Explode The TV: Pop melodies, rock rhythms and an ethereal sound for the Londoners

Saturday 1st December 2018

Tony Cummings quizzed Andi Skips and Bentley Browning of London-based band EXPLODE THE TV

Explode The TV
Explode The TV

When Cross Rhythms last spoke to Explode The TV, they were relatively new out of the trap with their 2012 album 'Godbox'. A lot has changed for the band, not least the fact that they now consist of two musos, Bentley Browning (vocals and lyrics) and Andi Skips (bass, guitars and engineering). I quizzed them both about their music and began by asking them how their music had changed since the 'Godbox' days.

Said Bentley, "'Godbox' had a real '80s and '90s flavour, whereas with [2017 album] 'Normalized' we were after a more cutting edge rock record with our usual pop influence. I'm really proud of the record as we recorded it ourselves and got it mixed by a genius, Kent Hertz who mixes Godsmack. I'm a massive fan of [the songs] 'Power' and 'I Will Not Live A Lie'."

Andi added his thoughts on 'Normalized'. "Bentley and I discussed the kind of vibe that we wanted for the album and we came to the same conclusion that we wanted it to groove a little more than the previous records, so we referenced bands like the Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Kasabian and groove-based rock bands, including Joy Division and New Order. This was against a backdrop of the band being without a guitarist after David Guzman had left after the 'Rhymes For Robots' album. So we decided to experiment with writing with drums and bass. I was listening to and enjoying the band Royal Blood and their set-up is drums and just a bass, splitting the signal from the bass into bass and guitar amps and using effects to add colour. This worked extremely well, giving Bentley good opportunity and free range with the vocal melodies as single notes and riffs give scope to expand and experiment rather than major or minor chords and patterns which can limit and guide the direction of the melody too much. Chris nailed the grooves too. My brother-in-law John Hart added percussion to the album, which also helped it groove along. He has since sadly passed away, so we wanted to dedicate the album to his memory. The second single 'I Will Not Live A Lie' definitely rocks and challenges. 'On My Knees' is my favourite because I love the baseline and message."

It was in 2015 that Explode The TV's 'Rhymes For Robots' was released. Said Bentley, "That album was definitely our experimental stage, with guitarist David Guzman creating mad effects and only playing one take to capture the thrill and spills of spontaneity. . . which was liberating and terrifying at the same time." Andi added, "I think that the title came from one of the tracks, 'Robot Smile' and the feeling that humanity is, to some degree, becoming more automated and our lives controlled by computers. Also, the fact that we are not robots but are made in the image of God with free will, consciousness and a soul. It's a reminder that we are not robots and to remember our humanity and divinity. I think the standout tracks for me are 'Robot Smile' and 'Under The Radar', although I love the track 'Beautiful'. It's an album I'm immensely proud of and David's experimental approach on the guitar really helped shape the songs and sound."

Explode The TV:  Pop melodies, rock rhythms and an ethereal sound for the Londoners

Explode The TV have played plenty of gigs, and their growing bunch of supporters are now chomping for a new release. Andi gave a clue as to what that might sound like. "The band has always had pop melodies and rock rhythms and sounds. We are currently working on a new direction and developing a wider soundscape, working with guitarist Fabio Padial from Brazil. We are still writing but are heading into the studio to record soon. We can't help writing pop-orientated melodies, even though we are finding a more ethereal sound. Watch this space. . ."

Unlike many bands who find that their debut release doesn't lead to an imagined Big Time, there is no sign of an imminent breakup. Rather, Explode The TV are allowing set-backs and delays to teach them truths about God's timing. Said Andi, "When you are submitted to God, walking with him, everything falls in to place. He is over all and in charge, if we let him be. Then we can relax and allow God to work out the details. It may sound a little fatalistic to some, but actually it's faithalistic (if there is such a word!). Having faith and trusting is the lesson." CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
About Tony Cummings
Tony CummingsTony Cummings is the music editor for Cross Rhythms website and attends Grace Church in Stoke-on-Trent.


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