In a world where there’s no shortage of podcasts, there’s still nothing quite like Tampon Rock. First off, calling it a podcast is an understatement — it’s a scripted sitcom series from Anthem Entertainment and iHeart Podcast Network that combines both comedy and original music from co-workers-turned-collaborators Alysia Brown, Sarah Aument and Sophie Dinicol. It’s also not made by the usual people you see in the executive producer credits. “I’m just so, just so exhausted of seeing the same white men doing the same sitcoms,” Alysia EXCLUSIVELY told HollywoodLife ahead of the podcast’s premiere day on Dec. 3 (you can listen to the podcast, here).
Instead, Tampon Rock introduces two lead characters who are also lesbians — Deja and Chloe — and are best friends/roommates/bandmates in the fictional band called G.O.A.L (The Greatest Of All Lesbians). The name of the podcast itself is a reclamation of an insult about women-made rock that came into popularity in the 1980’s, which, unsurprisingly, has been used mostly by men. “It’s not a slur per se, but a negative way to describe rock music for women,” Alysia said, naming the all-women ’90s rock group The Donnas as an example. Sarah added that while “Tampon Rock” isn’t “hugely in the vernacular,” they decided to “own this sh-t.”
Alysia, Sarah and Sophie know a lot about music: it’s the reason they all crossed paths in the first place. The trio met while working at Jingle Punks, an audio creative agency, where they still hold various music-related positions (Alysia and Sophie are both music supervisors, while Sarah — who’s part of a real-life music electro-pop duo called Tmboy — is head of creative services). So, working together comes naturally to the three creatives, even after the pandemic forced them to communicate primarily through Zoom. “I think it’s just fun to just be the creators of your own stuff and have no rules,” Alysia said, explaining that they play with “different genres” and just about every idea, no matter how “outlandish.” Such brainstorming sessions led to the creation of “My Heart Has A Heavy Flow (…Period Blood!),” “Nipples!,” and other such cheeky gems that’ll be featured in the podcast’s score.
Aside from the podcast’s heavy musical influence, it’s also a sitcom about dating. “I used to love dating…honestly, stand up [comedy] and dating was like, my thing. Like I loved it. And I think I wanted to kind of have a story where it also talks about like, Black lesbians, or like dating as a Black woman in New York. And I wanted to kind of have a story that’s in the sphere of content that had that kind of story,” Alysia said, who pointed out the importance of seeing her “identity” in an industry where slice-of-life comedies are dominated by the heteronormative perspective. Meanwhile, LGBTQ characters are often reserved for “traumatic” stories, which Sarah also discussed in the video above.
Even the setting of the podcast sitcom is unique: Oakland! “I think when we first started, we were just like, New York’s already been done,” Alysia recalled. The same applied to the second most famous city in the U.S., Los Angeles. That led the threesome to the Bay Area. “Oakland is kind of like if New York and LA had a baby,” Alysia observed.
From the original score to its setting, tone, quips and queer characters, Tampon Rock is in its own lane in an industry where too much traffic is directed to the same type of comedy with the same ensemble that goes through a rinse and repeat cycle in media. You can watch the rest of the Tampon Rock creators’ interview above. Alysia, Sarah and Sophie also reveal their relationship and roommate “Deal Breakers” in a game with HollywoodLife, which you can watch in the second video above as well!