Tigercub: Pandemics, Production & Podcasts
Brighton-based alternative band Tigercub's highly-anticipated second album As Blue As Indigo is due to drop on 18th June. Kerrang! has declared that with the record "Tigercub brilliantly redefines who and what they are… a rebirth of a maverick rock’n’roll poet." The album was written and produced by lead singer Jamie Stephen Hall over the course of two years, engineered and co-produced by Adrian Bushby (Foo Fighters, Muse).
On the eve of the album release, we caught up with Jamie to talk us through writing during a pandemic, self-releasing and co-producing his records and somehow finding the time to run a popular podcast amidst it all.
TM: How have you managed to write and produce an album in the thick of lockdown and a worldwide pandemic? What has been your writing process?
"I love writing songs, it’s something that's always come quite naturally to me and it's something that I always do, no matter what. So at any one time, I've always got maybe 10 to 15 tracks that I'm working on, just 'cause I love it. It's therapeutic for me, so there's always material being knocked around. But this latest record As Blue As Indigo took a little bit longer for us to get to the recording stage because of different reasons, like getting our record deals in order and the resources so that we could make it properly.
And then on the first day of tracking that was when Boris announced the lockdown, so we had to stay in the studio for two weeks, in a bubble... It was just really intense, high pressure, on top of each other, quite an immersive experience and I think that shows in some of the performances. It does feel like that gave a bit of energy to it, when I hear it at least."
TM: That sound very intense! But we can’t wait to hear what you've produced. I guess you’re hoping you’ll soon be playing the songs to a live audience?
"That’s it, we've recently announced a tour that starts in November and ends in the middle of December.
We’re gonna be goin’ around the UK and just having a party, having a massive party!"
TM: Sounds like a lot of fun! What do you love most about being on tour?
"When you’re on tour man, it’s like you’re a pirate or something... everyone bands together in the unit and it just feels like you’re kind of just a gang, going around with a law unto ourselves. It’s a really nice, free feeling.
And I love being at the merch desk, hanging out with people that are like-minded to you where we all like the same bands. Sometimes it's the best bit, having pints and throwing a party. I think that's what I'm looking forward to most!"
TM: Yes, we definitely need a party after the year we’ve had! So in terms of putting the album together, how much have you been involved with the writing and the production? Did you do a lot of the production yourself?
"We worked with an engineer and producer called Adrian Bushby who's made some great records with Foo Fighters and Muse. I produced it, but he had co-production on it as well. We had an open conversation about different versions of tracks and which would be best to use for the record.
I downloaded all the tracks beforehand, with the broad stroke direction I wanted and the parameters for the vision I had for the record. Adrian helped facilitate it with me in the studio and used his knowledge and experience to convert my ideas into something tangible. He’d be like “oh yeah I see what you’re going for, let's try this technique."
TM: Did you find it helpful working with producers who have worked with bands you’ve been influenced by?
"Yeah exactly, it helps to match up the right producer with the right band. Usually, those producers want to work with bands like Tigercub ‘cause it is kind of in their wheelhouse. Adrian actually reached out to Tigercub on Facebook because he liked the band. We were like, “oh, alright then - let's definitely make that happen!”.
Then we got the album mixed by a chap called Tom Dalgety (Pixies, Royal Blood) who's been a friend of ours for years and he's done a lot of like brilliant records and works with the absolute crème de la crème of the rock music bands. He's wicked and he mixed the record as well, so it's flanked by rock royalty!"
TM: I believe you’re releasing the album through your own label BLAME Recordings. How does it feel to release everything on your own?
"Yeah, me and my partner Griff started the label that goes through Sony/Orchard and we’re loving it at the minute. It’s more work, but I think ultimately it's more rewarding to have a mechanism where eventually I can just put everything out on BLAME.
We’ll have a more direct way of getting music out and finding resources to market it properly, rather than after rounds of fundraising every six months."
TM: You’ve been doing a podcast as well as everything else! How have you found the time and how did you get into it?
"It is so, so stressful. I can't do this week’s show because I’m going to America on Wednesday to do another record, but I love doing it! It's so much work ‘cause not only am I hosting it, but I'm also doing all of the production in the programme. I build the show and write stupid little theme tunes and jingles, which is quite time-consuming. Saying that, it's very fan-driven; I put out Instagram stories asking people to say stupid stuff to me so I read that into the mic and before I know it I've come to and I’ve been talking for 30 minutes. It’s always really stressful when Thursday comes around and I'm in Logic thinking “Oh God I've gotta finish this, I’ve gotta finish this!"
But, I think it's such a wicked way of communicating and interacting directly with people that like the band. It’s as much their show as it is mine because I read out all of their funny ideas and they leave me voicemails. I think it gives people a reason to come back to Tigercub too. We’ve had such a long release schedule; six months is quite a lot of time to fill so having the podcast just gives me a chance to keep people coming back to us without getting too spammy.
People just call in and ask me questions this one guy was like "oh, I'm 21 and receding" so I gave him my terrible advice: Just grow a mullet, man!"
TM: How’s the response been to the singles you’ve put out so far?
"I think it's been good! It feels like everyone who already liked Tigercub has come back to the band and is going “oh yes, this is great” so I don't think it's disappointed anyone. But we’ve come back with a less grungy sound, more straight-down-the-line rock n’ roll, making rock records. It still has cool shoegazey post-rock Mogwai elements and subversive moments on the record but for the most part, it is just like a guitar rock record. And I think it's brilliant, of course.
It feels like the band has started to grow exponentially, reaching people in America and more through Spotify. It's wild to see it grow!"