When I spoke to him Eric Mendelsohn had only just woken up. It had been a busy time for the TV/TV guitarist. Currently one of the acts on the world famous Warped Tour, Mendelsohn and his band mates are on the brink of the big-time, having become mainstay soundtrack artists for MTV shows including “The Real World” and “The Hills”. TV/TV formed all of three years ago in a small apartment in Manhattan’s East Village. Good mates Josh Ocean (vocals/guitar) and Matt Walczak (bass) used to jam together and eventually decided to get together with some other friends to form the band. They named themselves in tribute to the Berkeley Film group who saw art as a medium to rebel and worked with producers Zach Odom and Kenneth Mount on their 2007 debut EP Something To Get Excited About. The EP set tongues wagging, but Ocean and Walczak felt that the line-up wasn’t working, so they rounded up their mate Camillie Oliver (drums) who knew Mendelsohn from the New Jersey music scene. Since the new line-up came around they have worked with pop producer Bleu McAuley (Boys Like Girls, Jonas Brothers) on the more mature follow-up Not Enough Red.
“I think we really sort of found the place we want to be as a band. You know, it’s much more of a rock driven in the way of more guitar riff and inventive. It’s just bigger, it expands the sound.” Mendelsohn and his cronies are proud of their growth. Lead single “Fire Island Freakout” is a prime example of their new sound. Dealing with lead singer Josh Ocean’s experiences growing up on Long Island’s summer tourist trap Fire Island, it is a demonstration of the personal connection TV/TV now wish to attach to their sound. Though the songs are based around Ocean’s experiences, Mendelsohn was very involved with the writing process. “The new EP was put together with myself and our singer Josh, working with our producer Bleu McAuley. The two of us, under the guidance of him, put the songs together, then once the songs were written, we went into a few days of pre-production where we figured out the specifics, ran them through with the band and ironed out the final form and feel of the songs.”
If sheer determination alone is a pre-determiner of global fame, then TV/TV are certainly heading in the right direction.
“I have been doing this whole music thing since I was a little kid. I think that I bring a deep-seated knowledge and enthusiasm for the classics, classic rock. Be it directly drawing from the Beatles or be it drawing from Jimmy Paige’s guitar riffs or Brian May guitar riffs.” A new line up may well have been the catalyst for the break from pubescent pop. Mendelsohn feels he brings difference influences into the fold, which naturally has a knock on effect to the general sound of the group. “In the same way me and Camillie, the newer drummer, have a deep love for r’n’b all the way through the 90s. Drawing from the way those songs work, the way they are constructed and trying to draw from that and bringing that to the table.” TV/TV is a group of equals, they all contribute and therefore sway the final product.
“I am more about the music; I personally don’t want us as a band to get overshadowed by whatever story would come with going on a reality show. I think I would personally choose with a little bit more discretion.” Though an appearance by singer Ocean as a ‘rock star’ coach on MTV’s Made has no doubt boosted the groups profile, Mendelsohn is not seeking celebrity. “But you know the Made thing was great and I cant complain at all as it really did a lot of good for the band.” He does concede though that the appearance, however brief, has helped the band’s growth in the public eye. “Of course you want the instant gratification of big-time success.” Mendelsohn also freely admits that it is not the celebrity aspect of reality TV he disapproves of, he himself is seeking fame and fortune. “But I think especially now, with the new music we are writing, we are really trying to build this as a long term thing.” He wholeheartedly believes that Not Enough Red could take them to the next level, but if it doesn’t the band are in for the long haul and they will keep writing and performing. “We want to get there, we want to get to the, you know the big big big time and stay there for a while. I don’t think it’s anyone’s interest in the band to be internationally famous in six months.” If sheer determination alone is a pre-determiner of global fame, then TV/TV are certainly heading in the right direction.
TV/TV are offering “Big Exciting Sexy Rock Attitude” on their new EP Not Enough Red which is out now. For more details visit their official MySpace.