Indieterria meets Tiger Mimic

Dear Readers,

There are many bands on the indie circuit:  the cool ones, the mysterious ones, the ones you like. And then there are bands that you simply love from the first note. It`s so good to be a music obsessive – as Steve Lamacq says – you can fall in love at least twice a week! So yeah – here we go again being head over heels with a new band. They are Tiger Mimic, they are based in London and they will headline Vandian Avenue first showcase on April 27th at the iconic Nambucca.

We cannot tell you how excited we are and how grateful too. We sat down with Jess Rhodes  of Tiger Mimic to speak to her about the band history, their excellent debut EP and even video games.

This is the band you need to know. No excuses!

 

Tiger Mimic Logo

Official bio: Tiger Mimic is a London-based band with a sound that ranges from bitcrushed anthems to sinister bass grooves to rapid-fire rock poetry and more. Their debut EP, “Elephant Skeleton”, was recorded with Grammy Award winning producer Matt Lawrence at London’s Livingston Studio. Released in January 2019, its five songs showcase their diverse range of styles and influences.

Tiger Mimic:
Jess Rhodes  (vox, synth)
Bram Johnson  (guitar,  vox)
Ben Willis  (bass, vox)
George Latham  (drums)

You named the band after a butterfly that mimics appearance of its poisonous cousin, but you are one of the most original bands we have heard this year. Please introduce yourselves to the readers of Indieterria.

Jess Rhodes: Ah, thank you so much. That’s a very kind thing to say. We’re Tiger Mimic, we’re based in London, and usually we say we’re an “indie rock” band just to keep it simple, but we do have a lot of different influences. Jess sings and plays synth, Bram sings and plays guitar, Ben plays bass and sings back-up, and George plays drums.

You may have just released your debut EP, but the band has quite a history – including a relocation to another continent. Jess and Bram started out their respective projects while living and working in NYC. They met Ben and George after coming to London. Do you think that having musicians from both sides of the Pond helped to forge your unique sound?

Jess Rhodes: I was actually born and grew up (mainly) in Europe! I was exposed to music from every genre. My mom loved Arabic and Kurdish music (I didn’t really) but sometimes people tell me my melodies have a middle-eastern tinge to them, so it’s funny how you can get influenced by what you get exposed to growing up.

Moving from NYC to London was the best decision ever, and the fact that we met Ben & George was crazy lucky. We all have diverse influences and grew up listening to so many different things, but there is also a lot of overlap, so it’s hard to say how much effect geography had. Each member brings their own style to the band, though, and it has definitely given us a sense that nothing is off limits when it comes to writing songs.

Tiger Mimic – photo by Alan Wells
https://www.facebook.com/thealanwells/

When preparing to this interview we have found information that Jess is classically trained operatic singer. Can we confirm if this is true? We interviewed some amazing and unique artists on the blog but a soprano with a degree from Italian music conservatoire would be a first!

Jess Rhodes: I was indeed classically trained. I studied with amazing teachers in Paris, Italy, and NYC. I actually only did 6 months in Milan, and then decided to move to NY. I then went a different route and studied theatre. I love singing opera, I haven’t practiced in a while, but it’s something I really enjoy singing at times. However, I didn’t have a deep passion for it, and if you’re not 100% dedicated, you can forget about it. I wanted to write my own songs, and so I did. Once you’re trained to sing a certain way, it’s actually quite hard to break that, and so I really struggled to find my voice for a while. I always felt I needed to be as loud as when I sung opera, and then I realised I really didn’t.

Your EP “Elephant Skeleton” was released in January 2019. For this record you worked with Matt Lawrence, Grammy winning producer known for helping Adele. The story is that after hearing your demos Matt wanted to work with you and most of the material was written in his studio. Were you scared to collaborate with such a big calibre name?

Jess Rhodes: We were a little anxious before meeting him that we wouldn’t be a huge priority for someone with a CV like his, but he put that to bed immediately. It was amazing to work with him! He’s such a nice, talented, humble person. We actually didn’t write much in the studio, though, most of the songs had been written in NY and Paris right before coming to London. There were a few little flourishes and lyric tweaks and things like that, but the songs were pretty fully fleshed out when we went in.

Matt did give us some great guidance in rehearsals before heading into the studio, but he always posed it as a question, such as “Well, would this song be better if you added a bridge?”, or “What would it sound like if this part had a slightly different groove?”

