In Conversation: Tiger by the Tail

The electronica scene is thriving in Leeds thanks to acts such as Submotion Orchestra, Peakes and Tallsaint, so it is no surprise that music duo Tiger by the Tail have caught the attention of fans with their signature sound of heavy electronic bass lines and melancholy vocals. We had the pleasure of chatting with Callum and Emma about the band’s new single ‘Tunnel Vision’, the meaning behind their name, future aspirations and more.

How did you guys meet?

Callum: We met at a rave up in Leeds a couple years ago. We both produced music at the time and started working on each other’s tunes. Slowly, TBTT was born.

How did you choose the name Tiger by the Tail?

Callum: To catch a tiger by the tail means to face something too difficult to manage or cope with. We came across this phrase when we were trying to find a name for ourselves. When we stumbled across it, we felt like it connected to the lyrical content of our music, and to us personally.

Emma: For me, writing the music is how I face the things I wouldn’t otherwise tell anyone about. 

“… writing the music is how I face the things I wouldn’t otherwise tell anyone about.”

What artists do you draw inspiration from?

Emma: We both love Florence and the Machine and Nothing But Thieves. Florence’s tunes are so epic and NBT’s vocal melodies have so much emotion and power in them. Callum draws inspiration from the likes of Flume, The Prodigy and Pendulum; all of these artists have influenced his production style. While Lana del Rey and BANKS have influenced my writing persona, as well as the dark, sultry nature behind the lyrics and melodies of TBTT.

What are the lyrics about on your single ‘Tunnel Vision’?

Emma: It talks about a relationship that keeps you in the dark. It’s about someone from my past, and how they brought out the worst in me. They’d always hide things from me and it made me feel trapped in a cycle of loving and hating them, kind of being stuck in an obsession with each other. We would hurt each other and hate each other, but not want to let the other one go. ‘Tunnel Vision’ is about hate that is disguised as love, and a dependency on someone who’s bad for you. I still find it hard to trust people, even the people I love.

How would you describe the recording process behind the single?

Callum: Originally, Emma brought forward a demo of the song which was more down-beat and stripped back. During the recording process we fleshed it out with more electronic elements; synthesis is a massive part of our sound and we programme all of our own sounds. The vocals were probably the main feature of the recording process, as there are a lot of vocal layers and harmony throughout the piece. We also use a lot of processed vocal sounds in the instrumentation, which are generally just improvised when we record, which is a lot of fun. Vocal production is a massive element for us, we love manipulating the human voice into different sounds; at least half of the record is made up of vocal manipulation and production.

Are there any artists you would like to collaborate with?

Emma: BANKS. The Prodigy. Flume. Chase & Status.

How would you describe your sound in 3 words?

Callum: Atmospheric. Cinematic. Bass.

How did you choose your instrumentation?

Callum: Over the past couple of years we’ve experimented with different textures and soundscapes. At first everything we produced was way more electronic, then we went down a really orchestral route. Our music today is a product of our exploration over the last year – we both love the cinematic style and wanted to fuse this with electronic production and the synths we programme. 

“… we both love the cinematic style and wanted to fuse this with electronic production and the synths we programme.”

What do you both like to do in your spare time?

Emma: We love watching Rick & Morty. We also have 3 guinea pigs called Rufty, Tufty and Penelope who we like to treat. 

Where would you like to be in 5 years as a duo?

Callum: Headlining Boomtown.

If you’d like to find out more about Tiger by the Tail, you can follow them via FacebookYouTube and Instagram. Their new single ‘Tunnel Vision’ is now available on Spotify.

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