After 5 years of releases, touring and gaining fans around the world, Sydney fam-band Tigertown suddenly went silent just when everything seemed to be coming together.
It came as a relief therefore to hear the newly reformed quartet drop their first single in 12 months earlier this year in the form of Bullet From The Gun. The song signalled a new direction for the band, with their folk-laden harmonies traded out for synth-pop hooks.
With the release of their party-starter single Lonely Cities, an imminent EP release and an international record deal under their belt, Tigertown finally seem ready to take the world by storm. We caught up with guitarist Chris Collins to discuss the change of direction for the band and how it feels to tour the US.
There has obviously been a significant shift away from the folky influence of the early EPs. What inspired this shift?
I guess because it’s been two years since we’ve released any music, the shift doesn’t feel that big to us because it’s been quite gradual, but looking back it is a long way from where we were. Travelling to New York to play CMJ in 2014, we saw a LOT of music so everything was thrown up in the air. We landed on our influences growing up which happened to be Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Phil Collins etc. The main result being that we wanted to make music that made you dance.
There was a lot of time between your earlier tracks and performances, and the more recent offering “Bullet From The Gun” – what were you getting up to in that break?
We were really lucky to do a lot of travelling, playing in the UK and the US, and we were able to do a lot of writing around the place. We recorded a lot of songs, I guess because we were fairly new to this sound; it took us a while to really nail what we were going for. The end of last year we spent three months in LA recording and it was one of the best times of our lives. Hopefully the best music we’ve made too.
The band has toured more in the States than Australia recently. Does that reflect your main fan base now?
Due to the amount of bands who are doing the same kind of thing as us, we have had a lot of amazing opportunities to tour in the US. The audiences have been really responsive, which is a lot of fun, but we are still a new band there. We’re really excited to tour Australia this year and seeing everyone again.
How has the band’s live set up changed after going from a six piece to a four piece?
We still use a drummer, so there are five of us on stage. There are a bunch of new instruments though, so the set up has changed a lot. We’ve traded violin and acoustic guitar for samplers and analogue synths. The drive now is making people dance at shows.
You’ve worked with so many people on the new EP – Tommy English, Chris Zane, Tim Pagnotta and Captain Cuts all across the states- did the varying inputs and opinions make it challenging to come to a final decision on the songs?
There were a lot of songs for sure. Surprisingly though, the strongest songs seem to stand out on their own. Out of 30 songs, we have chosen 12 for an album down the track and there wasn’t too much discussion about which to choose.
What’s something new that you learnt in the studio this time around?
Good question! It may sound strange, but the main thing we’ve learnt is to focus on the result rather than the process. Being in the studio is a lot of fun and all the aspects are really inspiring, but sometimes you have to ignore the technical part to just serve the overall sound. A lot of the parts were recorded at our place in Sydney, or our bedroom in LA. We were so lucky that our producer was so open to using anything that we needed regardless of where or how it was recorded. We also learnt that layering our four voices hundreds of time is now the ‘Tigertown’ sound.
Now that you’ve signed to a label, what does that mean for a band that has been independent for so long?
We are very thankful and appreciative of all that a label does. After doing it ourselves for so long, we learnt about how much work goes into every little aspect of touring and releasing. It’s amazing to just have to think about the music and not too much else. Our amazing managers really allow us to be free of anything not music related.
Obviously the family connection is apparent within the band. How has it felt working with people from outside the family in the past?
There are a lot of great things about playing with family. The fact that we are already on the same wave length in a lot of ways and we’re good at being honest and having productive fights, I suppose it makes us a little pickier about whom we work with. We’ve been very lucky with the people around us; we always see them as becoming part of the family. If you want to record with Tigertown there will be lots of home cooked family dinners.
Lonely Cities is out this Friday, February 5 via Inertia.
Tigertown are heading out on tour this April. Full dates below, and tickets and more information can be found at the band’s official website.
Tigertown Lonely Cities Tour Dates
Friday 01 April: Newtown Social Club, Sydney
Saturday 02 April: Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
Thursday 07 April: The Foundry, Brisbane
Friday 08 April: Beach Hotel, Byron Bay (Free Show)
Saturday 09 April: Sol Bar, Maroochydore
Thursday 15 April: Pirie & Co Social Club, Adelaide
Friday 16 April: Jimmy’s Den, Perth