You may not have heard much about My Tiger My Timing – yet – but I guarantee that you will be hearing their curiously titled name a lot more in the upcoming months. This is a band destined for success. Their songs are an irresistible mix of hypnotic dark alt pop and potent melodies . Sung by smart and self aware South Londoners, they have a killer style, a strong image and are in it for the long haul.
I sat down with three members of the five piece recently, Anna, James and Jamie, to talk about their debut single, ‘This Is Not The Fire‘, as well as their musical style and influences, and what it means to be geeky and sexy at the same time.
So, your new song, ‘This Is Not The Fire’ is released this week. Tell me a bit about the first single –
James: The song it’s quite rhythmic. It’s a dark pop song.
Anna: It is kind of about the moment that we are at now. With our lyrics, we want to be universal but at the same time not vague. The lyrics are about that moment when you know something that no one else does. It could be when you are about to unleash something; this is the moment when we are about to unleash the fire. But equally it is a personal song about the breakdown of relationships. We want people to be able to relate to the song as well as to be able to dance to it. Having an emotional side to the music is something that we try to do as well.
There is a brother and sister team here somewhere?
Anna: Yeah, James and I.
So who does what?
James: I play guitar and bass, and Jamie does the same. And we all sing. We have a new guy, Sebastian who is on synth, so we have now become a five piece. Which is logistically a bit difficult getting everyone in the car at the same time!
And you are all from New Cross, is that right?
Anna: Yes, we are based around there, and we formed just over a year ago. We were all in different bands; Seb was in The Cock N’ Bull Kid.
You have a good pedigree behind you – can you explain this?
Jamie: Andy Spence, who does the producing of New Young Pony Club has produced our new single “This Is Not The Fire’ , which was also up for single of the week on Radio 2 recently.
Anna: We lost out of the single of the week to Bat For Lashes – who we love, so that’s fair enough!
Jamie: There seems to be a Mercury Music Prize trailing us! (laughs) She beat us for Single Of The Week, and she was nominated for a Mercury Music Prize . Andy produced us, and he was also nominated. And we have just recorded with Joe from Hot Chip – who has also been nominated!
How did the Hot Chip connection come about?
Anna: We met him at a party – he knew our manager Brian, so we got chatting. We talked about the band name – we were named after a song by Arthur Russell. He was one of our initial influences, he was a New York based electronic artist; quite avant-garde. We bonded over that and he got in touch the next day.
You have a very strong image. There is a bit of an 80′s electro vibe going on, right?
Jamie: Our image is very important to us. You get up on stage and people are paying to come and see you, it’s almost disrespectful to ask people to watch a bunch of scruff bags jumping around! (laughs). It’s definitely important, it’s to do with us being quite exuberant. And our music is quite fun and vibrant, and that comes through with what we wear.
Anna: The whole visual side of things is very important to us, even beyond what were wearing on stage and in photos. We also want to incorporate light shows and visuals into our shows.
James: One of the things we decided early on with our visual side was that we wanted our images to be back to basics, using almost solely primary colours. So we are aiming to hone a streamlined, simplified look. We don’t adhere to a particular image or era. Overall though, it’s about putting on a show.
Are you all inspired by the same music?
James: No, it’s rag tag.
Anna: We are all big Blur fans though. It’s a mixture of pop and the dark stuff that we like. Happy Mondays, Primal Scream- we definitely like dark British pop music.
Jamie: Also, musically we are influenced by each other. There is a friendly one up-manship in the band. Especially with the brother and sister!
Anna, how do you find being the only girl in a band full of guys? Do you get to rule the roost?
Anna: I am a bit of a tomboy, so I feel like one of the guys most of the time. But I can get away with not having to lug amps – although I actually can do it (laughs)
James: It’s cause we a band of gentlemen. We have old fashioned values. (All laugh)
Jamie: Anna is definitely not out on a limb – she is the driving force!
There was a great description of My Tiger My Timing on your website – that you are geeky and sexy. Who is the geeky or sexy one, or are you all a bit of both?
Anna: We are all a bit of both, the two terms aren’t mutually exclusive.
James: We wear that oxymoron on our sleeve.
Jamie: We like the French phrase – “jolie/ laide”, which means ugly/ beautiful – the common definition about what is cool and sexy is so arbitrary.
Anna: We are making quite dancy music, quite rhythmic music but we are all quite…. white!.. so we are not particularly cool! (laughs!)
James: What’s wrong with being geeky? It’s part of the geeky thing to be into anything in an obsessive way, like how we are with music. And that is always going to come across with us.
Where do you see My Tiger My Timing heading? What are your goals?
Anna: We are writing an album, we hope to have the beginnings of an album by the end of the summer, and we are trying to tour a lot.
James: It’s rocketing along pretty quickly, we just don’t stop writing. If you had told us last year where we would be…. it’s mad, we wouldn’t believe it. We are doing festivals, we’re playing The Great Escape in Brighton, Hinterland in Glasgow and we have a few lined more lined up, and a few to be confirmed, which is all pretty exciting. As a band you don’t want to go into festival season and not be on the line up!
Anna: We have got a bit of an alternative band name, and every time I say it, people go “what?” (laughs) so one of my goals is that we so well known that we won’t have to say the band name twice! And we also want to champion the idea of British pop music.
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