Tigercity - Earning Their Stripes
3D’s Carlisle Rogers speaks with Brooklyn group Tigercity – adamant they’re not just another ’80s band.
It has become de rigueur to reference Hall and Oates now whenever you mention Tigercity’s new EP, Pretend Not to Love. That’s dangerous for two reasons: Firstly, nothing this band has recorded, or ever will, could possibly measure up to 1982’s Maneater. Period. Their Greatest Hits album hasn’t a single filler track. It really is the greatest hits of pretty much the entire first half of the ’80s in the US.
Secondly, Tigercity is much better to dance to, unless you are 58 years old and like to snap your fingers and wear long cardigans (the fact that hipsters are now wearing the same long cardigans that their baby boomer parents wore, we’ll put down to ignorance).
“We all agree with you,” says bassist Joel Ford, “all of the ’80s revivalism references that have been written, we’re like, whatever. When we were writing these songs, we weren’t setting out to do an ’80s bands project at all.”
Joel says that the band has always been a loose affiliation of friends making music, and everything that’s come out of that relationship has been natural, organic even. “I guess the music came together really naturally, it just is what happened when we all came together and tried to write songs together. I graduated from college in 2004 and I was working in a bookstore with a friend of mine, Tim Glowik, who played guitar. He was the front man in a punk band called Wolves that toured for a couple of years and made a couple of records. He and I both wanted to start a dance rock band, and we started writing songs.”
From the outset, there was always a very DIY aspect to Tigercity production. “I was doing a little bit of electronic music production on my own. I had an MPC and was making beats. We didn’t have a drummer to play with, so I started putting beats together and we were writing songs around electronic drums. Then we met Bill, the current singer of Tigercity, and he quickly became part of the band. We moved to New York and the band reformed and Tim left the band, and we joined up with the guitar player and drummer.
“The producer is our group friend Al Carlson. When we moved to New York, Al was living with us and he was trying to make it as a freelance producer in New York City. He was kind of an extension to the band at that point. We worked together to create the sound of the album. It was very pieced together. We only got maybe two days of live room work, and then the rest of the album was put together overdub style over a period of four months of sneaking into studios and working from 1am to 7am on a Wednesday night just to track some keyboard or guitar. It was a painstaking effort in a lot of ways. We just really wanted to get the record together and that was the only way to do it – nobody had the money to pay for real studio time.”
Signed to Ben Watt’s newest label venture, Strange Feeling (yes, named after another Tim Buckley song), the band was the darling of many labels shortly after Rolling Stone announced they were worth a damn. “Most of the deals that were offered were really not very artist friendly. They were four-record deals with all sorts of crazy stipulations that we weren’t into. Ben met with Bill and I in New York and we just talked about music and hung out and ate some burritos. He was really cool and seemed to know what we wanted to do as a band.”
The band has already finished their debut album, recorded in July at Chuck Brody’s Chelsea studio. “I don’t think it’s going to be completely different, but it should sound bigger, more dynamic, and we like to think our songwriting has matured a little, but it’s still Tigercity, for sure.”
WHAT: Pretend Not to Love through Strange Feeling / Stomp
WHEN: Out now