For audiophiles in search of punk rock tongue-in-cheek lesbian dramedy-driven narrative storytelling, look no further: "Tampon Rock" is here.
The podcast, from Anthem and iHeart Radio, focuses on lesbian bandmates Deja and Chloe as they navigate the often-overlapping music and dating scenes of Oakland, California. The first two episodes are set to debut Dec. 3.
Creators Alysia Brown, Sarah Aument and Sophie Dinicol conceived the series while working together at creative agency Jingle Punks as a loose reflection of Brown and Auments' lives as young, urban LGBTQ women. (Dinicol is straight.)
"'Tampon Rock' is us but, at the same time, not," Aument said. "These characters are going through things that adjacently or personally we've experienced, but Frankensteined together in this ridiculous series of events."
Across eight episodes, the two twentysomethings ("we're not sure when she was born," narrators Brown and Aument purr about Deja) navigate acoustic-only gigs, Tinder dates, oil wrestling, pyramid schemes and their relationship with one another.
The show also explores Deja's specific experience as a queer Black woman, an underexplored demographic within the LGBT community.
Brown drew on her own life in creating Deja, drawing on her own shyness as a younger person.
"It was just natural," Brown said. "It's almost who I was at that age that they are."
Deja's arc, exploring a relationship with a polyamorous woman, pulls from Brown's own experiences dating in New York. Brown sought to create a balance between representing non-normative lifestyles like polyamory while also acknowledging that not all LGBTQ people are open to that kind of a relationship, as she learned about herself.
The creators chose to set the show in Oakland despite the fact that none of them had ever actually been to the Northern California city. They say that decision gave them the space to create original characters in their own sandbox rather than writing them into the cultural scene of Los Angeles or New York, where Aument and Brown live.
"I don't really have enough context for it to feel boxed in by what I know," Aument said. "It feels freer, like a blank slate."
The podcast also eschews references to pandemics or other global catastrophes as part of the creators' effort to craft a positive LGBTQ narrative compared to the somber nature of both the present reality as well as past depictions of queer characters.
"We wanted to create a LGBTQ story that's not rooted in trauma. We want something that's uplifting and nice and fun and I would have watched when I was young," Brown said.
Aument composed the series' music, including the band's original tunes, with supervision from Brown and Dinicol. Composing was a smooth process, Aument said, owing to the creators' shared experiences working in music production as well as a set of common experiences that led them naturally to the same musical cues. In many ways, the soundtrack plays as a snapshot of Brown, Aument and Dinicol's own time as urban twentysomethings.
The first episode heavily features riot grrl, a not-so-subtle wink at stereotypes about lesbian women, before expanding into more diverse genres in subsequent episodes. According to Aument, it was their way of paying homage to a beloved genre without making the series beholden to it.
"It was awesome to go beyond that but also play with that and love that," she said.
A tight budget and social distancing restrictions meant Brown, Aument and Dinicol had to get creative with casting. Many of the minor roles were filled out by fellow Jingle Punk staffers, while one gag leans into the series' technical limits with a wry PSA that interrupts halfway through the episode to inform listeners that a bit part will be voiced by Aument.
Though the creators considered playing Deja and Chloe, they ultimately deferred to other performers to fill out the lead roles Renita Lewis and Jules Forsberg-Lary play the duo a decision the creators ultimately agreed was for the best.
"Our actors are so good, I can't imagine it any other way now," Dinicol said.
Trailer - podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/tampon-rock/id1541661979 .
Twitter - @TamponRockPod
Instagram - @tamponrockpodcast
TikTok - @tamponrockpodcast
Website - www.tamponrock.com/ .