what you were going for?
We wanted to create a homage to 2001 Space Odyssey’s look. We were a bit restricted in space for the shoot because of our equipment (insurance issues). We chose to use a Genesis video because it’s the closest to film that we could get. The concept was brainstormed by with the production team…though I think it was a bit of a pretty safe music video. AO is a radio and commercial song though.
- How have your experiences on the Saddlesores and Speed to Kill influenced your TVHA work?
With Saddlesores I wrote a couple songs that we played at the time. Some people paint and some write poetry. It was never about the rock lifestyle, money, fame…it was a matter of expression. Sharing the experience of connecting with people. When I was a kid I listened to Led Zeppelin and had the hairs at the back of my neck stand up. I want to share that experience with others.
- You say that you were an only child and did plenty of drawing and listening. But after flipping a coin, went with music. Any art practice anymore?
Ah, when I was a kid I played with a metal bar and my mom drew out the idea that I wanted to play guitar. The next day, it appeared. I devote everything to the music now – I write lyrics in the morning, night, at work. I collect words, collect ideas on my iPhone, play with my guitar and paint with words. TV Heart Attack is one side of how encompassing music is for me. I still get some outlets for art – I like working with people to put together concepts, I designed the logo for the new record. I’m interested in how music and art is produced – they’re almost synonymous.
- Who would be iconic now?
Queens of the Stone Age has a great following…rock and roll is in and out of fashion. Culture these days seems to be just about pop music. Everything’s 99 cents or free. Music has changed and become disposable. Though I’m hoping that certain bands will have certain impact that only time can tell, like Grizzly Bear and Arcade Fire.
How do you find new music?
I’m always around music from DJs to satellite radio…helps to have a lot of friends in music too.
How do you judge whether or not you think something is good?
I like to have a little grit to my music. I thought that the latest Grizzly Bear record was probably the best one that I’ve ever heard. I like Vampire Weekend, Lady Gaga (guilty pleasure), Massive Attack, Department of Eagles, Caribou (genius), Rammstein (the translations of their lyrics is really smart and taking a piss out of themselves). Though I think they’re the Nickelback of Germany. I don’t like things to be too overproduced – like Phoenix, they’re a bit too polished for me.
How closely do you listen to lyrics?
I’m more about the melody over the core procession. And when words are used in a way I’ve never heard before. There’s an art to it – someone can say something so simple but say it with such conviction. And well, when someone else sings the same thing, it can sound like shit.
- TVHA was formed in 2005 – where have been been, where are you now, and where are you going? Happy 5 years anniversary!
I told myself when this started that if I wasn’t quitting my day job by X date, I had to stop it. If that had happened, I would have missed out on the most amazing things that have happened with me. Right now we’re having a single that’s on heavy rotation on the radio, we’ve played with the Killers, one of our songs is on a 2010 Video Game. We’re going on tours, seeing cities, being part of festivals, and getting great reviews on our last EP. I don’t know if people are just being nice…but I’ve been surprised at how much positive review it’s gotten. Probably one out of 30 have been bad. Almost every time someone writes something about it, we can pull a line from it as a quote.
Congrats on the release TVHA – see you at Canadian Music Week (March 10-14, 2010). Wednesday March 10 at The Hideout (484 Queen St. West). Set time is 10 PM.
* First commenter gets this cd – come get it! Thanks to Sarah from ShawkinsPR for hooking this all up.