Tiger Army

Tiger Army

Interviews with band

  1. Tiger Army
  2. tiger Army 2009

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When last we caught up with Tiger Army three years ago, the Californian psychobilly trio were touring on the back of 2005's Ghost Tigers Rise, an album that earlier afforded the band a headlining US tour for the first time in its 13-year career.

Now on the phone promoting album number four, last year's Music From Regions Beyond, the group's heartbeat and singer-guitarist Nick 13 says he recently returned from a winter US tour that took the trio from their San Francisco base to Florida and back again.

Speaking to you last time you mentioned Ghost Tigers Rise came out just the way you intended .. was that the case with this album?

Nick 13:
"Yes, there are things that I think the producer Jerry Finn (Green Day, Alkaline Trio) brought to the table that are sonic improvements and I would say that this album came out even better than I intended."

So what did he add to the album specifically?

Nick 13:
"This is the first time we've worked with a producer and he was a fan of the song writing and a fan of the songs and he wasn't looking to rewrite them or change them which I liked. His focus I think was getting the songs to sound as good as they possibly could.

Nick 13:
"So I just sort of let him take the reigns as far the way things would be recorded from a technical standpoint. I knew going in that we had similar approaches and similar philosophies regarding the use of analogue tape and things like that. So it ended up being a really good partnership with really good results I thought."

Was there a particular record he'd done that really impressed you?

Nick 13:
"Well the guys in the band in AFI I grew up with and had been in bands with and he'd done their previous two records. I was really impressed with what he'd done and that's how I got to know him, doing back-up vocals on the last AFI album. So I got to work with him then for a considerable amount of time in the studio before we started this Tiger Army record.

Nick 13:
"Because I know their music so well and because of albums he's done with Morrissey and Rancid, all those artists I was very familiar with their catalogues and what their music was like and so I felt like I could hear what he was bringing to the albums. So all of that impressed me."

I notice AFI's Davey Havok has returned the favour by singing back-ups on your album?

Nick 13:
"I guess I've been singing on their records since about '96. Our schedules didn't line up for the last one but he was around this time so it was a good thing."

Why the decision previously to keep production in house?

Nick 13:
"Well I think I had a very specific vision of the way I wanted things to sound and I thought I was learning more with each record that i really didn't need anyone else. Ghost Tigers Rise did turn out the way I wanted it to but I also had the feeling I'd taken things as far as I could on my own and that it was time to try collaborating with someone. So that's what sort of drove that decision."

I enjoyed the track Ghosts of Memory, it sounds like a break-up song and has some great imagery there.

Nick 13:
"A lot of my songs sort of jump around in terms of chronology, drawing different experiences from different times from my life. Some songs might be pulling on a feeling I had when I was 16 or something that happened last year or half way in between - all in the same song."

You seem like the classic sensitive artist .. did you have a harsh upbringing?

Nick 13:
"It was a good one at home but the rest of the world wasn't so kind. I was definitely lucky in the sense that I had two parents that loved me and took care of me and were there for me. But that being the case I still felt alienated from the world at large. From a young age my interests diverged from what everybody else cared about and people's natural take on that especially in a small town is that you're a freak.

Nick 13:
"But just following my natural interest in things like skateboarding and punk rock, that stuff was not culturally accepted the way it is now and plenty of times you had to fight with a jock or a cowboy just to be who you wanted to be. It definitely left me with a distaste for society and the human race which I still carry today."

It's ironic then that as a musician you're expected to engage with people, the media, fans, etc.

Nick 13:
"Yes, when you play music you're expected to sort of be a public figure and almost in a way expected to act like a politician, like you're soliciting everyone's vote. Unfortunately, I simply haven't the time to speak and interact with every single person as much as they would like.

Nick 13:
"I have to look out for myself and conserve my own physical and mental energy and that upsets people sometimes. But I think what brought me into music was the fact that I was a social outcast and an introvert and I still am. Hopefully people understand that it's nothing personal if I want to keep to myself."



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