“Gang of Four, we are still coming for you”—An Interview with Animals on TV

Posted on: March 29, 2022
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Austin rockers Animals on TV

Animals on TV are one of the most exciting bands to come up in the Austin music scene recently. They were nominated for best new act at the 2022 Austin Music Awards, and their latest single, “Marianne”, dropped March 17th.

They’re a burst of energy and charisma on the stage, with frontman Rob Hogan dancing and contorting to the music like a combination of Mick Jagger and Iggy Pop. The rest of the band brings dueling guitar riffs (Gabe Posada and Andrew Davis), danceable bass lines (Alex Ward), and smashing drum grooves (Ben Baron) to round out a killer vintage garage rock sound. Take a chance to see them live and you’re guaranteed to have songs stuck in your head for days afterwards. Ahead of their opening set tomorrow night at Empire Control Room, I sat down with Hogan to talk about “Marianne”, Gang of Four, and life in Austin.

Profile and Interview by Adri Hullet

Adri Hullet: I got to hear Marianne live and it’s possibly your catchiest song yet. Can you share the story behind it?

Rob Hogan: Marianne is definitely a crowd favorite when we play live. We like to open up sets with it. It gets people moving, ourselves included. I think we wrote it on a day that we had to cancel a band practice for whatever reason. Andrew, our rhythm guitar player, and I wound up still getting together. We wanted to write something fun and a little more punk. We were struggling with a totally different idea when Andrew started playing the chords for Marianne’s verse for the first time. The words came to me pretty much on the spot. It was one of those freaky occasions where a song kind of falls from the sky, lyrics and all: you don’t question it, you just milk it for all it’s worth. Thank you rock’n’roll gods!

As far as the lyrical concept, it’s about a dumb, brash, self-concious guy who falls in love with a girl who’s transferred to his high school. He’s more worried about what his friends think than anything. You get almost no sense of who Marianne is through the lyrics, she’s just being put on a high pedestal by the narrator. It’s a song about young love but if you’re prone to analysis, it’s also a bit of a commentary on how susceptible we are to letting our projections get in the way of real love—making light of something to be avoided.

You recently ran a guerrilla social media campaign to convince Gang of Four to have you open for them. How’d that work out? Any future targets?

Gang of Four, we are still coming for you. Don’t think you can avoid us forever. You have not heard the last of Animals on TV.

Yeah, our efforts to coerce Gang of Four to let us open for them via absurd instagram posts were totally unsuccessful. They didn’t acknowledge our campaign whatsoever. Honestly, that was probably a smart move by them. Don’t negotiate with terrorists. It was still really fun for us and really fun for our fans, I think. We love antics. This was our second campaign. Our first was (and is) to try to get the alcoholic beverage brand, Ranch Rider, to sponsor us. We’ve made no ground there either, but we’re also calling it a complete success. They’re officially not not not not not not not not not not not our sponsors. Eventually, if we keep this up, they might even send us free stuff.

Will we retire from social media terrorism? Hell no. We will set our sites on bolder targets. We only need to succeed one time. It’s a good laugh, too.

What’s your favorite part about the Austin music scene?

My favorite part of the Austin music scene is that just when you think you’ve seen it all, another amazing band pops up out of nowhere. The scene has breadth and within that breadth, you can really curate the people and bands who resonate with you and who you wanna work with. As cheesy as it sounds, we’d be nowhere without the friends we’ve made along the way. We see it as our duty too to pay it forward and help bands who are just starting out navigate the same territory that we did. Now… if we can only figure out how we can all blast off at once into fame, riches, and stardom for time immemorial, that would be sweet. Soon, very soon.

Animals on TV play Empire Control Room with Culture Wars and Night Cap at 6:00 P.M. on Thursday, March 31, 2022. $5 cover.