One of the things we really appreciated was that he liked the music and didn’t want to change what we were already doing, but he would put forward these questions that made us consider whether we had explored all the possibilities with a given song. It was good to be challenged like that and I think we came out of that process with a much more critical ear for our work.

The future looks bright – photo by Alan Wells
https://www.facebook.com/thealanwells/

The EP is promoted by two singles – “Don’t Cover Up My Eyes” and the title track. We want to ask you about the video to “Elephant Skeleton”. It shows a 8 bit point and shoot game where an animal tries to recover his bones while the band members serve as evil bosses. Where did you get the idea from and who directed it. Also – will there be a continuation?

Jess Rhodes: The video game idea started sort of accidentally. Bram made a really short video of a dandelion seed floating over some hills just as a short promotional video teaser for Elephant Skeleton and it had that sort of lo-fi, video game look to it. We started talking about turning it into a full length idea and that’s when we decided to make the story about the elephants.

After one night of goofy brainstorming, we drew a little storyboard and then Bram put the whole thing together. He’s not trained in animation, so it was a huge learning curve and took quite a while, but it was fun watching it come together bit by bit. We sometimes think about cooking up a sequel video, but Bram is still a little traumatised from staring at a computer screen for months, so it’ll have to be for a future song.

The band just played first major festival – Cro Cro Land, taking to the stage next to such established acts as Bang Bang Romeo and The Lovely Eggs. We imagine it must have been a lot of fun and a lot of nerves in equal measure. Did you like it?

Jess Rhodes: Oh my God. It was the most incredible day ever. We would’ve gone to Cro Cro even if we hadn’t been invited to play, because the lineup was absolutely sick. I can usually get quite nervous before a gig, and although that was our biggest gig, I wasn’t as stressed as I thought I’d be! Maybe it’s because there was such a huge supportive community feeling going on the whole day!

Bram, on the other hand, had non-stop nightmares the night before about getting bumped from the show or something else going wrong, so it was a huge relief for him when we actually walked out on stage. Seriously, though, everyone involved was incredible. Angela Martin, Julia Woollams, the bands, journalists, photographers, event staff, engineers (sound and light), just everyone was so wonderful.

Your music has been described as a mix of guitar based indie, ska and 1960s pop bands. But outside how the music critics see you – do you have your own term for your sound?

Jess Rhodes: It’s like you say, we get a lot of different reactions to our sound, so we actually struggle a bit to settle on a genre when people ask. Indie Rock has been our go-to, since it’s a fairly broad category, but a lot of people have really specific (and sometimes angry) opinions about what Indie Rock actually is, so we have yet to find a term that satisfies everyone. Any ideas?

Poster for Nambucca headline gig

Tiger Mimic will headline iconic London venue Nambucca on 27th April – what can we expect from your live shows?

Jess Rhodes: Oh man, we can’t wait! We’ll be playing with the awesome Lower Loveday and Memes, and we already know it’s gonna be a great night! Nambucca is a really great venue, too, and we’re so happy to play there again.  Our live show has a lot of dynamic shifts, trading vocal parts, harmonies, and riffs. One thing we’ve always appreciated hearing after a show is that each song sounds completely different from each other, but they all still sound like us. That’s about as cool of a compliment as we could hope for.

We want to ask you about the story behind your song “I Took Off My Body”. It is probably the saddest song on the EP lyrics wise. At points it feels traumatic especially in the age of Me Too movement.

Jess Rhodes:  I Took Off My Body was actually written a few days before we went in to record it. Bram had this really cool instrumental guitar part and was playing it for fun, and I just started improvising over it and insisted we take it to the studio. It tells the story of someone removing the many layers of their body in an effort to find themselves inside (waiting in the dark, waiting for a light).

It’s a reflection on the world’s tendency to make judgements with their eyes, while ignoring whoever is inside that body. It is definitely a problem that’s been going on for a long time. It’s really sad that we live in a world where we have to be on our guards at all times.

For instance, I went to a gig a few days ago and a man kept bothering me, so I moved to the other side, and talked about it to a friend who was there too. Turned out he had also touched her and another woman inappropriately. So in the span of 5 minutes, he managed to make 3 (or more) women feel extremely uncomfortable. He was just seen by everyone else as the “annoying drunk guy” but his behaviour should be seen for what it is: completely unacceptable and absolutely disgusting. The Me Too movement is incredible, I think it shows just how powerful victims can actually be when they get together, and also shows how there should be no stigma or shame around the word “victim”. The only people who should feel shame are the perpetrators, harassers, and abusers.

