By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Dayton, Ohio-based group TV Queens recently dropped their new album ‘Bad Fiction,’ which has been described as “a marriage of 80’s dance tracks and modern songwriting sensibilities.”
‘Bad Fiction’ explores themes of political unrest, self-isolation and what happens when it causes general dissatisfaction and paranoia, an overall perspective on what it was like to be in the United States during 2020.
TV Queens are Nathan Peters (Lioness, Captain Of Industry), Maria Dixon (Me & Mountains, Lioness) and lead musician/producer Darryl Robbins (Dirty Walk, Motel Beds, Company Man), who’ve all wrote songs and performed since high school, mostly inspired by 80’s artists like Devo and Prince.
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to talk with Robbins about ‘Bad Fiction’ and more.
Music Bugle – How did you guys decide the band name?
Darryl Robbins – I swear I heard “TV Queen” somewhere on TV, but I can’t really remember. Maria suggested making it plural and that was that. There’s no meaning to it, other than we all agreed that we thought it sounded good.
Music Bugle – What was it like making your album ‘Bad Fiction’?
Darryl Robbins – Really fun, really easy. I’d already been pretty locked in with making music solely from home and just trading files with people, so that’s how it went down. It’s an email album. None of us were ever in the same room. I kind of love doing things this way, because it gives everyone the opportunity to do their thing in complete comfort and on their own time and we simply make any decisions that need made from that point on. It’s a different process than the typical band thing, so different things tend to happen.
Music Bugle – What’s something you wish happened more in today’s music industry?
Darryl Robbins – I wish it would shrink. Seems like the sheer amount of content is difficult for a person to sift through. I’d also love to see the vinyl fetish extend to other formats on the same scale. The vinyl thing has sparked more people to buy physical products, which is fantastic, but it’s really expensive and it takes a lot of time to get your project pressed.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Darryl Robbins – Not much at all, really, I consider myself very lucky. As far as music, I was already doing the home recordist/email collaboration thing, so it really had no effect on at all in that sense. Score – Being an introvert hermit – 1, Not being an introvert hermit – 0.
Music Bugle – What are your goals for 2021?
Darryl Robbins – I’d love to have our third full-length out by the end of the year. The second one is nearly done and I’ve got an idea for a style shift on the third release that I’m pretty excited to dive into. Also, I need a legit vacation.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Dayton, Ohio to someone who has never been there before?
Darryl Robbins – We’re Jan Brady, the middle child of the midwest. Jan’s always in the middle in a variety of ways, but Jan always strives for better things. As far as music, Jan gave you Zapp, GBV, Brainiac and The Ohio Players, so you kind of have to give it up for Jan.
Music Bugle – If you had to pick your own theme song, what would it be?
Darryl Robbins – “Live Wire” by AC/DC. No special reason, other than it would sound great as my pro wrestling intro music.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Darryl Robbins – Lately, it’s been lots of Death’s Dynamic Shroud, Erik Wollo, Comsat Angels, Nile, The Fixx, Drab Majesty, Telepath, Yagya, Vytis, Coppice Halifax – I love ambient and dub techno – and of course, solo Dio. I love so much stuff, but these days, I’m usually stuck somewhere in some form of electronic music, metal or the 80’s.
Music Bugle – Which of your songs were the hardest to write?
Darryl Robbins – I really don’t feel like any of them were difficult, honestly. Nate and Maria can do the stuff I can’t do really well, so the pieces fit and it’s universally easy and rewarding. The project is framed in a sort of 80’s new wave-ish sort of thing, but there’s no design for the songs, as long as they sound good to us.
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Darryl Robbins – Tough question, but I’d go with both in equal measure for different reasons. I’m not a fan of the notion that we seem to mostly communicate with each other through some rich guy’s database, but at the same time, we’re kind of bonded to it now, so I think artists feel stuck to it in order to push themselves and what they do. I dunno, I think there’s lots of good and lots of bad. I think the entire music world could really benefit from some type of platform that’s central within the music world, but at the same time, is remotely moral. Bandcamp is basically it in my opinion, but it doesn’t seem to serve more fair weather music fans like Spotify does. The lack of playlisting or any radio-type functionality seems to keep it in step with the more genuine music fans, which I love, but I’d also love to see someone dismantle Spotify’s hold. This was supposed to be about social media, wasn’t it?