Interview With: Tigercity

Last Wednesday I got the chance to hang out with Tigercity, four of the coolest, non-hipstery Brooklyn dudes I’ve ever met. We laughed, we cried (not really), we made up a great rumor to spread. All in a night’s work. Read on to find out about the guys’ opinions on refurbished venues, what it’s like touring with VHS or Beta, and the newfound legitimacy of constructed pop bands gone indie.

Jessica, PopWreckoning: Thanks to all four of you for hanging out down here, talking [sound check is loud] over the noise. So, Tigercity? That’s an interesting name – how’d you come up with that?
Joel: It’s kind of a combination of two random, not related inside jokes slash things
that myself and another friend, our old guitarist, went through at the time the band formed in 2004. There’s no significance at all.
Bill: That was vague. “It’s an inside joke.”
Joel: That could’ve been a two word answer.
PW: I’m glad it wasn’t though, because that would make for a really boring interview. Thanks for that. Be long-winded!
Bill: ‘What does that mean?’ [scowling] ‘Nothing!’
Joel: ‘Next question!’
PW: ‘Next question! I refuse to answer that!’
[All laugh]

PW: So when did Tigercity become the incarnation it is now?
Bill: A little over two years ago?
Joel: 2006 or something.
Bill: January of 2006.
PW: How’s that working out? Well, I guess.
Bill & Joel: Terrible, terrible!
PW: [laughs] You guys all hate each other?
All: Yep…Yep.
Aynsley: We had a mutual friend, through Al Carlson who recorded our EP. Andrew and I knew him at college. Joel went to high school with him and all these guys [Bill, J
oel & Andrew] live together. Just mutual friends – it all happened naturally.
PW: You all live in Brooklyn, correct?
Bill: Three of us live in the same house
PW: What neighborhood do you live in?
Bill: In Clinton Hill.
Joel: It’s like Bed-Stuy, but right next to Clinton Hill.
PW: I went to school up there, so I have lots of New York questions. [laughs]
Bill: Wait, where’d you go to school?
PW: Fordham, in the Bronx. I miss New York. I love Philly; I grew up here. But New York, man [pause] nothing else.
All: [laugh] Yeah.
PW: So, I haven’t been back since they’ve changed it, but North Six…you guys have played it as Williamsburg Music Hall. What’s it like now?

All: [talking over each other] It’s really nice. It’s really nice!
Bill: It’s actually got the best sound. In terms of on stage, it’s got the best sound of any club we’ve played in New York. And I saw MGMT there. The sound there off-stage, in the audience, is fuckin’ incredible.
PW: I loved North Six, but it wasn’t…
Bill: A long time ago we played the basement of North Six, but I never went to a show there.
Joel: I went to a show there. It was OK. It was just kind of grimy. There was stadium seating and it was a bitch.
Bill: It’s really nice now.

PW: I was upset when Live Nation was gonna take over. Was that who did it?
Joel: No, it was Bowery.
Bill: It’s cool with me. Those guys are fuckin’ awesome!
PW: Bowery Presents is fine. I thought it was Live Nation.
Bill: What is Live Nation?
Joel: A huge corporation. I think they gave Madonna that 160 million dollar deal.
Bill: Oh, right. Jesus.
PW: They redid a couple places around here and, I mean, they’re nicer looking…but they’re not what they were.
Bill: No, this is legit. It’s basically like having the Bowery in Brooklyn.

Joel: It looks really similar.
Bill: A little more Robocop industrial.
PW: That’s the Brooklyn feel, though, I think. That entire block is kind of creepy to walk down.
Bill: Yeah, a little bit. Well, not really. What’s the Thai place where those bridge and tunnel people go?
Andrew: Sea.

Bill: Sea! Sea is the most absurd place in the world!
PW: I’ve never been in, but my friends and I would walk by and think, “Who are these people and what are they doing here?!”
Bill: My friends, once, told me to meet them and I thought they said there. I walked in and I was like, “You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me!” They were like, “No! We’re not there!”
PW: So where do you like playing in New York?
Joel: We play mostly the Bowery venues. Usually it’s Manhattan: Mercury Lounge or the Bowery Ballroom. But we played Williamsburg Music Hall recently. And we just played on this tour at the Highline Ballroom last night.
PW: How’s that? I’ve never been there, either.
Joel: It’s cool. It’s kind of a cold vibe.
Bill: It was very cold.

Aynsley: The staff was cold. I mean, we were really late, so we didn’t get off to a good start with them.
Joel: That was our fault for being unpro.
Joel: They were like, ‘Everyone must be moving fast [snaps] and professionally!’ It wasn’t like, ‘Heeeey!’
Bill: They probably would’ve been a little more chill with us if we hadn’t been late.
Joel: The house manager was really nice. It was OK.
PW: I’ve read a lot that you guys call yourselves “hipsters without irony…”
All: We’ve NEVER called ourselves that! We would never, EVER.
PW: Really? I’ve read that so many times!
Bill: You would never, ever find any of us saying that.
PW: Yeah, I didn’t think that was right.
Joel: That’s some bullshit, recycled journalism, crappy blogger shit.

PW: I will NOT write that. I promise!
Joel: You can talk about how we hate that!
Bill: It’s total bullshit.
PW: Ha, really. One at a time! But, no, it doesn’t make sense, A) to be a hipster without irony and…
Joel: Yeah, we tend to not engage in that dialogue.
PW: Good. How’s the tour with VHS or Beta been?
Joel: It’s been awesome so far.
Bill: They’re the nicest fuckin’ dudes.
Joel: It’s the most important thing. They’re a great band; they totally bring it. But it’s more important that you’re touring with nice people.