Tiger Mimic are ready to take over – photo by Alan Wells
https://www.facebook.com/thealanwells/

In one year you have accomplished more than many bands in their whole life span: working with top producers, releasing EP, playing festivals. What else have you got planned for 2019 and beyond?

Jess Rhodes: Aw, that’s nice of you to say. We definitely try to work as hard as we can on this, it’s our dream and the main reason we came over to London. We’ve been lucky to connect with a lot of awesome people, there are so many unsung heroes around town who are so supportive of the scene and that’s been incredible.

As for 2019, we’re heading down to Brighton for the first time in May for the Brighton Mix-Up festival, which is super exciting. We’re hoping to get back in the studio in May too, if we can swing it, we have a lot of new songs ready to go. After that we’ll see what comes up. There are a few exciting rumours floating around, but nothing we can share yet, so hopefully we’ll have some big announcements soon.

Last question – if Tiger Mimic could become characters in a video game what title would it be? Final Fantasy? Tomb Raider? Mortal Kombat or would you have your own title. You can pick any game.

Hmmm… aside from the Elephant Skeleton video, in which we’ve already been game-ified, here are some nerdy answers for you:

Ben Willis: I’d be Commander Shepard from Mass Effect. I still remember my first inter-species love affair with fondness.

Bram Johnson: I’d be Manny Calavera from Grim Fandango. He’s a grim reaper in a crime noir version of the Mexican Land Of The Dead who spends years going to any lengths trying to save a soul that was cheated out of their rightful afterlife. I always liked that he was a regular guy, no bulging muscles or guns or anything, just tenacity.

Jess Rhodes: I’d be Sindel from Mortal Kombat. I’d love to be able to kick ass just by whipping my hair!

George couldn’t be reached for comment, but we’ll ask him next time we rehearse. Important information to know.

We absolute love Tiger Mimic. They are one in a million.

You can follow the band on socials:

https://www.tigermimic.com/
https://www.facebook.com/tigermimicband/
https://www.instagram.com/tiger.mimic
https://twitter.com/TigerMimic
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7qT0D9stk05ym53ziRGwzg
https://soundcloud.com/tigermimic
https://open.spotify.com/artist/296hyITffv9hw30ypToBi7?si=Khrq4iL0RT6Rbm2Bf0426g

You can purchase the EP “Elephant Skeleton” at the link below:

http://www.smarturl.it/tigermimic

If you fancy a bit of extra reading – here are some fantastic articles about the band from other independent blogs:

https://www.musicmusingsandsuch.com/musicmusingsandsuch/2018/9/16/interview-tiger-mimic
https://gigradar.co.uk/introducing-tiger-mimic/
https://www.croydonist.co.uk/tiger-mimic/
https://thegirlsattherockshow.com/song-of-the-day-tiger-mimic-dont-cover-up-my-eyes/

Tiger Mimic will headline the Nambucca on April 27th in London. The entry is free. You can find the info for the event on socials:

https://www.facebook.com/events/658720734568060/

We hope you enjoyed this little blog. We will be back
M/R

Indieterria meets The Racket

Hello, hello!

Band`s logo

We always say that the time goes really fast when you are having fun and it is true. So many gigs, so many outings, open air mic nights and  it is almost the end of May! But the most exciting months are still head of us.

The next big date in our rock and roll diary is the 9th of June when we will be going back to the beautiful Sunflower Lounge to see the newest indie rock sensation, The Racket. The quartet is now on their headlining national tour and they decided to pop into the legendary Brum venue to show the West Midland folk how to play, fast, powerful songs and how to thoroughly enjoy the experience. The gig is brought on by the amazing crew at Modern Age Music and we cannot wait to step into the mosh pit.

If you are interested in purchasing tickets for the Birmingham show, please click on the link below:
https://www.facebook.com/events/216304582300587/

Poster for The Racket gig on 9th July 2018 at the Sunflower Lounge

To prepare well for this musical feast, we sat down with the band to ask them several questions, from their early days in their hometown of Widnes, to musical inspirations, their newest single and some of the rock and roll antics that will definitely go down well into the  history of  modern music. The interview is one of the longest we did and we had a real blast. Thank you The Racket and hope you had as much fun answering these question as we had asking them and putting them on here!

