Wigan’s TVAM is very much the bedroom producer. Joe Oxley’s brand new album ‘Psychic Data’ is the sum of years of work, showcasing a distinctive, intense style, a sprawling urban soundscape of spacey intensity. He’s lost, he says, in a deluge of pop-culture references and musical touch points.
I caught up with the fast-rising urban man ahead of his Dublin show this month…
So the album is just around the corner. How’s the process been, and what can we expect from it?
The tracks were written over the course of a couple of years but I got Dean Honer in to mix them. He helped glue them all together. I’ll never be happy with it (I’m not supposed to) but it’s a good representation of everything TVAM has been to me since the beginning. Distorted pop banger melts.
You’ve put quite a few of the tracks from the album out ahead of its release. What are the themes that run through them in album form?
I think they sort of stack up on one another when you listen to them as an album. Each track has it’s own sound and theme but the effect is compounded when they’re dished out one after another. I think a lot of the album is about me coming to terms with my own sense of identity-based on feelings of nostalgia, rather than my actual memories. It’s about how completely lost it feels to be a child of pop culture influences.
Recorded at home, orange vinyl, fruit on the cover. You like to make an impression, I take it?!
As dark as the music can sometimes be, it’s got a lot of colour to it. Orange, to be precise.
It’s been about three years doing this now. What was your background, music wise, before TVAM?
I played around in surf and garage bands for a while.
What’s been your favourite moment as TVAM so far?
It’s been great being able to talk about the record now it’s finally out.
Some of the reviews of the new record suggest you’re deliberately a little out of the limelight. Is that something you’ve intended?
I’m a natural introvert. I suppose that goes a long way to understanding my motivations.
It’s taken a few years to get to this stage. Did you feel you needed the time to get an album exactly right, or did things just work out this way?
It just kinda worked out this way. It’s always been both a music and visual project so an album was never the first thing on my mind. That gradually changed when it became clear there were themes running through the songs and they added something when put together.
You get called ‘bedroom’, shoegaze, rave, synth-pop… What do you make of the labels? (and is the bedroom thing literal?)
The bedroom thing is literal, yes. It’s simply what was available at the time… I don’t know what to make of labels; I’ve sometimes put some out there myself just to muddy the waters. I don’t like one specific type of music so I don’t know how to categorize myself.
How are you hoping things might change after the release of the record?
I think it’s the right time to put a band together.
Narcissus was added to the 6Music B playlist the other day. Does this kind of stuff mean a lot to you?
I’m incredibly fortunate to be supported by people and institutions I admire. It still amazes me…
What’s the music scene like in Wigan? Is it a good place to work out of?
There isn’t one. That’s probably one of the reasons to make music.
What can we expect from your live show?
An audiovisual extravaganza with minimal audience participation.
What are your plans for the future?
Cracking open Red Dead Redemption 2 and resting on my laurels.
TVAM plays The Grand Social, Dublin on Friday, November 9. Tickets here.