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I couldn’t believe there were no other audience members to witness them. It was only a sound
check, but Camden Roundhouse was alive. Forget feeding the fire, these guys feed off of the fire.
At the back of the stage, completely in the zone, I don’t think their drummer even noticed my
entrance. Their guitarist keeps his cool, despite the guitar riffs he plays that I can’t describe in
any other way than ridiculously awesome. Their token girl holds her own completely up against
the three guys, bringing this bohemian, hippie vibe to the whole scene. Then there’s their lead
singer. He exudes confidence, individuality and cool. Watching this eclectic group of musicians, I
couldn’t help but wonder how the hell they wound up in a band together. Somehow though,
whatever they’re doing, it’s working. This is Tigerilla. Weird and eclectic but cool and addictive.
You can’t predict much about the industry anymore (or this band for that matter), but I
guarantee you that they will go down in history.
So, what has the response to your single been like?
Damon: Unbelievable! We never expected this kind of response.
Caleb: Yeah, we’ve all said, as long as we’re making music, we’ll be happy.
Max: That’s when I was working two jobs to pay for studio time to record a demo track.
Damon: Here we go again…
Dawn: We do this because we love music, not because we love a crowd.
Damon: Well... I never said I didn’t love a crowd...
Things haven’t been easy then?
Max: No. But I guess it was worth it. (Smiles)
Dawn: It would have been worth it either way. I guess it just means we get a bit more freedom
with our music now.
Damon: We do what we like, because we’re Tigerilla.
(The other three roll their eyes)
How did Tigerilla begin?
Max: That would be my doing, thank you very much. (He grins, boastfully)
Dawn: We were all performing at, like, an open mic session in Soho and afterwards Max asked
around to see if anyone was interested in joining a band.
Max: I only asked the good ones.
Damon: I think all of us were drifting a bit in life before we found Tigerilla. It gave us a driving
force, a purpose, whatever you wanna call it.
Caleb: Alright, alright. No need to be so dramatic mate.
How easy did you find the transition from solo artist to band?
Max: I’ve never enjoyed working alone. I mean, imagine you’re on the road for months at a time
and the only person you have to talk to is your own shadow?
Damon: Since I was in high school, I’ve been in and out of different bands, some more successful
than others. (grins) The first band I ever joined was called The Hot Dogs and I was 13. We didn’t
even make music, we just jumped around my mates bedroom to Radiohead.
Caleb: I’ve never worked particularly well with others, and I wasn’t sure whether I’d like
working in a band. But these guys let me do my own thing. So it’s cool.
Damon, what was your input into the album?
I’m not going to pretend it’s my talent that produced such great music. Really, I show up, sing
and just do my thing. I’m a performer. If they tell me what I’m doing works, I keep doing it. If it
doesn’t, I don’t. I have to give the credit to Max on that part, he really helped reign me in.
What’s been your favourite part of the process?
If I’m honest, we haven’t got to that part yet. I’m dying to perform our material! I love
performing. I most certainly love an audience. I do what I do best when I have a crowd.
How does it feel to be on stage?
It’s incredible. Your adrenaline is pumping, your heart is racing and you have this overwhelming
feeling that you could do anything, right there and then in that moment. You feel invincible.
What’s your favourite song on the album?
It depends. “Wild Wild Animal” is the one I can’t wait to perform. I just get so pumped when I
have to sing it. It’s the song I had the most input into as well. Dawn’s acoustic track “Across the
Shore” blows me away though. She really is an awesome girl.
What’s it like to be part of Tigerilla?
We’re all so different – you wouldn’t put us all in the same band. But I think that’s why we work.
We’ve all got our own influences and we’re all open to new ideas. I don’t think we’d work as a
group if we didn’t give each other the freedom to be who they are. We’re all unique. We don’t
need to hide that. We embrace it.
Dawn on Damon
He’s a bit of a loose cannon. I don’t think any of us would be able to tame him. But I guess that’s
what makes him who he is. Yeah, he sometimes rolls into rehearsals an hour late with a banging
headache from last night, but he loves performing,
and he’ll put in 100%, no matter what.
Caleb on Damon
That dude is absolutely crazy. He’s always singing, if he’s not talking. He’s unbelievably
optimistic too. I guess it makes him a good laugh. I guess sometimes our relationship can be a bit
strained, as we’re really different. Sometimes I just need some space, some quiet and some chill
time. But then other times we’re like brothers.