The Racket – social media profile picture

Callum Codd
Mike White
Dom Eaton
Colby O’Sullivan

Official bio: The Racket is an alternative rock four-piece from Widnes that receives more and more attention on an independent music scene. The band have played their own headline sold out shows at Liverpools Zanzibar Club and Manchester’s Night and Day. They completed their first UK tour in 2017 supporting Louis Berry on numerous dates up and down the country then topped off with a hometown gig with Trampolene. Such creativity, melded with high energy enthusiasm, has been rewarded by them being listed by This Feeling as one of the big in 2018 bands. Their trajectory is steep and they are building momentum with every lager stained, sweat drenched show – and that’s just the front row. Having recently finished recording with Al Groves in the Motor Museum, the second release is finished and will be coming out later this year to coincide with their first music video. The band is currently on headline national tour with several summer festivals booked in including Great Escape, Confessional and On The Hill Festival as the main support to CAST. The Racket will play The Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham on 9th of June 2018 with support from The Jack Fletcher Band, FAITH and As Mamas.

You describe yourself simply as a “four-piece from Widnes”. Please introduce the band members to the readers of Indieterria.

Callum: I’m Callum. I’m guitarist and singer.
Michael: Hi, I’m Michael and I play the guitar.
Dom: I’m Dom, the drummer.
Colby: And I’m Colby. I play the bass.

Your home town boasts of strong musical heritage. Widnes lies closely to Spike Island where The Stone Roses held their legendary festival, it inspired “Homeward Bound” by Paul Simon (a song written at a local train station) and is referred in works of Belle and Sebastian (“Stars of Tracks and Fields”) and Elvis Costello (“Watch Your Step”). Jane Weaver and Mel C call Widnes home. The town also has a famous music venue – The Studio. Have your city and its history had any effect on your band?

The Racket. Picture by Culture City management https://www.culturecity.co.uk/the-racket/

Callum: To be honest the history of Widnes hasn’t influenced me at all and probably never will! It’s the present, the way people go about their daily routines today and their lifestyles. It interests me to write and sing about the people around me. Mostly just normal things, born mainly out of frustration but also out of enjoyment. I think all the best comedians, actors, songwriters are the ones who are down to earth and talk about normal things.

Michael: Widnes is just where we have grown up and lived. As for an effect on the band, well it’s the special people from Widnes that have carried us through since day 1 to where we are today. Without their backing, we’d be playing The Hammer and Pincers on a Friday night doing shit covers!

Dom: I don’t think it’s something we think about often. The town itself hasn’t had an impact too much, it’s more the people around us that have influenced us. Widnes is just like any other town in the UK and our songs are relatable because they’re about issues and problems that happen to people our age up and down the country.

Colby: I wasn’t very interested by music while growing up. I was way more into football, up until around 2005 and 2006 when there was a lot of new bands coming through like The Arctic Monkeys. I would say, from that time on, I was influenced by music more than anything else.

The Racket is being compared to The Sex Pistols, Libertines and The Cribs. We can think of a dozen indie bands who would be mortified by the pressure to deliver. Comparisons to the greats seems to invigorate you. Do you have a way to handle music related stress?

Callum: We don’t often get stressed. We’re all good mates and we’re doing it because we love it. If people want to compare us to others, then so be it.

Michael: Every band gets comparisons as soon as they start. It gets boring when people ask, what sort of music are you? Get off your arse and go see a band live and it might just blow your mind! I think it’s in our nature to compare music to what’s gone before, but there’s no stress or pressure. We’re just doing what we’re doing and still would be whether people think we sound like The Sex Pistols or Danny Dyer’s Chocolate Homunculus.

Dom: It’s great being compared to The Sex Pistols and The Libertines because we’re fans of these bands but we’ve heard it that often now, that for me, it has become a bit meaningless. This is our band, we want to do our own thing, create our own sound and make our own impact. What invigorates me most is playing live and knowing that you’re playing to a crowd of people that want to hear your music and are going for it just as much as you are. Of course, we’re serious about the music and where we want to take it but we’re still four really good mates having a laugh and doing it cause we enjoy it. For me there’s no pressure on us.

