Tigercub Interview “Bring a fucking rock show into town”

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Debut album Abstract Figures In The Dark is out now via Alcopop! Records.

It’s Saturday night in Glasgow and Tigercub are closing their set with ‘Migraine’, the noisiest track from their very noisy new album which was released the day prior to this show. They’re shredding through the song, every last ounce of rage pouring out of the speakers like acid onto your skin. It’s what somebody buried alive would sound like trying to escape from their coffin. Live shows like this on top of a stunning debut album will rapidly drive this band on to bigger and better things. It should be a fun, and very loud, journey.

After a few impressive singles and an EP, their debut album Abstract Figures in the Dark is finally with us. With it being their debut album, I’m keen to know how it came about. Does what it sounded like in your head match the final product or did the recording process change things? Jamie, guitarist and vocalist, who does most of the talking picks this up, “We went into the studio when we were gearing up to record the record and we had a clear idea of what we were gonna get out of it. The track order had already been established, we knew what we wanted to do. We had used the studio (Brighton Electric) loads so we know how it works. There were a few happy accidents, things that sounded cool which we left in”. James, Tigercub’s drummer, continues, “We chose to work with Alex Newport and knowing the range of different sounds he’s got, like everything from Pissed Jeans to Bloc Party, there’s a lot of extremes he can hit”.

Alex Newport has a ridiculously impressive CV. I ask what he brought to the table. “We sat down with him and talked about the record” says Jamie. “We were just really strongly focused on making it sound like us y’know? It had to be a record that sounds like Tigercub and not just the sum of all of our influences so what he did was help us to take all the risks that we wanted to take. He gave us the assurance that the ideas we had and things we’d try weren’t just gonna come out half-baked. Things like adding extra percussion, wind chimes, subtle keys, we wanted to get the sound of the studio down, get the atmosphere of the time and place of it all and he was really on board with that and he really knew how to help us deliver it”.

Seems fair to say the band are pleased with the end result, and so they should be. It’s as powerful a rock record as I’ve heard in years. Shudderingly heavy in places (though always satisfyingly so), melodic in others and even occasionally gentle. It’s a lot of talent packed into a compact space. “It feels to me like if someone was to review the record and say it’s just fucking shit, this band suck, I would be okay with that. If someone doesn’t like it, I’m at total peace with that cos I’m really proud of it myself and it’s how we wanted it to sound. We can have confidence in our convictions,” confirms Jamie.

Tigercub at Glasgow's Garage 12th Nov
Tigercub at Glasgow’s Garage 12th Nov

A personal highlight is the aforementioned song ‘Migraine’ which someone on twitter just described as sounding filthy. I can’t find a better word than that. James explains, “Yeah, that bit on the record is built up into its most dynamic peak and then it goes from there into a sound collage, just bits and pieces getting plugged in and then into the softest song on the album”. Jamie picks up, “The idea of having such an extreme song and then the quietest moment straight after is just about the need to follow extreme aggression with reflection and quiet”.

The record has been released on Oxford based label Alcopop! Records, Tigercub just being the latest great band on the roster of this impressive label. I ask how that came about and Jamie explains, “It was through Kevin at Big Scary Monsters, he came to see us in London with Dilly Dally and thought it was really cool. It wasn’t quite the right fit for BSM and so Jack (who runs Alcopop!) works closely with BSM and he really wanted to do the record. They sent us a deal, it was a good one and so we did it. We’ve been on the scene for quite a while, touring and stuff so people hear about is and if they wanna put our records out they will. We’ve had a different label for every release. The majors turn up at our gigs but they’re just sending people out to make it look like they’ve got their finger on the pulse, they don’t really have any intentions whereas Jack was keen. He wanted a band on his label that he could try to break into the mainstream and we also at least wanna take steps towards doing that and grow our audience. It means we don’t have to make any compromises”.

Picking up on that I ask about ambition, what would success look like for Tigercub? “The sky’s the limit”, laughs James before Jamie adds, “We wanna deliver a show. We wanna step up the show as much as we can. Really invest in the production. Bring a fucking rock show into town, y’know what I mean? When it’s live we’ll keep stepping it up every time. It would be really nice to focus on the live and then make the records we wanna make without having to worry about much, like does it have to get on the playlist of radio one, which would be nice but isn’t necessarily the be all and end all”.

Talk turns to the months ahead. What are the band up to to keep the current momentum growing? “Yeah, we’ve got a bit of December downtime then in January we’ve got a couple of big shows with The Fall which I’m really looking forward to, I really like playing a big stage” James explains before Jamie interjects, “Then back out into Europe and some supports that we haven’t announced yet. There’s talk of SXSW but it would have to be the right circumstances. We don’t wanna blow money on Visas then not have any impact, might be better to wait for America until we have a label there and a legit buzz. The main ambition at the moment is to focus on UK and Europe. We’ve been around Europe a bit and we’re just doing the classic rock up to a venue, play as well as you can and then hope that everyone who was at the show comes back with their friends the next time”.

The current UK headline tour definitely feels like a step, if not a giant leap in the right direction for the band. “People are showing up. We feel a buzz about it. We’re definitely the kind band that are gonna be in the back of a van slogging it, doing it on our own terms. We always say we’ve got high hopes, low expectations so there’s never any pretense about how big we are. If twenty people show up it’s wicked, we’ll play our best and chat to everyone to say thanks. So this tour has been amazing. We’ve been selling like seventy, eighty tickets, so not sold out but good, and people are stoked to hear the songs they know and the new stuff and they meet us afterwards”, explains an enthusiastic Jamie. “It definitely feels like the dial is starting to move in our favour a bit now”, adds James. He’s right you know. As people discover the Tigercub album and the power of their live show the dial will soon be entirely under their own control.

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Abstract Figures in the Dark was released on 11th November via Alcopop! Records. Get it here, there or anywhere. Just get it.

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