Max on Damon
As much as he sometimes drives me completely mad, I know that I made the best decision ever
when I approached him to join the band. He’s so passionate, so sure we can do it, that he makes
everyone else believe we can too. People have a lot of faith in us now. It’s all down to him.
Who came up with the band name ‘Tigerilla’?
That was Caleb. He’s good with words. We weren’t originally called Tigerilla though. For ages
we just couldn’t come up with the right name. Eventually Damon came up with the name
Howlers. I’ll admit it wasn’t the most brilliant and original name but, hey, we didn’t really have
much else at the time. Damon’s a real ideas guy. He’ll have a thousand ideas! Most of them will
be complete rubbish, but there will be that one idea that is gold. Caleb is the complete opposite
in that respect. He’s quiet and contemplative and you never really know what he’s thinking. But
one day he’ll shove a sheet of paper in your lap, with the best damn lyrics you’ve ever read. Then
he’ll get out his guitar and just start strumming a few chords, and that’s when I join in with a
drum beat. I’m just sitting there like, this is the most amazing band ever.
What inspired you to start drumming?
When I was a kid I loved music. I was one of those kids with loads of energy too! A guitar, a
piano or something like that would never have worked for me. I could drum for hours and just
expel all of that excess energy. I think that’s why I stuck with it. I never really stuck with
Would you say the band has any influences?
Each one of us has our own influences. So I guess our sound is pretty unique. What I like about
us is that none of us are trying to copy anyone else. A lot of our influences come from our lives
and experiences rather than our music tastes. We’re all about creating real, honest and proper
music. It took a lot of time for us to get the album right, but we wouldn’t work any other way.
What’s your favourite song on the album?
I have to say my favourite is probably “Feeding The Fire”. I know it’s cliché but, I think the song
represents who we all are. Who Tigerilla is. I mean, I also get to play the most amazing drum
solo, if I do say so myself. The fact the song has been such a success just adds to how proud I am
of it. I think our challenge now will be to beat it.
Why did you decide to form a band?
I guess it was just one day I was sitting at counter at my local supermarket and I realized I was
fed up. I just couldn’t go through, day by day, knowing that everything was going to be the same.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to do anything by myself. To be honest I didn’t really want to do
anything alone either. So I started going to this open mic night in Soho. If I’m honest most of the
people there were pretty bad. But I could tell that everyone was there for the same reason as I
was. Dawn, Damon and Caleb stood out among the others. It wasn’t just their talent though that
stood out to me. They all just had this vibe and presence on stage that made you think, I want to
know you. They were all different and cool and interesting. What more could I have been
Damon on Max
He’s a little awkward, but the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. He obviously has a great ear for talent
too because… well… he found me.
Dawn on Max
He’s the sweetest guy I’ve ever met. I get on really well with Max. I think it’s great that he really
gets who each and every one of us is. Doubtless to say he looks after the other three of us. He
managed us up until the point we got signed. He worked an extra job to pay for our studio time
Caleb on Max
I tell you what, I never would have expected a guy like Max to be in a band, let alone be the
drummer… and to top it all off he has such skills when he freestyles!
Dawn, how does it feel to be the only girl in the band?
Usually it’s not a problem. I guess sometimes I do miss some female company, but the guys are
great. They’re like my brothers now. It’s a good job it’s me in the band and not another guy. I
think they need a girls influence, I’ve got to keep them all in line sometimes.
What would you say your role in the band is?
I guess I generally make sure all of the others are getting on. We’re all very passionate about
what we do, so sometimes when we don’t agree things can get a bit heated. Usually we’re pretty
good at combining our ideas, but sometimes compromise can be difficult when you’re love what
you do. I don’t really think our roles are particularly defined in the band though. We’re more
like four mates who get together to play music a lot, rather than co-workers. It wouldn’t be
anywhere near as much fun if we weren’t great friends.
How much input did you have into The Jungle?
There’s an acoustic track on there. It’s me on vocals and sharing guitar with Caleb. It’s really
stripped back. On most of the tracks, I share the vocals with Damon and, on a couple of tracks, I
get out my guitar.
Is there ever a fight over the guitar parts or the lyrics in the studio?
Obviously Caleb is our resident guitarist. I’m nowhere near as good on guitar as he is. I love
playing, but I have to be real here. Caleb is going to sound so much better than I would. There’s
gonna be some freestyle jams on tour I’m sure. It will be pretty great to show our fans what we
get up to in our spare time. Damon and I have very different vocal styles, so lines that suit his
voice wouldn’t suit mine and my lines would never suit his.