Colby: It’s always nice to be compared to good bands from the past but I don’t think it affects us in anyway. We just want what they’ve got or had and it’s our music out there for everyone to hear an enjoy.

On the set of their first music video by Sitcome Soldiers Ltd https://www.facebook.com/sitcomsoldiers

In one interview you mentioned that your songs are born out of “boredom, teen angst and social commentary”. Which song you have penned so far makes you truly proud of and what it is about? 

Callum: Going back to what I said earlier about normal, mundane things. There’s a song I’ve wrote called “Two Minutes Hate” which is exactly 2 minutes long and goes through the routine of someone who gets up, goes to work, comes home, has their tea, goes to bed, repeat. Frankly, it’s most people I know! This is why, I think I’ve managed to capture it quite well. Quite proud of that one, but I also love the song called “Why Are You Watching Me” mainly cause of the riff!

Talking about teen angst, the photo promoting your single “Faded Days” shows your bare bottoms lined up along a wall. The picture is accompanied by a quote taken from the lyrics that states you are fed up being “bend over backwards for a man who’s in a suit”. Very risqué yet incredibly brave for a young band. Did it get you in any trouble?

Callum: (laughing) Not yet, no! Hopefully it does sometime otherwise we would have just stuck on normal picture there! And it’s funny you pointed out that lyric because we genuinely had it on there! We love playing footy and that’s how you end a football match where I’m from!

Michael: (laughing as well) The only trouble I had was having to look at Dom’s hairy arsehole all day!

Dom: We haven’t got into any trouble for it yet, still time though (laughing). I don’t know why anyone would complain though. I’ve been told on at least two occasions, I have a great arse.

Colby: Let’s just say, for the cover of “Faded Days” we wanted to do something everyone can relate to the lyrics in the song so…(laughing)

You will be playing important indie festival this summer – Liverpool Calling with all the hottest acts on the circuit: Sheafs, Soeur, False Heads, Himalayas, Strange Bones or Emily Capell. What do you prefer: large stages or intimate venues?

 

The Racket performing live in Liverpool on 19th of April (supporting Trampolene). Picture by Tom Adam https://www.instagram.com/tomadampics

Callum: Definitely the small ones. Getting loads of energy in front of us in a small room is something special. Honestly one of the best feeling you’ll ever have. At the same time though, we’ve not played many “big” stages yet. From what we’ve done so far, I’d definitely choose the little scenes any day.

Michael: There’s no feeling like playing to a packed tiny room. People falling on stage and knocking mic stands over. I think when we’ve played the bigger venues, I don’t like being more than a step away from the rest of the band.

Dom: Playing intimate venues is great. Being so close to the audience allows you to feed off their energy and excitement, it’s a great feeling being in that moment. Playing bigger venues is something I’m looking forward to doing more because I think it becomes more of a challenge then A test to see if we can get what we want to say across to a bigger audience.

Colby: It’s always nice playing in front of new people at festivals and getting out there with your music but there’s nothing like a small gig with the fans that follow you to every gig. They always put on a good show for us to watch while we’re playing. We never mind them watching us!

The new single “Know It For A Fact” has received rave reviews and is promoted on BBC Introducing Merseyside. We have to admit it is incredibly powerful track, which surely will start mosh pits. You are one of few bands that manage to bring the fury and dynamics from the live performance onto the record without losing an edge. Any secrets to your recordings?

Callum: The last single was recorded live with hardly any takes and minimal over dubs. I think that makes it sound exciting. This time, we have done it differently. We worked with Al Groves at The Motor Museum and he has done an amazing job. I think just the amount of time we spent getting the best, most exciting, angry drum take possible made everything else a lot easier. Full day for the drums for one song!

Dom: I think it’s just a case of spending enough time on getting great takes and getting the sound right. I was definitely conscious of putting the same amount of energy into the recording as I do when playing live and hopefully that’s something that come across. Al Groves, who we worked with on “Know It For A Fact”, has done a great job and it’s his input and ideas that have made it what it is.

Colby: There’s no real secrets to how we record our records. We just go into the studio knowing what we want the song to sound like. For “Know It For A Fact”, we knew we had to do a powerful recording, because that’s how the song comes across live. It is important for us that it should come across exactly the same when you are listening to the track at home.

