By Jordan Grammar | January 23, 2023
On the fourth and final night of their residency at The Broadway in Brooklyn, Tea Eater brought the house down with an electric set that certainly turned some heads. This was our first time catching Tea Eater live, and it definitely won’t be our last.
For the past month, Tea Eater has been playing shows at The Broadway and bringing in fantastic local acts to support. They even created a punch card system and rewarded any fan who came to all four. On Monday night, they were supported by Nara’s Room and Modern Flame, who both brought amazing energy and built up the anticipation quite nicely.
Although Tea Eater only has one recorded song in their discography so far, they’ve clearly got a lot of live experience under their belts and the way they worked the crowd was amazing. “After playing all different sized rooms around the city, I’ve realized it really comes down to who is in the room. I’ll perform anywhere, and it could be my favorite venue depending on the energy…” says Tea Eater’s lead, Tarra.
Gustaf show tickets aren’t live yet, we can retroactively link when they are
Before the show, we sat down with Tea Eater’s lead, Tarra, to learn more about the band, where they’re headed next and they answered a few questions for the groovement:
What was your first concert?
Ringo Starr at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ, I think I was 8 or 9 years old.
Where are you from and how long have you been in NYC?
I’m from New Jersey, close to the shore. I moved to NYC in 2008 so it’s been about 15 years.
What’s been your favorite venue in the city to perform at and what’s your dream gig?
Since I moved to NYC, it was my dream to play Bowery Ballroom. Gustaf played there with Yard Act last October–it totally lived up to my expectations and was one of my favorite shows. After playing all different sized rooms around the city, I’ve realized it really comes down to who is in the room. I’ll perform anywhere and it could be my favorite venue depending on the energy. That being said, once time travel becomes a thing my dream gig would be to play with The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The White Stripes at Mercury Lounge in 2001.
If you could collaborate with any act or share a booking with them, who would it be?
How did you first get started in music?
I wanted to play flute in my elementary school band and my mom said “no, but when you get older we’ll get you a guitar and you can start a band.” So I can thank my mom for getting me on this track and my stepdad who is a bass player and got me guitar lessons when I was 11. As annoying as being a teenager was, I’m very lucky to have had that support from the beginning.
Who/what do you draw inspiration from?
A lot of the Tea Eater lyrical content comes from older films and B movies like Invasion of the Bee Girls, As Good as it Gets, Ladies and Gentleman the Fabulous Stains, and anything directed by David Lynch; occult themed books and podcasts like E.T. 101, food (I do really love butter), and regular old experiences and conversations I’ve had.
In general I feel inspired by Francis Bacon paintings, going to aquariums (aka fish jail), the Museum of Natural History, and the giant New York Public Library. I love riding the east river ferry and just looking around New York City. If you ride public transportation and don’t stare at your phone the whole time you’re guaranteed to see some things.
How would you describe the music of Tea Eater – either by genre or general vibe?
Music for crows drinking cortados
Do you have anything you want people to take away from your music?
I’d like the music to make people smile or feel some kind of release from the weight of everyday life. I hope it inspires people to take themselves a little less seriously.
What’s next for Tea Eater or your other projects?
Tea Eater is doing a few out-of-town dates in early February in New Jersey, New Hampshire and Boston with LOVECOLOR. We are doing a Leestavail Direct-to-vinyl session on 2/20. We’ll be recording three of our unreleased songs–Fuck the DMV, Jack Nicholson, and Little White Dog in a Gated Community live to vinyl. Each vinyl is a one of a kind performance, and you can pre-order that here.
The first Tea Eater LP was recorded shortly before covid lockdown was over and before this lineup of the band was put together, so I’m hoping that it will be finally released by this summer! It was produced and mixed by Drew Vandenburg in Athens, GA.
The current lineup- Lindsey Ann Lawless on bass, Vramshabouh (also of Gustaf) on guitar and Abdon Valdez on drums are going into La Fam Studio with me at the end of this month to start tracking the second album with Jasno of Tight Lips and Vanessa of LOVECOLOR.
Vram and I also have an electronic project called MamajoeVramajoe and we stream on Twitch. We are very purple and celebrate every holiday. We also have started a religion called Churchajoe–the church of purple.
Connect with Tea Eater on Instagram and Bandcamp.
📸: shot by Owen Labate