If you haven’t yet, I hope you’ll subscribe to my weekly newsletter, which is a mish-mosh of pop culture news, reviews, personal writings, and whatever fancies me.
Philly-rooted band, TEA HEAD, share their new album “Bachelor” via Free Dive Records. It was recorded throughout 2020-21 at Little Brother Audio in West Philly and produced/mixed by Vic Antonio and produced/mastered by Tyler Ripley. Despite recording the album during a global pandemic and having to wear masks in the studio until they could be vaccinated, the band members still managed to inspire each other and capture the instrumental interplay that Tea Head fans have come to expect.
“Bachelor” is a ten-track journey through the inner thoughts of the band members. The music includes a mix of psychedelia, beach indie, and classic rock influences. The album’s themes center around the universal experience of trying to understand one’s place in the world. Songs such as “Calico” and “Dip My Toes” address this theme directly; both songs are about the struggle of not knowing what’s coming next in life.
“As a young person, we have immense pressure on us from the age of 13 to figure out what we want to do and [to] start making a plan to get there,” said guitarist and lead singer John Fordyce about the meaning behind “Dip My Toes”. He continued, “but it’s really hard to find the time to focus and make that happen, when you also have to take care of your mental health, financial situations, relationships, and stuff like that.”
How does it feel to have your debut album finished?! With the pandemic, I’m sure you faced a lot of challenges to overcome.
- Joe: It feels fantastic to have the album out. Let alone the fact that the pandemic threw a wrench in our plans for about a year, we were able to focus solely on creating an album that really represents who we are, both musically and artistically in the studio. Honestly, the pandemic kinda helped us create the best record in that regard, because all our focus went into the recording process
- John F: It’s really amazing to have the album be finished. Some of these songs have been written for like 3 years, so it’s been a long process. Through the course of the pandemic, we had to stop the process twice due to quarantine laws in Philadelphia, had to cancel all plans and get emergency tests, and wore masks almost the whole time. That part was really frustrating. But everyone was on the same page of just making sure we take our time and do it right, I’m really glad we’re finally seeing it come to fruition.
How did you all come to meet and form Tea Head?
- Joe: I’ve known Gabe most of my life at this point. He and I grew up together in Downingtown, PA, and pretty much started playing music together as soon as we met. Old British Invasion stuff that we were both into. We’d played in several cover bands with other friends. One of those friends introduced me to Johnny, we started writing music together with a different group of friends, including Gabe at one point.
- John F: I met John M when we were roommates at a 2-week pre-college summer session at U-Arts. I loved the way we wrote and played together, he helped me write and record some of my first songs I ever put out. Flash forward a few years, Joe and I reconnect and start writing music together again. We had started jamming with Gabe, when I booked a show for us at The Soda Bar (house venue in North Philly). John and I were both going to U-Arts at the point, so I hit him up and he did it. We pretty much rehearsed by humming our parts and drumming on our chests. After that night we pretty much looked at each other and were like “OK, I think we need to do this again.” And now we’re a band!
Is there a backstory behind the name Tea Head?
- John F: I grew up in a town called West Chester. Downingtown, (where Joe and Gabe grew up) is usually considered to be in the “West Chester Area”, and both of them went to the university there, so we all felt like that was our hometown. West cHester used to be called “Turks Head”. We were trying to think of something cool with that; T.H…T. Head… TEA HEAD! I think Gabe was the one to say that out loud, and we fell in love with it. I personally love drinking tea, and I like how it’s kinda a pun on the name Pothead.
What makes Philly a great music town in your eyes?
- John F: I think more than anything, Philly has A LOT going on with art and music. There are so many different little sectors of the DIY scene, there’s almost always something going on. Which gave us a really good opportunity to get exposure and try new things out. We also had so many great bands to share the stage with we picked up a lot of things from the bands we played with.
- Joe: I think the people are what make Philly a great music town. It is really is a small community, especially for up and coming bands, so feeling the support around you really creates a positive atmosphere around you
What should we be on the lookout for from you next?
- Joe: Definitely check out “Bachelor” when it drops, or any of the singles that are out now. We have our release show September 30th, at The Original 13 Ciderworks, in Philadelphia. That show was booked by the 4333 collective. We also have a show in West Chester October 23rd, at Fenn’s.
- John F: We have a lot of new music working. Like I said, some of the album songs are really old, so we are gonna have a lot of new stuff so get to once we give our minds and bodies a little break. Definitely catch us at a show, we’re planning some shows around some different states and areas, so if you wanna see us in your hometown, send us a DM and we’ll try to make it happen.