The band performing live at the Magnet Liverpool on 4th of February. Picture by John Hollingsworth https://www.johnhollingsworth.biz/

On 9th of June 2018 you will be playing at the legendary Sunflower Lounge. Is it your first time performing in Birmingham? What can we expect during the show?

Callum: I never been to Birmingham before but expect a set of fast, loud rock and roll tunes. It’s also a Saturday night so expect a lot of drinking to get done! (laughing)

Michael: We’ve only ever been to Birmingham New Street station on our first trip to London as the band, so to us it’s a new experience. You’ll have to show us some good pubs for before the show! As for the gig, expect some poor attempts at Brum accents in between songs. (laughing)

Dom: It is our first time in Birmingham and I’m really looking forward to it. I think what people can expect is just a lot of energy and a lot more sweat. We’re going to put everything into it and show people why they should be paying attention to us.

Colby: As others said, we have never played Birmingham before. I’m expecting a good night, plenty of drinking. We play every gig loud and fast so the crowd should love it

This tour is your first as a headliner. You will be playing dates all over the country across the month of June, ending with a gig in Liverpool. Is there anything you want to do, any places you want to visit?

Callum: It’ll be good to go back to our favourite pubs in different cities like The Harley in Sheffield, Good Mixer in London, just as long as Sunday morning, we’re in The Bradley in Widnes!

Michael: I’m looking forward to London. We know there has been demand for a gig down there for a while, so that’s set to be a good one. Sheffield is always fun. Finishing the tour in Liverpool to our crowd will be the perfect end!

Dom: I’m just looking forward to visiting new cities, new venues and playing for new people. We’ll be out of our comfort zone. It’s our first headline tour so I’m just buzzing off that.

Colby: Really looking forward to headlining each night. The one I’m looking forward to the most is probably Sheffield. We had a really good time last time we played there and hopefully we will have the same great atmosphere again.

The band performing live at the Magnet Liverpool on 4th of February. Picture by John Hollingsworth https://www.johnhollingsworth.biz/

Last obligatory question: where do you see yourselves in five years’ time. We predict Pyramid Stage at Glasto. Your picks?

Callum: Well, The Pyramid Stage is the big one for me, always has been! I think as long as we’re still together playing music we love, whatever that be at that time is the most important. Right now, who we are, and what we’re doing is perfect and the future is looking bright for us.

Dom: As long as we’re still together, playing the music we want to play and enjoying it, then I think I’ll be sound, I’m also ambitious and the thought of playing bigger venues and bigger and better gigs and doing all the major festivals definitely motivates me. I want us to be successful and to not only be around in five years but for people to know who we are.

Colby: (laughing) Probably jail for strangling Mike at some point!

You can learn more about The Racket by visiting their social media pages:

Management: https://www.culturecity.co.uk/the-racket/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheRacketMusicUK/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/theracketuk
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theracketmusic/

More articles about the band:
http://liverpoolnoise.com/band-feature-the-racket-widnes-music/
https://hotvox.co.uk/artists/racket

Please come back soon as we will have interesting interviews and reviews coming up shortly!
Have a good week and don’t forget to drop us a message or leave a comment.

xoxox
Rita and Malicia

 

Indieterria meets Nuns of the Tundra

Dear Readers,

We arrived into October not so quietly. Our ears are still ringing from both Worcester Music Festival and Musicians Against Homelessness gigs, but there is no sign of slowing down. Actually, next week we will rock out again – back at the Marr`s Bar for the EP launch of Nuns of the Tundra. The Nuns are from Malvern and they have built themselves quite a reputation in the last few years. It will be a sonic pleasure to see them live and to listen to their new material. We hope you enjoy first installment of Autumn selection of Indieterria.

Nuns of the Tundra logo

Music from the Shire

 

Nuns of the Tundra

Troy Tittley: Guitar
Arran Davies: Guitar
Jim Smith: Bass
Melos Moody: Drums


West Midland quartet, Nuns of the Tundra, is a rare beast. They easily melt American rock tradition with typical British favoritism for distorted sounds and gritty tunes, creating a fresh sound that has a chance of revolutionizing the rusted structures of the indie genre. Vanadian Avenue sat down with Nundra’s (their pet name!) lead singer and guitarist, Troy Tittley, to discuss their newest single “Float Away”, the Hobbits, road movies and composing on top of the Malvern Hills.

Banner with original logo

According to your biography, Nuns of the Tundra was formed nearly two years ago. Can you please introduce yourselves?  Tell us how the band was formed and where did you meet.

