We caught Australian group Tigertown on their first trip to NYC during the CMJ Music Festival last month when the band stopped by NYU's studio to record their single "What You Came Here For" with the student-run label, Village Records, who every semester chooses one band to help promote and break into the music industry. This year, the label chose Tigertown and we were able to sit down with husband and wife Chris and Charlie who discussed the conveniences of being in a family band (that includes Chris's siblings Alexi and Elodie and Charlie's brother Kurt), what's changed on their latest EP Wandering Eyes, and how excited they are to be in New York.
- Hey, I am Charlie. - And my name's Chris. realized that the songs that we started writing together were sort of in the same place, and so, we got married and made a little EP at home and that started Tiger Town, and um and we're doing it. We have Charlie's brother, and-- any time we needed someone to help us out on stage, it ended up being another sibling, so now, we're just all family. Yea. in a family band. staying in Brooklyn, and we all stayed in a little bedroom with one bed, and it's, it worked out. We made it work. It was fine. - We have little arguments, but it's like brother and sister, husband and wife arguments, and then, you just get over it. It's like, "Alright, let's get dinner. I'm I'm hungry. Let's get over this. - Today is not what you make except what you came here for Bring me down on my knees With these eyes I will see what was spoken before - Very lucky that we were asked to come and record a song with the guys from NYU in their beautiful studio. We've made records in bedrooms and houses and dirty studios, and this is very clean, very clean. We're recording a song that is our first single from the EP in Australia, and it's called 'What You Came Here For'. We sort of went into the studio originally with it sounding pretty different and fell in love with some old synthesizer, and it turned out pretty different. We're so excited today to have the chance to all plug in and play live together. It feels a bit old fashioned and just real. Feels different to doing it in a University. - We're going to school today. - We're in school. If we run away from what you say Is that what you came here for? Peace is the way, it's not what you make. Is that what you came here for? If we run away, from what you say, Is that what you came here for? Peace is the way, it's not what you make. Is that what you came here for? - A little less wild life in this studio then in the last place we recorded. jungle to the mountains of New South Wales. It's probably more wild out here. around like crazy. Everything we see is like a movie to us. and a doughnut everyday, I don't care what happens. any other recording experience, but we're excited to, to do it. We're excited to jump in and press the red button today, We're aiming for the dream of like story telling that makes you dance.
The story of Tigertown doesn't play out like any other ordinary band. They weren't high school friends who bonded over the love of music and started covering their favourite punk tunes in their parents' garage, nor did they meet in the club over a glow stick and a love of beats. Instead, the bond these five musicians share runs much deeper than most, for they don't shake each other off at the end of a tour and head into a focused slumber with their respective loved ones. These five are family try to keep up co-lead vocalist Charlie and drummer Kurt are siblings as are co-lead vocalist Chris, bassist Elodie and key-player Alexi, but bringing the families together is the marriage between the united front of Chris and Charlie.
It's safe to say this marriage of songwriters is the main catalyst within Tigertown. When Chris and Charlie first showed each other initial tracks of what would eventually become their debut, self-titled EP, it was perfectly evident especially in songs like the effervescent 'Go Now' that this was going to quickly become a life-long love affair in music. Initial sessions, with the two families combining forces, naturally occurred and Tigertown, by name and nature, was born. A second EP Before the Morning quickly followed and spawned two singles, 'Lions & Witches' and the beloved radio-hit 'Morning Has Finally Come', extending the songwriters' muscle even further than before.
Together, the five were exploring the vast hinterland of shimmering, alternative and perfectly-executed pop unlike anything that was happening within the Australian music community. But it's clear, even by the band's own admission, that this familial bond is more present and stronger than ever on their third EP Wandering Eyes.
How is this even possible? Well, to get a firm grasp of this, you'd need to start with how Tigertown recorded Wandering Eyes. Firstly, they decamped to a private and humble getaway at the foot of the Blue Mountains where they tracked shoulder to shoulder the base of all five songs, very quickly, with AMP award-winning producer Liam Judson (Belles Will Ring, Cloud Control). The peaceful seclusion of their environment effortlessly placed them in the right headspace to attempt things they normally wouldn't, for example, they'd find themselves harmonising around the one microphone, rather than capturing each voice individually. From there, additional production was taken to Melbourne to the ubiquitous Steve Schram (San Cisco, Little Birdy, Little Red) who "added the lace" and brought the songs all the way to what you hear on the finished product.
The writing of the Wandering Eyes EP is a collaborative achievement of Chris and Charlie in its purest sense. Its lyrical themes traverse a range of worldly topics and influences, a trend of becoming more and more imaginative which began on Before the Morning and has encompassed Wandering Eyes entirely. Within these five songs, Tigertown certainly don't lean on the usual subjects tried and true there's a tale about a cowboy meeting a girl in a desert and a story of a woman who talks to her dead husband. Meanwhile, they've claimed ownership of their sonic-palette completely first single 'What You Came Here For' proves, once again, a dexterity for penning a radio hit one that unravels beautifully with each repeated listen while future-favourite 'Back In Time' and opulent opener 'Weary Eyes' both flaunt their world now a band trademark of dreampop, lavish harmonies and impeccably executed musicianship.
"It's pretty amazing!" Charlie confesses of not only being in a band with her husband and two tight-knit families, but also just how far they've come in a short two and a half years. "Of course we have fights but then we make up ten minutes later. But yes, it's hard to imagine a band being any other way now I wouldn't trade any of this for anything else."