Off the back of the release of their latest single ‘What you Came Here For’, Australia’s answer to Fleetwood Mac, Tigertown, have hit the road; sharing their lush harmonies and dreamy instrumentalism with adoring audiences across Australia. The band, which is made up of husband and wife Chris and Charlie alongside their siblings Alexi, Elodie and Kurt, have enjoyed a number of hits on Triple J and gigs alongside Australian pop royalty; including Matt Corby, Emma Louise and Husky to name a few.
The band sat down with Em from Bear Media ahead of their gig at Yours and Owls on Saturday 6th of July.
Em: Tigertown’s latest single What You Came Here For was recorded and filmed in Portland with Alpacas. Is escapism and a connection with nature a source of inspiration for the band?
Tigertown: This is the first time we’ve gone away together to record, and it was an amazing experience to all be focused on one thing for a whole week. I guess escapism is a source of inspiration for us because we try and create an escapism for others in our music. We love the idea of music being able to take you somewhere, and even when we’re making it at home, we definitely have to find a calm place for the music to come from. It helps we live close to the ocean.
Em: On that note – is What You Came Here For for an ode to your time in Portland?
Tigertown: We already had What You Came Here For written before we went up there, but I do love how people have made that connection to “what we went up the mountains for” The song actually comes from classic moments I often have, wondering whether we’ve got it all wrong in the world. I know that sounds a bit cliche, but I guess it’s just an honest thought about how we live.
Em: What You Came Here For was recorded with Australian Producer Liam Judson, who is known for his amazing work on Cloud Control’s acclaimed Bliss Release (2010) and as lead singer, engineer and producer for Bells will Ring. How much importance do you guys place on being produced? Why?
Tigertown: Our first EP was totally self produced, and I guess the reason we started looking at having other producers was so we could concentrate on the playing and the ‘being a band’ part. It’s great being able to record with out having to second guess everything you do because there’s someone else in the room doing that. It always turns out to be a co-produced situation with the band. Liam was amazing to have because it seemed his and our head space just happened to be in the exact same place at the same time in terms of musical direction.
Em: Producer Liam Judson is known for his mixture of digital and analogue production techniques. Has working with Judson helped Tigertown achieve it’s truely unique sound?
Tigertown: Going into the EP, we had been listening to a lot of ’70s records like Fleetwood Mac and America, so when we met Liam, it was so exciting how much he knew about the old recording techniques and how to pull those classic sounds. He has some great old gear that definitely helped shape the sound. Simple things like, using less mics, really got us vibing on how things were done back in the day.
Em: So I’ve gotta ask – Judson engineered, produced and mixed Cloud Control’s Bliss release in his family home in the Blue Mountains. Did you guys record in these famed halls or is it merely coincidence that you also recorded in the Blue Mountains?
Tigertown: Well because Liam grew up in the mountains so he has a pretty cool connection with the area and knew about the house we hired out for the week. We did get to do a couple of things in the family home once we left too, so plenty of mountain magic in the record. There’s something really Australian about the landscape up there and that stuff gets us excited. It’s the same reason we shot our Morning has Finally Come clip by the snowy river.
Em: I’ve heard that self-recording has been key for the band – with the self-recording of your debut EP in Chris and Charlie’s apartment. Why do you guys record your own music?
Tigertown: Charlie and I find that recording the songs as they’re written, brings them to life instantly and keeps the song fresh. Sometimes dwelling on a song for too long can kill it so as soon as we come up with something, we demo it in our apartment. Both of our recent EPs actually still have elements that were recorded at home. It’s handy having that freedom too.
Em: As a band, you’ve avoided labeling your sound. Is it challenging to create your own identity when you’re pigeon-holed?
Tigertown: I think the problem with being labelled, is that everyone has their own connotations attached to different labels. We’d love people to listen to the music without any preconceived ideas that have come from a genre or label. When it comes down to it, we really love a classic pop song that lasts.
Em: Your sound has transitioned from the more stripped back folk of What Makes it Harder to the multi-layered warmth and vocal harmonies in What You Came Here For. Is this a creative decision – or a by-product of then addition of new members to the band?
Tigertown: It’s definitely come from us becoming a full band. We’ve been lucky enough to have toured quite a bit over the last year especially so all of our new songs were tried and tested on the road, and with all of us going for it, they’ve turned out quite big sounding.
Em: You guys have toured with some amazing bands – with Husky, Founds, Matt Corby and Emma Louise just to name a few. How have they influenced your sound?
Tigertown: We take things from every band we play with. We’re just lucky there’s so much amazing Australian music right now to keep fuelling the creativity. We actually started touring as soon as our first EP got attention, so we learnt a lot very quickly by touring with those bands. Being with such great acts, made us realise how important it is to craft a really great live show if you want to give fans a reason to keep coming out to the shows.
Em: Live shows have really solidified your fan base around the Country (and in New Zealand). Why do you guys enjoy touring?
Tigertown: Touring is probably our favourite part of it all at the moment. This current tour has been amazing meeting the people at our shows who are singing every word. We’re pretty good at the travelling together, being family we’ve had our whole lives to work it out. Getting to visit so many places and meet so many people really excites us. We realised this tour that we have friends with gear and beds in almost every city.
Em: I’ve noticed on facebook the band has a bit of an obsession with alpacas. Can we expect any alpaca facts on stage at Owls next week? Or even an appearance from a live alpaca?
Tigertown: There were two Alpacas on the property that we recorded in and it was our job to feed them. We grew quite fond of them and would love to bring one to Yours and Owls. Even if it is Kurt and Alexi in an Alpaca suit. Hmmm I might need to make some phone calls.
Em: Wollongong loves Tigertown, and I can’t wait to catch you at Owls!