Troy Tittley: The band is the brain child of me and my childhood friend, Arran Davies. We’d always be showing each other cool new music we’d found since we were about 10 years old, and in fact were in a band together called RoadKill when we were 13. We’re better hopefully by now. We had all these riffs and song ideas that were floating around not doing anything, and we had a ton of free time. We didn’t take it overly seriously at first; we made songs about swamp monsters, vampires, goblins… The song about killer sex robots from the future actually became our first single. I also have been in a band before Nuns with a producer Curig Huws, and Curig basically taught me some song writing rules that made me feel confident enough to give it a crack myself. So after that band broke up,  Nuns were formed.

You have to admit that Nuns of the Tundra is a very interesting choice of a name for a rock group. We tried to look for possible explanation and this is our theory: You come from Malvern that derives its name from the old Welsh word “moel-bryn” meaning “Bald Hill”. The tundra biome is usually described as barren, treeless or bare. Also, Malvern as a town has been established by Benedictine order in late 10th century. Maybe as a joke, instead of the monks you called yourselves The Nuns. Nuns of the Tundra. Sounds pretty good to us!

The Nuns photographed by Colton Halls
https://www.facebook.com/coltonhalls

Troy Tittley: I absolutely love your theory and I wish we were that clever. I have to disappoint, but Arran loves nuns, my favorite word is tundra. Deep, right? Tundra Nuns sounded too indie, Nun Tundra doesn’t really work, I don’t know why. When I came up with Nuns of the Tundra, it was a joke, but when I said it out loud, it just stuck with me. We were going to be called nilbog (goblin backwards), but I think Nuns of the Tundra is equally as ridiculous and that’s why we love it. We also have some twitter followers using Nundra to save precious characters, and we really dig that name too.

Let’s talk about Malvern for a while longer. You describe your music asdirty desert stoner rock from the unlikely Midlands town of Malvern”. However, Malvern always had a strong links to (popular) music. For many years it has been the home of Edward Elgar and Julius Harrison, classical composer and professor of composition at the Royal Academy of Music. Through the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, Malvern Winter Gardens was a popular venue bringing top rock acts such as Joy Division, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbaths and many others to West Midlands. It seems that you are continuing the local tradition of crafting good music.

Troy Tittley: Yes, you’re totally right. Malvern just feels like a tucked away music hub. The hills are pretty inspiring; I did a lot of writing up there because you can get away from everything, so Elgar was definitely on to something. It’s basically the Shire and we’re the Hobbits. It’s rather unlikely because I’d kind of expect a rock band to come from Mordor or Isengard. Maybe Sigur Ros lives in Rivendell! (laughs)

Your music has been categorized as a wild mixture of psychedelic, progressive rock, American collage rock, grunge and mainstream harmonies. Fugazi, Stone Temple Pilots, Queens of the Stone Age, Muse and Grant Lee Buffalo have been mentioned as possible influences. Which other artist you would add to the mix and why?

Troy Tittley: As you can see we have a lot of American influence. I love that Fugazi made its way into that list by the way! Live we can be quite raw, but we like to get the layers and intricacies in there too. Really, I want this sound to evolve into something that shifts from chaos to complexity and back, but that’s for another time. Right now, we are very guitar driven, and try our best not to retread ground structure wise or atmosphere wise, so the wild mixture is probably down to that. I’d probably add Nine Inch Nails and Foo Fighters to that list; it’s basically all I listened to growing up.

Nuns debut single “Robot Love” received fantastic reviews from local and online press. It has been championed by Andrew Marston at the BBC Hereford and Worcester. You were also invited to play at BBC Introducing stage at Lakeview Festival at Eastnor Castle in August this year where apparently “you blew the tent poles off” with your powerful riffs. That’s very impressive start, don’t you think?

Troy Tittley: The thing is that’s not the start! We’ve been going at this for a while now and a lot of the feedback hasn’t been so hot. But that gives you thicker skin and if you can get past it, then that’s when the real stuff starts happening. We used to post demos online to public forums, because face to face people often say things that let you off easy. Online anonymity allows people to be complete dicks to you and you just have to deal with it! So, really it started there. We just got our ass handed to us until our “Mind’s Eye” demo took off. We were on the front page of Reddit Guitar Facebook page for a while and it felt amazing. It doesn’t surprise me as “Mind’s Eye” is currently our most popular song.

