Infectious Magazine: Nick, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. You’re getting ready to play MusInk-how are you feeling?!
Nick 13: I’m well thanks, excited in anticipation of the upcoming shows…
IM: You’ve got a really wonderful sound, and to be honest I was pretty excited when I first began listening. However, it’s also fairly unique from a lot of what is circulating at the moment. I have a feeling that’s nothing new for Tiger Army, though. How have you found your unique sound has helped or hurt you?
Nick 13: Thank you! People like to categorize, which isn’t necessarily a problem in and of itself – but I don’t think there’s another band that sounds like us so some of the equivalents that reviews have drawn are way off. Some people don’t bother to check it out because they assume the music’s something other than what it is, based on a bad comparison. I’ve done that myself – later you discover that you’ve been missing out on some good music. There are also bands within the psychobilly genre that are basically novelty acts, playing to the lowest common denominator. My lyrics deal with dark themes at times, but the approach is metaphorical, never spoofy. My goal was to do something new, both inside and outside of genre. All this has held us back in some ways but not fitting in anywhere is also our greatest strength – there’s nothing that sounds quite like Tiger Army. It doesn’t matter what year it is or what trend is happening, it’s our own sound, always.
IM: With so many of your fans sporting “Tiger Army” tattoos, as flattering as it must be, does it add to the pressure of producing killer music/live shows, etc?
Nick 13: The tattoo thing is something I appreciate deeply, I come from it. That’s the relationship I’ve always had to music, it’s been everything. The pressure you mention is always there, but it comes from myself, not the fans – they’re incredibly supportive. If I stay true to myself and my standards, then I’m true to the music and to them.
IM: Your bio mentions selling out shows in faraway cities such as Helsinki, Finland-a city I have a personal love of. Can you tell me a little about the audience differences across countries, and the experience of playing new or unfamiliar territories?
Nick 13: It’s strange – even as we’ve traversed the world and experienced many places and cultures, music’s a unifying force. There honestly isn’t a lot of difference between the audience found somewhere like Finland or Japan and the one in Orange County. The reactions and even the looks are similar. It’s an hour-long burst of energy coming from people who are open-minded fans of music. There’s always a mix of subculture – you’ll see greasers, goths, punks, mods, skins, hardcore kids, people who are conventional in appearance, it’s all about the music and having a great time.
IM: Having been a band for so long, what have been some of the most notable changes you’ve seen in the industry, and where do you see it in 5, and 10 years?
Nick 13: We were just getting started in the late 90s but it really was a different world. Internet theft has made it hard for a lot of artists to make a living and music seems to be something that’s increasingly taken for granted by a lot of the public at large. I personally have been incredibly lucky to have really dedicated fans that actually support the band and the solo stuff. It’s easier today in some respects to get the word out about something like a show, not all the changes are bad, but I don’t envy bands starting out now. We did things the hard way, grassroots touring, show by show, but that’s not as realistic as it was then, gas wasn’t five dollars a gallon then. I can’t even predict where it’s going – as you study media you see different forms rise and fall, I can only hope that people will continue to support live music wherever they may be, there’s nothing like it.
IM: Similarly, what experience have you gained in that time that you might be able to use to help up and coming bands?
Nick 13: The main advice I have for musicians just starting out is this: it’s natural to be excited by your inspirations and influences, but don’t be content to mimic, you have to bring something of your own to the table. Don’t follow trends, create them. Put a twist on your music that only you can. Things like “reality” music shows have a homogenizing effect, but only by discovering and embracing what’s unique about your music will you have value, artistic or otherwise.
IM: Thank you for taking the time to speak to me. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Nick 13: See you all at MusInk in Orange County this Friday, Mar. 2nd and at Tiger Army’s other “Spring Forward” shows (San Diego and Las Vegas) at the beginning of April! Thanks to everyone around the world for their support always!
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