Words by Natalie Caamano
In the midst of an East Coast tour leg, a van hugs the lines of US 75 straight through the four-hour drive to Atlanta, stopping for nothing but Dunkin’ Donuts and much needed naps. “It’ll be fine,” assures Brianna Collins, singer and keyboardist of Tigers Jaw. The band’s most recent release, Studio 4 Acoustic Session produced by Will Yip, was released in June 2015. We had the chance to talk to Collins about their current tour with New Found Glory, Yellowcard, the Devinyl Splits series, and their Studio 4 performance.
The band is performing at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ, on October 28th. Tickets can be found here.
“I almost can’t believe that we get to do this tour,” says Collins.
Both Yellowcard and New Found Glory have been around since 1997, shaping pop punk and inspiring bands like The Story So Far, Fireworks, Transit, and Tigers Jaw themselves. For nearly two months, the band will be traveling through the U.S. with two bands that they’ve looked up to.
Since Tigers Jaw is Collins on keys, Ben Walsh on guitar, and both members singing, they needed some help from friends for a full U.S. tour. The band brought along Luke Schwartz on bass, Teddy Roberts of Fireworks on drums, and Pat Benson of Polar Bear Club on guitar.
“It’s definitely one of the biggest tours we’ve ever done,” exclaims Collins. For Tigers Jaw, that means new ears. Though the band has been around since 2005, there are (surprisingly) still people out there who haven’t listened to them. Usually when the band headlines a show, you can expect the crowd’s singing to overcome the band at points in the smaller, packed rooms. For this tour, the crowds haven’t been as “rowdy” as the smaller shows.
“I think it’s different because a lot of Yellowcard and New Found Glory fans haven’t necessarily heard our music before,” she continued.
Rather than the entire crowd shouting along to cathartic, nostalgia-inducing songs like “Never Saw It Coming” and “Spirit Desire,” they’re calmer.
“Even if we see one person singing along in the crowd, it feels good,” she admits.
The tour is able to hit spots like Sands Bethlehem Event Center, Upstate Concert Hall, Starland Ballroom, and Collins’ favorite, The Electric Factory in Philadelphia.
“I grew up going to shows there and I’ve never played there,” she shared about Philadelphia’s The Electric Factory. “I think it’s gonna be really surreal to actually play a show there after seeing so many bands I love play there.”
Another favorite of hers was The House of Blues in Downtown Disney.
Whether you don’t know Tigers Jaw or you’ve been a fan for years, this is a good time to catch them. Their last full-length, Charmer, was released in 2014, so they’re still able to play a balanced mix of songs from their self-titled, Two Worlds, and newer songs from Charmer.
“It’s still really fun and fresh to play [the songs from Charmer],” she explained. For the album, the band decided to re-released two songs they put out just before on a single 7”, “Hum” and “Cool.” While “Hum” was the same for Charmer, the band made an alternate, faster version of “Cool” that starts the album in a way that gets the listener more excited for what’s to come.
If you’re a fan, their setlist will come as no surprise. “It’s definitely a good mix,” assures Collins. “We tried to pick a little bit from everything, at least one song from each full-length.” And then there’s the band’s newest song, their cover of The Cure’s “In Between Days.”
The cover is part of the Devinyl Splits 7″ series put together by Brooklyn singer-songwriter Kevin Devine. For Devinyl Splits No. 3, both Tigers Jaw and Devine covered The Cure, “In Between Days” and “Lovesong,” respectively. When deciding what to include on the split, Tigers Jaw and Devine considered recording original songs, covering each other, and covering a band they both love. In the end, The Cure won.
“I’ve always loved [them] and “In Between Days” is definitely one of my favorite songs of theirs,” she continued. “I thought it would be a really good fit for a Tigers Jaw song,” with perfect timing for this release, The Cure just announced a US tour.
“I already got my tickets for Madison Square Garden,” she exclaimed. “I saw them play Riot Fest like a year or two ago but I never thought I’d get to see them… they’re such a legendary band.”
When Tigers Jaw’s current tour ends, they’ll have some down time before three consecutive nights of Devinyl Splits performances, presented by Brooklyn Vegan.
“I think it’ll be really cool to play a show with Kevin. We’ve never played a show together.” Along with Tigers Jaw and Kevin Devine will be the other featured musicians from the splits, Matthew Caws of Nada Surf and Meredith Graves of Perfect Pussy. Also performing will be Mike Kinsella of American Football and Cymbals Eat Guitars. “It’s not a traditional kind of show,” she shared.
Tigers Jaw was also part of another somewhat experimental kind of show earlier this year; the band performed at producer Will Yip’s Studio 4 in Conshohocken, P.A., along with Anthony Green of Circa Survive. Rather than a full band performance, only Brianna Collins and Ben Walsh took the stage for the seated, acoustic set.
The show was meant to celebrate Yip become an owner of the studio and ended up being very intimate with a limited amount of people and no professional cameras. For those who weren’t lucky enough to attend, Yip recorded the whole thing and pressed it.
“It was [Yip’s] idea to put it onto vinyl,” she recalls. “He wanted it to be his own first release on Memory Music,” Yip’s new label. The 12-track Studio 4 Acoustic Session album was released in June and features the songs the band best translates to acoustic songs.
“We didn’t know that we were gonna press it to vinyl… we were just trying to play a set that would flow nicely, songs that Ben and I both sing on or sometimes switch around the melody and harmony.” The band played originals like “Hum,” “Chemicals,” “Carry You Over,” and even covered Title Fight’s “Safe In Your Skin” and “Where Am I?”
Their latest material for that night was from Charmer in 2014. If you’re eager to hear newer tunes from the band, you have some options. The Studio 4 Acoustic Session and Devinyl Splits No. 3 are both pressed and online. Collaborations and innovative recordings like these are keeping the band a little busy, along with their current tour.
“We don’t get home until Thanksgiving,” she concluded. But new music will come. “I know Ben and I really want to work on a new record, put something out. It’ll happen.”
TheWaster.com | Starland