THE SCREAMiNG JETS
|ROCKWiRED iNTERViEWS TiGRE
GO YOUR OWN WAYAfter one listen to 'APT TAFT', the curiously titled, self-produced E.P. from Nigerian-born songwriter TIGRE, it's easy to hear that this woman goes for atmosphere when recording. Recorded in her living room with an acoustic guitar, an upright bass and slap dash percussion, TIGRE's odes ot 'keeping on keeping on' and love gone right resonate without the assist of PRO-TOOLS. "I just wanted to do something different." says TIGRE "I wanted to keep it simple. To be honest with you, I picked up this MUDDY WATERS record that was done in 1947 and I noticed how simple the recording was. You could hear things in the background. You could hear someone dropping something and I wanted to do a record just like that."
TiGRE TALKS TO ROCKWiRED
ABOUT HER DEBUT E.P. APT TAFT
CAPTURiNG A MOMENT
AND BEiNG RAW
iNTERViEWED BY BRiAN LUSH
ROCKWIRED spoke with TIGRE over the phone. Here is how it went.
In reading the e-mails that were carbon copied to me by your publicist, I gather that youíre in a show at the moment.
I am. Actually Iím in rehearsal for the show. Itís a Broadway show called CIRCUS EARTH. We have an eight week run which is going to start on June 18th. Right now weíve been having rehearsals almost every day.
With your E.P. ĎAPT TAFTí out for everyone to hear, how do you feel about it?
I feel really good about it. I decided to do a recording that I would produce myself without the influence of a producer. This CD is my true expression. This is me and this is what I do. Whenever I play out, I usually do acoustic shows or I play out with a trio which consists of a stand up bass and percussion. I play the acoustic guitar and the sound is very raw. I didnít want to go into the studio pretending to be something else. I just wanted to capture the sound I make whenever I play out.
The recording has a curious title. What does it mean?
I recorded the CD in my apartment. I live on Taft Avenue in Hollywood. Itís essentially an homage to my apartment.
I figured it was an address. I just wanted to make sure.
Where do you hail from originally?
I was born in Boston but I grew up in Nigeria.
How did music present itself to you?
My parents always had amazing records which I listened to in Nigeria. My parents had lived in the States for years and then they had moved back home and when they did, they did so with all of these American records. I think that is why I like such raw music because my parents had records by people like DOLLY PARTON to STEVIE WONDER to BOB MARLEY and ABBA. They had all of these different records and I just listened to them. The funny thing is that no one in my family sings so I have no idea where I got the whole Ďsingingí thing from, but Iíve always had a love for music. I guess it came from that.
And from this wide range of music that your parents had, was there a particular artist that stood out for you the most?
As I grew up, I started to discover certain things on my own. I loved ELLA FITZGERALD. She had such a beautiful voice . I love jazz, but I also love rock. The first person that I fell in love with was STEVE TYLER of AEROSMITH. I heard that song ĎDREAM ONí and fell in love. When I came back to the States, I didnít know much about rock music, but I heard that song and really loved it. From there, I started listening to LED ZEPPELIN and moved on from there. COLDPLAY came out with that album ĎPARACHUTESí and I just fell in love with it. That record actually changed my life. Up until then I had always joined someoneís band or sang on someoneís project, but when I heard ĎPARACHUTESí, I knew I wanted to do my own record because I knew that CHRIS MARTIN sat in the dark and wrote down his emotions and poured everything out. That record changed my life.
So it was ĎPARACHUTESí that changed you from a listener into a singer-songwriter?
I had always written with other people but as far as becoming a solo artist, that was the record that did it for me. After that record, I had figured that I had better learn to play this guitar and get out on my own. That was really what did it.
What were some of these other musical projects you worked on before going your own way.
I had done some studio stuff just by answering ads and going on auditions. I had worked with a couple of groups that never really became big or anything. It was everything from R&B groups to rock bands. I sang in two rock bands out here and we played all around town. The last band that I was in was called ENGINE ANIMAL PEOPLE and we were really good. It was kind of like a cross between ZEPPELIN and THE RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS or something. It was such an amazing band. When I left that band I went to THE MUSICIANíS INSTITUTE in 2003. It was there that I learned to play on my own as a musician. It was time for me to do something different.
