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The Tiger & Me Sleep The Night Alone Interview

The Tiger & Me Sleep The Night Alone Interview

In anticipation of their forthcoming third album, Melbourne quartet The Tiger & Me have announced the release of their new single -Sleep The Night Alone' and its accompanying clip (watch here).

Intrepid by nature, with three lead singers and a multitude of instruments, The Tiger & Me is a sound that refuses to sit still. Produced by ARIA-nominated Steven Schram (San Cisco, The Cat Empire), -Sleep The Night Alone' is a dance pop track about the corner of the life you abandoned, and how you got there in the first place.

-Sleep The Night Alone' is out through ABC Music imprint 'FOUR | FOUR" (Tim Rogers, Melbourne Ska Orchestra), who also guided the release of the band's second full-length album, The Drifter's Dawn, which took out album of the week on PBS and racked up airplay across JJJ, 4ZZZ, Triple R, Edge Radio & RTRFM.

To accompany -Sleep The Night Alone', The Tiger & Me have released a clip for the track as well as b-side -When All The World Went Dark', originally an acoustic folk song written by Tobias Selkirk (vocals & guitars) on a ukulele while travelling through South America.

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Interview with Jane Hendry

Question: How would you describe your music?

Jane Hendry: We've been described as -genre-hopping' in the past so I guess this question is a little tricky to answer! We have three songwriters in the band and each brings their own set of experiences and influences to the table. Our bass player Tristan also has a huge influence on our sound. It's a pretty collaborative process that we go through on each song – the final version might be a far cry from where it started, but that's the beauty of it! We're constantly exploring new sounds across a broad range of styles – intimate acoustic duo; harmonising folk trio; gypsy/folk/pop band; rock band (in our own sort of way!) and this latest single 'Sleep The Night Alone" is our first foray into dreamy dance pop! We've always sought to keep on evolving, and to focus on writing good songs, full stop. The through-line across all these songs is that it is us - our voices, our performances – we haven't limited ourselves to a single genre/style.

Question: What inspired the new single -Sleep The Night Alone'?

Jane Hendry: This one was written by Ade (my partner and one of the other singer/songwriters in the band). I think this song came about after Ade had moonlighted with another Melbourne band, Blackchords. Such moonlighting was not unusual, given we shared our rhythm section (Sarah Galdes on drums and Tristan Courtney on bass) with them at the time. I can hear the influence of Blackchords and their more dance-pop vibe on this song for sure. Although I don't think it was deliberate on Ade's part. I think he just sat down to write and that's what came out.

Question: Can you tell us about filming the video clip?

Jane Hendry: The music video was shot, directed and edited by Patrick Mason. He's based in the USA so the whole thing was conceived of, discussed, reviewed and agreed over email and Skype. We were pretty confident going in though – Patrick's previous work is very impressive and we really felt he was the right match for this song. Dancer Chris Bloom (appearing courtesy of Ballet Hispanico) is perfect in his performance of the central idea of the song, which is the indecisiveness you feel when you're at that fork in the road (-the corner of the life you abandoned'), the struggle of that decision, then the coming to terms with it.

Question: What should we expect from the upcoming album?

Jane Hendry: On the whole the new album will be quieter than our most recent album (The Drifter's Dawn), and we'll be bringing back some of the more folk-pop feel from our early releases. There'll be some really stripped back acoustic tunes, as well as plenty of vocal harmonies and a strong emphasis on production to create a huge sonic palette. For example, working on a new tune yesterday we layered up about ten violin lines to create an expansive string section. The song also features at least five vocal lines (four of them mine), creating a really fulsome and rich sound. Question: Did you have any pre-conceived ideas about the music industry?

Jane Hendry: Of course! I probably still do. It's constantly evolving as an industry too, so I don't pretend to have it worked out either. I doubt that will ever happen. I think the trick is to focus on the music, hone your craft, and build your audience. In the end you have to love what you're doing, otherwise why are you doing it?

Question: Do you write your own songs? What's your inspiration?

Jane Hendry: Yes we do. We each bring our own inspirations and influences to the task, so a broad range of things can be the spark that starts a song. Other artists and their music can inspire and influence, and there's obviously plenty to draw on there. In terms of subject (lyrical) matter, for me it can range from an interesting narrative I've dreamt up, or an exploration of a difficult emotion or situation (difficult can be either positive or negative – love is a classic, guilt and regret are others I've explored). In short, human experience is the inspiration.

Question: What music/artists do you listen to when you are not playing your own?

Jane Hendry: Leon Bridges, Gillian Welch, Elvis Presley, Bahamas, Bon Iver, Punch Brothers, Etta James, Feist, Frazey Ford, Iggy Pop (his latest album Post Pop Depression is a total banger!).

I also spend lots of time listening to local Melbourne artists James Kenyon, Big Smoke, Brendan Welch, Baby Blue and Emilee South, to name a few. We have such an amazing array of talent here in Melbourne, it's very easy to forget about the rest of the world!

Question: What's next? Tour/Album/Single?

Jane Hendry: Next is the album – we're in the process of writing and recording now!

Question: Was there a moment you contemplated throwing in the towel?

Jane Hendry: No. Just… no! Life would be very empty without music.

Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?

Jane Hendry: Ahhhh – very good question!!! It is so hard to answer. I love recording. It is so great. But I absolutely love performing and always have. I think I would have to say that performing is my preference, but only just! There's something about that connection with and response from an audience that is pretty addictive.

Question: What/who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?

Jane Hendry: I'm not sure really. I always wanted to sing. I was belting it out in the front row of various choirs since I was a young squirt, then started a band in high school with a couple of girls (we did Beatles covers mainly). At uni I started hanging with the music students (way more than I did with my own classmates) and in first year uni I sang in a funk band (so weird but so fun). I also started to go see live music. I think it was going to see singer/songwriter Jess McAvoy (now based in Brooklyn, NY) over and over that made me really want to get into writing and performing original music. A couple of years later, a couple of bands later, Ade and I started writing together and we formed The Tiger & Me.

Question: What is the biggest challenge you have faced along the way to your musical success?

Jane Hendry: I think the biggest challenge is balance. Work/music balance (as opposed to work/life balance).

Question: What's a typical day like?

Jane Hendry: Get up and go to work – listening to the latest demo on the commute; email some thoughts/ideas through to the guys during my lunch break; get home and workshop some ideas with Ade in the studio; dinner, then curl up with the dogs on the couch. We also set aside slabs of time to work intensively when we can.

Question: What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist?

Jane Hendry: Working with a wide range of people, learning from them and becoming a better songwriter and musician as a result.

Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?

Jane Hendry: I'm very lucky to have the opportunity to collaborate with lots of great artists here in Melbourne and have found my way into the studio and on stage with a few – Henry Wagons, Cash Savage, James Kenyon, to name a few. In a dream world, barring the absolutely impossible (Elvis), I'd love to collaborate with Leon Bridges – I just can't stop listening to his album Coming Home. It's so, so good.

That's probably also impossible…

Question: What is the story behind the band's name?

Jane Hendry: When we started out as a duo, we were planning our first gig and could not settle on a name. Ade and I had just started seeing each other too, and he had this nickname for me, -Tiger'. My housemate at the time heard us agonising over what to call ourselves and he suggested The Tiger & Me. We loved it and went with it.

Interview by Brooke Hunter


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