Bill: Yeah, ‘cause we’re going to be with them for six weeks. They could be awesome but the biggest dickbags in the world. But they turned out to be really cool. It’s been really fun.
PW: So, not to knock VHS in any way, but if you guys could put together your own tour, who would you want to be on the road with?
Bill: Friends’ bands.
Joel: Friends’ bands…Well, it depends.
Anysley: You mean opening up for another band or…
PW: Either way. Having them open for you or who would you want to open for?
Anysley: MGMT.
Bill: MGMT would be fun. Our friend Will is now their drummer. He was
in the band Stylofone that we used to tour with and hang out with all the time at shows.
Joel: Probably one of our New York band friends who would be the most fun to tour with. Right now, anyways. But if we could put together some fancy tour, it would probably
be one of our major influences.
Bill: I’d love to tour with Phoenix or Daft Punk or something. That would be amazing.
Joel: I dunno how a reinvigorated Roxy Music would be, but that would be sick.
Bill: Supposedly, they’re recording that album but I haven’t heard rumors about that in a long time. They’ve sort of died. I wonder if that’s true.
Anysley: As far as people, us getting on some dream tour, we might never even talk to that band. Or they might be dickheads to us.
[All laugh]
PW: So what are you guys doing after this tour? When does it end?
Joel: Middle of May.
Bill: May 10th is the last date. We’re going home and we’ve got a bunch of n
ew material to refine. You don’t really get to work on new stuff when you’re on the road because you’re constantly playing shows. But we have a month and a half off where we started working on some new ideas, some of which are now in the set. We have a bunch of songs ideas that we’re gonna go back and finish from May to the end of June. Then in July we’re gonna start recording our full-length.
PW: Awesome. What are you guys listening to now, on the road or wherever?
Bill: I haven’t been listening to shit on this tour!
Joel: Everyone was asleep on the way here and I popped my friend Dan’s tape. Our friend Dan has a project called Magic Oneohtrix Point Never, and he’s in a band called Astronaut. He gave us one of his tapes. It’s dark and intensely futuristic but sounds like its from the past. As he said himself the other night at dinner, he’s made the Terminator 4, 5 and 6 soundtrack and no one’s given a fuck.
[All laugh]
Joel: …Except for him. So I was listening to that today.

Bill: He’s got all these projects…
Aynsley: Something Octagon?
Joel: Betrayed in the Octagon is the name of the tape.
Bill: It’s like Magic One …
Joel: Magic Oneohtricks Point Never.
Bill: It’s such a stoner name.

Joel: Anyone that’s reading this, check out Astronaut on MySpace. They’re badass.
Bill: What else have we been listening to?
Joel: A lot of weird world music! What is that, that Bulgarian…
Aynsley: Bulgarian women’s choir.
Bill: Yeah, this hasn’t been our rock and roll tour.
All: Not at all! Not at all!
Aynsley: Traditional Chinese.
Andrew: Traditional Chinese.
Joel: What about that Indian dude?
Andrew: Oh, some Ravi Shankar.
Joel: [laughs] ‘That Indian dude.’
Bill: That’s a really obscure, Indian guitarist.

[a mass amount of inaudible dialogue as everyone talks over each other]
PW: [laughing] I might need to send you this transcript before I post it so you can go, ‘Is that what I said?’
Joel: Actually, can you please do that?! When we did an interview once and someone recorded the audio, it just totally misquoted the shit out of it. It was really bad! There was a phone interview with somebody from Ithaca or something. A college kid who quoted me as saying my favorite song is Nevermind by Nirvana. I never said that. That’s not a song! It’s an album!
Bill: I got misquoted as saying, “Yeah, we don’t really like Hall & Oates. It’s not like they’re great artists.” I definitely did NOT say that.
Joel: ‘It’s not like they’re great artists.’ Come on!

PW: I promise to try not to do that! [laughs] That happened to me last week, though. I was talking to another band from Brooklyn, Violens
Joel: Oh, yeah! They’re awesome!
PW: I saw them last week and Jorge – Jorge is awesome – but it was phone interview and he was walking around outside after soundcheck and he kept dropping all these band names, but they turned out sounding different because it was crackly from the phone. So he was like, “Send that to me. I’m gonna fix it and give it back.”
Bill: Awesome.
Andrew: That band is really good. I like them.
PW: Oh, yeah. They put on such a good show. They played with Handsom
e Furs.
Bill: With who?
PW: Handsome Furs.

Bill: I thought you said “Hanson, first.”
Joel: Hanson, first. They were on before Hanson.
PW: Let’s start that rumor, though — that Violens plays with Hanson.
Bill: They’re the backing band for the Hanson brothers.
PW: Supposedly they’re legit now.
Bill: Hanson!? I’ve heard that, too.
Andrew: They’re deeper, more mature.
Bill: Dude, that’s gotta be so tough!
PW: I think they went the way of The Cardigans, where they started out poppy and trying to be mainstream, and now they’re, like, awesome.
Andrew: Silverchair did the same thing.

Joel: That one Cardigans album is sick!
Bill: The first two Cardigans albums.
Aynsley: New Cardigans is awesome.
PW: Yeah! I mean, I still love “Lovefool” but [laughs] but the newer stuff if really good.
Bill: The new stuff is good?
Joel: I’m down with that album, the breakout…
Andrew: I’ve gotta check out The Cardigans.

We talked more and Joel mentioned that Tigercity was just signed to a label that will be distro-ing their stuff in Canada, England, Ireland, and some other foreign countries, so dear international readers: be on the look out for Tigercity records!

more @ flickr

I’m sure that you can tell from what you’ve just read, that the Tigercity foursome are not only super rad, but hilarious! After we got to talk, I caught the band’s totally tight and super high-energy set. They’re on tour with VHS or Beta through May 10th, so get out to a show and shake it to the sweet stylings of Tigercity.

Tigercity: myspace | tour dates

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