Second release entitled “Mind’s Eye” only cemented your reputation as a new band to look out for. Overblown Magazine called you “the saviours of mainstream rock”, Worcester Music Festival described you as “dirty drive 100 MPH through the deserts of the wild west” while Born Music gave you the title of “one of the UK’s most exciting upcoming bands”. By now, you must be accustomed to constant praise.

Troy Tittley: It is a good feeling knowing you are on the right track, but it’s important not to rely on positive press because it can make you soft, in my opinion anyway. I think I work harder when people are being harsh. Josh Homme once said “You’ve got to learn to love being hit by rocks” and I think that’s true. But I am deeply grateful for the positive response.

Your latest single, “Dead in the desert” has almost cinematic feeling to it – a certain dark vibe accompanied by an open landscape of fuzzed guitars and distorted echoes. It is easy to imagine surviving members of Velvet Revolver teamed up with Trent Reznor to write a soundtrack for a new road movie directed by David Lynch. I have to admit, it has been one of my favorite tracks this year. Can you tell us more about it?

Troy Tittley: Can I use that description? I love it. I would definitely watch that movie. That song started off as just the bass riff. Originally, it was a guitar line made by Arran. We changed it hugely and made it way more psychedelic. Then we dropped it from our set for over a year, the chorus just wasn’t right. After that, I got addicted to Arctic Monkeys’ “AM” album and it channeled a lot of how I was feeling at the time and the chorus just came together. Finally, the whole song just made sense. The weird sounds and little guitar licks were improvised in the studio. Our producer Scott Mahoney just set me up with this enormous chain of trippy guitar pedals, went out for a smoke and told me to do whatever I wanted. It was a really fun experience, and we were just trying to create the weirdest and most creepy soundscape we could get away with. I’m glad you like it.

Nuns of the Tundra during their BBC Introducing session
Photo by Andy O`Hare
https://www.facebook.com/andy.ohare1

On the 10th of October, you will release your first EP and a new single “Float Away”.  How many songs will be included? Where was it recorded?

Troy Tittley: The EP is the first 4 songs we recorded at the Funky Bunker in Malvern. “Float Away” will be the new track and all other singles released will be on there too. It’s our first CD and we’re so excited to have something physical. All songs were produced by Scott Mahoney and the current band lineup: me, Arran, Jim and Melos.

Recently, we found out that an animated video to “Float away” was produced by London based indie/alt rock art company YesMan. Its official premiere took place on the 28th of September and it has already been shown to critics at NYC Indie Film Festival where it was included into official festival selection. It will be competing for the main festival award in short movie category on 7 – 13th May 2018. We are very interested in learning more about this unusual collaboration.

Troy Tittley: YesMan caught our attention with his previous work; it has a really different feel to the majority of the stuff out there. We played him a lot of tracks that we’d recorded, and just asked him to pick the one that vibed with him most. We didn’t want any input; we just wanted him to come up with something, to make a song more than a song. “Float Away” is close to my heart, I wrote the main riff when I was very young, probably 13, so a part of me was hoping he’d choose it. And honestly the song works so much better with the video, once you see it, you won’t be able to separate the two. It’s just how I wanted it to be. Plus I get to be the moon!

Nuns of the Tundra are on the (rock and) roll. What are you up to in the nearest future?
Any gigs your fans should be aware of?

Troy Tittley:  We’ve got a few songs that are recorded and ready to go. We like to surprise people, so “Float Away” will be a departure from our main sound. The next batch will hopefully add another element to our repertoire. We have some songs to be yet recorded, a tour through October and big plans for 2018. Also, we’ll be back in the Louisiana in Bristol on the 4th of October, and our EP launch will be held at the Marrs Bar, October 10th. We’re heading back down to London on the 27th of October and we’re playing a special hometown gig in Malvern at the Unicorn too. Can’t wait!

You can follow Nuns of the Tundra online:

http://www.nundra.com
https://facebook.com/nunsofthetundra/
https://twitter.com/NunsoftheTundra
https://soundcloud.com/nunsofthetundra
https://www.reverbnation.com/nunsofthetundra
https://nunsofthetundra.bandcamp.com

That`s all folks. We will see you at Marrs Bar on October 10, for the EP launch.

Mal/Rita