Animals on TV’s Lively Rock and Roll Captivates Audiences in Austin and Beyond
Lead singer Rob Hogan talks about their history, success and what’s to come
Animals on TV is a sensational Austin band to keep your eye on right now. Formed in 2019, the garage rock ensemble is comprised of a gang of 20-something men who possess a distinct retro style, raw talent, and vivid energy. Core membership includes Rob Hogan (lead vocals), Andrew Davis (guitar), and Sam Franklin (guitar), with additional members of Gabe Posada (guitar), Alex Ward (bass), Ben Baron (drums) and Nate West (drums & bass) who periodically play on stage with them.
Despite gaining notoriety in a post-pandemic world, the group’s upscale punk sound and magnetic presence have garnered significant recognition from audiences and critics alike from Austin and the rest of the country. Awards and accolades thus far include a nomination for “Best New Act of 2022” at the Austin Music Awards and a first-place win in Desert Door Texas Sotol & Resound’s Unreleased Music Program competition. The victory resulted in a $5,000 budget for a music video and the opportunity to open for the popular indie band Beach Fossils.
After a strong year of growth for Animals on TV, they’ve entered a major shift: frontman Hogan’s move to New York City. The relocation this April came from his desire to continue making music while moving forward with his acting and modeling career. Hogan states very clearly: “I’m not abandoning anything. And I love Austin.”
Originally a Houstonian, Hogan was an undergraduate student at UT when he was exposed to the local music scene. After getting introduced to so many interesting people with tattoos and their DIY garage studios, he longed to become affiliated with it all.
A few years later, his friends (now his bandmates) Davis and Franklin were playing in their own group. Hogan followed them closely, drawing their merch and frequently attending practices. “It was obvious I desperately wanted to be in a band but didn’t have any music background aside from being the worst singer in my church choir growing up,” says Hogan. “ were pretty much like, ‘Rob, do you want to try this?’ And that’s how Animals on TV began.”
Witnessing them on stage is an electrifying experience. They place fast, loud and fun. Physicality is a prominent feature in their act, as the members thrash their bodies to the music and blithely jump on each other throughout their set.
Matching in energy is their skill. Choppy guitar riffs harmoniously blend with Hogan’s wide-ranging vocals. Despite no training, Hogan sings with a strong voice and experimental cadence similar to the likes of Lou Reed, Mick Jagger or Julian Casablancas. Their most obvious comparison is The Strokes, and fun fact: their name comes from the song “Life is Simple in the Moonlight.”
The ensemble’s discography is mainly made up of upbeat, catchy tunes with the occasional soft melody as well (MTV 2 is a personal favorite). Their songwriting showcases an emotional maturity, with idiosyncratic lyrical concepts that mix humor with very real feelings. A title that stands out as an example of this is the recently released “Matthew McConaughey”, a cry for help to the celebrity Austinite about our changing city.
“Matthew McConaughey is this weird satellite figure who’s always around but also very private in some ways,” explains Hogan. “I think everyone can agree he’s pretty cool. The song is about Austin changing and it’s jokingly jingoistic toward Californians. Obviously, places are gonna change, but also change is hard especially when it’s not done well or right. There’s a lot of mixed emotions in there.”
As for the future, nothing is slowing down for them. While they continue to write and record music, a slew of new releases are coming out this summer. In late May, the band released a collection of unheard tracks from jam sessions that never made it to official release status. The proceeds from this assemblage of work go towards a nationwide tour they are planning this fall. Slated for later in the summer are two official releases, a single in late June and another one following in early August. It’s the beginning of a new chapter for Animals on TV and there’s plenty to look forward to.
“I want to say a big thank you to everyone who’s come seen us play,” adds Hogan. “We started with the intention to have fun and to make our live shows super fun and everything to date has confirmed what a grand idea that was. We’ve had a blast with it and it means a lot when other people can share in that feeling and that it’s palpable.”
Get updates on Animals on TV’s upcoming projects and tour through their Instagram.