Spotify introduced me to TIGERCUB a few months ago and I’ve been hooked ever since. Lead singer Jamie sat down and answered some questions for us and their new, growing fan-base in the U.S. He started the band with James (Drums) and Jimi (Bass) in 2012 in the sea-town and musical hub of Brighton, UK. You can catch their tracks on WTBU Radio, YouTube, or Soundcloud – but word on the street is it’s nothing like a live show. Honest, talented and hardworking – Tigercub is a band I listen to when I just want to blast a tune and pretend I’m in Nirvana’s garage before Kurt was on posters and Dave thought of being a Foo Fighter. Their vibe respects those influences of the past, but paves their own way forward with tracks like ‘Centrefold’ and ‘Little Rope’ that provide people like me with another band to genuinely believe in again.
How and when did Tigercub come about?
Me and James met at University in Brighton and started rehearsing together for a while. Trying to figure out who and what we wanted to be seemed to take forever but then in 2012 we found Jimi and everything clicked, so we started writing and recording together as Tigercub.
What inspired the name of your band?
We just came up with it spontaneously and it stuck.
Who are some of your musical influences?
I find the uncompromising, obtuse and intimate nature of In Utero a constant source of inspiration. I love the misery of Elliot Smith and the infinitely tuneful lethargy of Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen. Then there’s the Sonics and The Stooges, I could go on.
Which ‘James’ in the band primarily writes your songs and what tends to inspire him?
I tend to drag bare bone songs and home-recorded demos into the practice room and we all kick the shit out of them. I find Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule the main inspiration to write at the moment, it can also be a very cathartic process.
Was there a particular person or experience that inspired ‘Centrefold’?
That song is more of a rant than anything directly aimed at anyone. There was a particular person who served as the catalyst for it but it’s more like a three and a half minute stream of consciousness that got slightly out of hand and ended up getting recorded.
What’s the vibe like in Brighton? There are so many great bands coming from there right now, is it motivating or a little intimidating?
Brighton is a lot of fun, a lot of our friends are doing amazing things in music – at the moment so it’s difficult to get through any music blog or magazine without seeing one of your mate’s bands in it, which can be very surreal, it’s even more surreal when you see your own. It’s all incredibly inspiring and motivating though.
In five years, you’re headlining the Lotus Play Beats festival (humor me) – can you pick five current bands you want in the line up with you?
Would you say your more concerned with getting across a message through your music or is the vibe and the live experience the most important part to you?
I’d say both, just trying to find the perfect middle ground between Existentialism and Jackass.
Big into the existential/Jackass balance. I find a festival is a great place to find it – that sort of transcendental way of getting lost in music but also appreciating how relevant lyrics can be to what we’re dealing with or have dealt with.
Was there a particular gig growing up that made any of you realize that music was the best and only choice for you?
In 2005, Radio 1’s Big Weekend came to my hometown. I was 14 and slept overnight in a car park to get tickets. I saw Interpol, The Subways, The Foo Fighters and The Chemical Brothers in the space of 48 hours and it blew my fucking mind.
I think ‘Little Rope’ is my favorite song of yours, what was the creative process like for that song and title? “You look better when all the lights are off” – did she at least light some candles?
That song was written so long ago it feels like it doesn’t belong to me anymore. I guess I was in a place at the time where I was living out my share of clumsy sexual experiences and writing songs about them.
I think I like that one because it’s so blunt. “All I know is how to fuck” is a great line – but, then I really like the deeper allusion to not having that emotional attachment, just being skin and bones, it’s quite honest. Where was that coming from?
I’m a big fan of the rhetoric: ‘Show, don’t tell’ and originally wanted to keep the lyrics super vague and as a rule, I try to with all my lyrics, but at the time I thought what made sex so confusing for people is the fact that it can be interchangeably intimate or distant, or both. It can be in itself an allusive act or an explicit one so I guess I wanted to use both allusive and explicit language to symbolize that. A lot of things for me at that time felt very disengaging and disenfranchising so I was just wallowing in it, really.
Any plans to come to the US? Maybe, Boston? Just a suggestion.
It feels like it could be a possibility early next year. No promises, but it’s in the cards 😉
Tigercub is currently on tour in the UK. Tickets are available for August 6, 7 & 8 in London, Brighton and Southampton here, the Kopparberg Urban Forest Festival here and *they play a lot of shows you should follow them to find out and lose your minds to them* here.