Explain how the songwriting process works for you?
Itís a beautiful thing. I get inspired by so many different things. Sometimes when I write a song Iíll start with lyrics and a melody and then Iíll try to find the chords that go with it. Sometimes, Iíll write the music and then write the lyrics to it. Then there are times when I think Ďto hell with chords and stuff!í and get inspired by different sounds. Iíll bang on one note and then another note and it creates a percussive kind of thing and I move on from there. It comes in different ways. Sometimes, Iíll wake up in the morning and Iíll start humming something. Itís a different process all of the time. Itís never the same. I like working that way because the songs never sound the same. If I try to write in the same way, then I feel as if I am plagiarizing myself.
Although recording is only five songs long, youíve got some interesting moments on it. ĎGO ONí is an interesting opening track.
That song is a celebration song. I realize that a lot of times when I write, I am either trying to comfort myself or console my spirit. ĎGO ONí is a celebration song. Itís basically saying that whatever you believe in, go on and do it. I donít know if youíve noticed but my songs are very simple. They are short and sweet and they are what they are.
How about ĎREVOLUTIONí?
Ah ĎREVOLUTIONí! With that song, I think I actually became the voice of the people. I figured that this country is in a new state politically speaking. With everything going on, it was as if everyone had just woken up. The revolutionary spirit is on the streets. In the song I say ĎWeíre all awake now!í In talking to people, it seems like everyone wants to participate and be a part of the change that is happening. The song is about stepping up and not merely accepting what youíve been given. Itís about going out there and making a change and not sitting back and doing as you are told.
ĎTHIS THING CALLED LOVEí
That is a beautiful song. It is a song about being in love and how you get captured. You become enslaved by love and doing things that you never thought you would do. If youíve ever been in love, you know what I mean.
The instrumentation on the recording is pretty sparse and it goes hand-in-hand with what you were saying earlier about playing these songs out with a trio for live shows. There is you on acoustic guitar and someone playing stand-up bass and percussion. Talk about the other two musicians on this album and what you think each of them brought to the table.
On this record, I did not recruit a drummer. I had a drummer but I thought that she was too busy. My friend TOM LIVEMORE - who also engineered the album for me Ė he and I did the percussion on this album. The bass player PRESTON ĎSTONEí MAYS is amazing. He plays with me at all of my shows and for this album, we did what we usually do when we play out. We set up all of the equipment in the living room and we just played. We had two microphones and we just played everything.
Had you ever produced anything before this CD?
No. Iíve worked with different producers before and figured that for this project, I wanted it to just be me. When I write a song I write it acoustically. Itís simple. These are the kind of songs that I like. When Iíve worked with a producer, I had realized that the song would become this Ďthingí. You could get lost in it. I had realized that the songs could become over-produced. There would be too much going on. I just wanted to do something different. I wanted to keep it simple. To be honest with you, I picked up this MUDDY WATERS record that was done in 1947 and I noticed how simple the recording was. You could hear things in the background. You could hear someone dropping something and I wanted to do record just like that. I like a band like THE WHITE STRIPES for that very same reason. Their records are very simple and you hear things going on that arenít perfect yet itís a good record. That was why I insisted on producing this record myself.
Are there any plans for a longer work from you?
Oh yeah. ĎCIRCUS EARTHí will be over in August and Iíll start writing new stuff. Iím hoping to be on an indie label very soon and work a full length album. I would really love to go on the road and promote the music.
If you ever get on the road, who would you like to be on the road with?
AMOS LEE. Absolutely! That was another man that changed my life. I saw him play at the MUSIC BOX last year and his voice just killed me. I just died when I heard him. Everyone in the audience was singing every song that he played. It was so amazing. He changed my life.
What would you like a person to come away with after they heard this CD?
Love. That is where I come from. I come from a place of love. I do this because this all I know how to do and I just pour my heart out there every time.