How does it feel to be going on tour?
It’s pretty exciting, but kinda surreal. I’ve played to crowds before, but none as big as Camden
Roundhouse. I don’t really know what to expect. It’s completely different doing a soundcheck to
actually performing to a live audience. Damon is going to come alive on tour. He was born to
perform. The crowd will love him. I’m better with the slower tracks, so I hope the contrast will
make it interesting. I can’t wait to get a live response to our music. We’ve all worked so hard to
Damon on Dawn
It’s nice to have some female energy while we’re on tour. She may seem like the sweetest girl in
the world, but really she’s the one who keeps us all in line. She’s got a great voice, with such a
vulnerability to it. I’d never be able to create the emotion in the songs that Dawn does. She really
does Caleb’s lyrics justice.
Caleb on Dawn
Dawn is awesome. She just has such a great vibe. She’s got a fantastic voice too. She’s so
talented. Her guitar skills are awesome. I jam with her all time. Great way to kill time. I can’t
wait until we get to freestyle on tour.
Max on Dawn
We are genuinely so lucky to have her in the band. I mean, she could be a solo artist. She should
be a solo artist. Where Damon was made for a band, he feeds off a band, Dawn has a presence
and a coolness that would work for her to go solo. She’s multi-talented too. We’re all secretly
quite protective of her, even though we know she probably needs it less than we would.
From the others, it sounds like you have a lot of input into the band’s sound.
Yeah, I guess. I mean at the end of the day we’re a band, so we all have some input in
somewhere. The band is what it is because of all four of us. I don’t feel comfortable with people
debating how much we contribute to the band. If what we do works, who cares how we do it? I
suppose I have a lot of input into the original idea, then when the others get hold of it they do
with it what they will.
How do you feel when one of them wants to change something about a song you wrote?
It depends. If the song has a lot of emotional value for me, if it has meaning, I can take it a little
too personally. I mean, if you wrote a song at a point in your life where you felt really sad,
vulnerable and lost, if someone told you to change it, you’d feel a bit defensive, wouldn’t you?
Most of the time though, if it’s just an idea that came to me in the shower, I don’t particularly
care. In fact, I love getting their ideas. They think of things I never would have thought of.
What was life like before Tigerilla?
It was a bit boring really. I did a job I really hated. At night I’d find pubs and bars where I could
play. Open mic nights, that sort of thing. I’ve never wanted to sing really, I just wanted
somewhere to play. That’s why this works for me. I get to make the music, while Damon and
Dawn sing the songs I write. If I’m honest, I prefer making the album to actually peforming it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love playing my guitar, but there’s just something about creating a song
and shaping it into something incredible. When you’re finally listening to it in the recording
studio, or when you’re playing it, finished, for the first time, you just have this amazing feeling
like, we’ve made something special here. The best part about that moment though, is knowing
that no one else knows about it yet. It’s like your own amazing little secret.
What’s your favourite song on the album?
My favourite song is one called “Until Tomorrow”. It’s one of the ones I wrote. It has a lot of
personal value for me. If people like it, it will mean a lot. I have to hand it to Dawn on that one
though, she really brought it to life. I remember sitting in the recording studio with Max, Damon
and Graham, the sound engineer. We all sat there in complete silence. It was amazing.
What have you got in store for us on your tour?
(Laughs) God knows what Damon’s got in store! He’s insane that guy. Really, he is. We all love
our music and we’re all dying to play our stuff. We’ll put everything we have into it. I guess we
have to hope people like it.
Damon on Caleb
He’s a really quiet guy. I thought he didn’t like me at first. (Laughs) Then I realised it’s just the
way he is. Either way, that guy is so talented. The songs he writes for us are too good. He’s one
of those guys that just inspires you. He’ll hand me a song, he’ll strum a few chords and suddenly
it all fits together in my head and I know exactly what I’m going to do.
Dawn on Caleb
I love working with him. He’s just a really cool guy. He’s probably the one who’s developed the
band’s sound the most. He works really hard. People might think “he’s just a guitarist”, but they
don’t realise he does so much more than show up with his guitar.
Max on Caleb
Caleb is so talented. He’s really easy to work with too. He’s the sort of guy that will just get on
and do things rather than sitting around waiting for someone else to.
Tigerilla’s debut album “The Jungle” is released February 23rd 2014