It’s October 5, and I’m sitting backstage at the charming East Williamsburg venue Our Wicked Lady with three members of Bushwick disco-punk collective TVOD (Television Overdose). Sitting across from me is Tyler Wright, the ringleader of the group, who is getting an arm tattoo while guitarist Serge Zibrizer and drummer Mem Pahl start blowing up inflatable aliens that they plan on tossing into the audience like balloons during their performance. When I start the process of interviewing the band for a magazine that I regularly contribute to, I ask Wright to introduce himself and he gleefully responds, “My name is Tyler and I’m currently getting a tattoo in front of life-size aliens.”
I already knew what I was in for when I walked into the venue. I’d never seen TVOD live prior to that, but I was well aware of their reputation. They’ve become notorious around New York City for their wildly unpredictable shows where nobody knows exactly what is going to happen, the band included. Seeing them live was a particularly transformative experience for me, after months of bed rest from a leg injury that made me certain I would never enter the pit at a show again, and that no band would be capable of bringing me out of retirement.
But most bands are not TVOD. Hovering at their shows is not an option. Once they take the stage, the entire room starts to shake and the crowd starts moving together as one unified entity. It’s no different from the gravitational pull that traps you in a whirlpool or a crosscurrent. Fighting it goes against the laws of physics. You’re left with no choice but to let the momentum carry you. And yes, there’s a ninety-percent probability that you’re going to die—that’s part of the thrill. In a city where the most audience action a performer can hope for is a few people passively swaying and nodding their heads, TVOD’s uncanny ability to whip an audience into a state of pure, anarchic bliss with their high-energy sets is precisely what makes them such a notable fixture around New York City.
TVOD’s first two projects Daisy (2020) and Victory Garden (2021) introduced the world to their lurching dance-punk rippers with jittery melodies and lyrics that are hilariously tongue-in-cheek, brazenly political, and intimately sincere. The band continues this streak with their latest singles, “Mantis,” and “Alien.” The former is a spasmodic apocalyptic rager with wheezing sci-fi synths and frenetic vocal affectations. And the latter is an epic interplanetary manifesto on self-loathing, driven by a relentlessly catchy riff and a roiling, off-kilter progression bordering on operatic, with lyrics that illustrate the slow decay of the narrator’s mental state to the point where they start to recklessly flirt with their own mortality (“And if I fall asleep at the wheel/Don’t make it such a big deal”).
Now, the band has released a third single, “Goldfish,” with an accompanying music video animated by Scott Palazzo. The lyrics are a cheeky over-dramatization of a child losing a pet fish and blaming its demise on another person instead of taking responsibility.
In October, TVOD embarked on a month-long tour, bringing their exquisite mayhem to several states across North America. To get a taste of the antics they got up to on the road, I had the band send over a mini photo diary, which you can view below!
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