It has been eight years or so since Tiger Army was last in the country and they are returning for a short run of shows down the east coast this week. Armed with a relatively new album V…- Nick 13 assures us that the tour will be a good representation of the whole back catalogue. Nick 13 spoke to Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles about the long period between albums, getting the inspiration back and now returning to worldwide touring.
Looking forward to heading down to Australia in a couple of weeks?
Yeah, definitely looking forward to it.
Has 2017 been good to you so far?
So far so good!
Is the Australian tour mostly going to be focused on V…-?
I would say that it would be a pretty good representation of our whole catalogue. Certainly we will be playing some new songs but I would expect to hear songs off of most if not all our records.
Are there plans to come back at a later stage and tour the rest of Australia?
Not at this time but you never know. It has been eight years since we have been there at all so we’ll see how it goes.
Have the Fireballs and Pat Capocci opening is a huge plus?
Yeah, I think it is a really strong bill and will be a great time.
Ten years between albums did you at any point lose faith that there might not be a finished album? Were there a few rough patches along the way?
It’s funny you know, the album was made over the better part of a year, like February to September so it definitely felt like in the studio it felt like at times it would never be done. As far as what took so long in between was there was a solo album I did in between, which unfortunately I got to tour in the States, but a big part of it was finding the inspiration of what the next step would be and where to take it the music. Once I found that it came together fairly quickly.
Where do you go searching for that inspiration?
It can be from conversations, friends who have creative insight or musicians, artists themselves. It is checking out things constantly, reading and researching things that interest me, many of which relate to music. I’m always in the middle an autobiography, listening to old records and seeing live bands is part of it. Checking out as much as I can always inspires me to particularly when it is a good show to go home and pick up the guitar and write a song. In the case of this album there was a writing trip that I took when I drove around the American south-west, Arizona and Mexico for a couple of weeks. That really jogged things for this album.
What is it about the surrounds that got the creative process going? Do you think you could have achieved the same result staying home?
There are a lot of things that have to do with daily life that keep you away from creativity. It is easy to get caught up in errands or a million things that keep your head out of that creative space. The phone starts ringing and you have to take care of this or that. I think there was a real benefit in getting away from everything. In my case I find the desert pretty inspirational and the architectural and the things you run across in those States are pretty sparse so you can drive for miles and miles through the desert scenery, pull over on the side of the road if you feel like it and play guitar for a bit without anybody coming by bothering you. I think getting away from daily life was part of that then there was something about the scenery and the landscape and the things I ran across that inspired me as well.
You mentioned about how autobiographies you read and how your albums come about. Is that the basis for your own autobiography?
I can’t say that it has crossed my mind but that is something for much further down the road. The things that I think about are what’s next, what’s the next song, next album or next tour. We have quite a bit of touring coming up this year and we were on the road for pretty much of all of last year. I would rather put that time in to touring, writing a new record or recording but certainly down the road that could change.
Does the fan reactions really please you and refuels that creative desire?
Yeah, it has been great to put this record out especially after eight or nine years gone by and to see people out there still remember us, still care, still look forward to the music. There are still people discovering the band every day then there are people who have been with us for five, ten or fifteen years even that are still supporting. It makes me feel a deep appreciation that you can only feel over time when you can see the scope of how long people have stayed with you.
Is there a hidden meaning the album title V…-?
I would say that it is symbolic in two senses. The first is that the V is the Roman numeral for five, the fifth record. The three dots and a dash that is Morse code and something the allies used in the World War II for propaganda for encouragement meaning victory. There were a lot of obstacles to overcome to create and get this record written and then to get it made. It is symbolic in that sense and achieving the goal of creating something new and coming back.
Does the current climate of releasing music come in to your thought process?
For me, there was never any question that it was going to get made but a question of how. All the factors you have mentioned have made it more difficult to make a record. We are fortunate that our label Rise Records believes in what we are doing and supports it and that we are able to make a record the old fashion way. It is something that is harder to do for a lot of people in a day and age when people just don’t buy records any more.
Are you proud to look back at over twenty years with the band? Is there any official celebration?
I doesn’t see like it has been that long to me, I don’t feel like it has been that long. I think for me at this point in my life I’m not too interested in looking backwards. It would be a natural thing to do so at such a point. Making the latest record and feeling like it is a step forward and being proud of it, we did some looking back every year Octoberflame Festival in southern California. It can be anywhere from two to five nights depending on the year and there were times where we played certain records or focused on earlier times in the band.
After we finished the two year cycle for the previous Tiger Army album some years that was the only time we were playing doing that. I felt that I wanted to make a new record that would be the return to worldwide touring and maybe it because we were doing that I had enough of looking backwards. I’m excited about the future, I’m excited about writing a new record at some point. How long that will take is another question but it is an exciting new era for the band and everything feels energised, live, touring, we’re excited to play. Even add a few new songs to the set makes it feel fresh again. I guess I would rather look forward at this point in time.
Interview by Rob Lyon
Friday 17 February – Prince Bandroom, Melbourne 18+
Saturday 18 February – Metro Theatre, Sydney 18+
Sunday 19 February – Max Watts, Brisbane 18+
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