Friday, December 03, 2010

FF - FORTRESS by Miniature Tigers

Welcome to a special musical edition of Freebie Friday. We're going indie rock today with the phenomenal band Miniature Tigers. I'm extra excited to introduce them to you because the band (including my nephew Alex) is on their way to Columbus even as I write and I get to see them tonight.

(Anyone in the Columbus area, they will be at the Basement on Neil Avenue tonight with Freelance Whales. Doors open at 8.)

age Credit: Jason Kempin/WireImage for Entertainment Weekly >>>>>

The Band:

Miniature Tigers started out in Phoenix around 2006, and now is based out of Brooklyn, New York. Their sound is indie rock with elements of indie pop. The members of the band are frontman-guitarist Charlie Brand, Rick Schaier on drums and vocals, Algernon Quashie on guitar, keyboard and vocals, and my good-looking and talented nephew Alex Gerber on bass and vocals. (Can I say that without embarrassing you, Alex?)

In the past four years, they've been steadily picking up momentum and earning spots on many festival to-watch lists. In 2006, Rolling Stone listed the group as "one of the 25 best bands on Myspace. Spin magazine listed Miniature Tigers in their picks of "The 9 Hottest New Bands Playing CMJ 2008." Their video for "Cannibal Queen" has been featured on mtvU and MTV2's Subterranean.

More recently, they've been expanding their visibility and drawing even larger crowds. This year they fit Lollapalooza into their touring schedule. The video for Bullfighter Jacket from FORTRESS has been nominated for video of the year AND they've been nominated for Best Artist of 2010 by (Pssst... You can vote for Miniature Tigers on both by following the links...)

Miniature Tigers is signed to Modern Art Records.

The Interview:

How did the band come together?
The band started in Charlie's bedroom. He made demos and put the songs online and soon acquired a bit of a fan-base. Through a mutual music collective he found Rick who had a band of his own called Alvin Band. They became friends and shared songs with one another. Rick was in Southern California and Charlie in Arizona, so the relationship was that of a pen-pal friendship. Charlie eventually moved to LA where he and Rick brought the band to reality, finding bassists and guitarists to fill the slots while they played shows an developed as live musicians. One thing lead to another and the Tigers had a record deal with the newly-formed, Phoenix-based Modern Art Records. After that they made a record together called Tell it to the Volcano. They toured for all of '08 in support of it, building their ever-growing fan-base. They swapped guitarists and bassists, looking for the right fit, until they found Algernon and me. We've both been in the band since April of '09.

What's a typical day like when you're on the road?
A typical day on the road consists of sleeping in until the very last minute, driving an inhuman number of hours, arriving and setting up at the venue, sound-checking, waiting til performance time (usually filled with dinner), performance, breaking gear down, load out, hotel, lather, rinse, repeat.

How about when you're rehearsing and/or recording?
Rehearsals are rather uneventful, unfortunately. We just get the rust off. We have a good idea of what we do live, so it's just practice, really. Recording, however, is an amazing experience. We're all blessed with a touch of somethin extra when we record. Amazingly, we all nail our parts with a few takes or sometimes one. Magic, music and good vibes make up our studio time.

What prompted the move to Brooklyn?
The band operations moved to Brooklyn, aka the land of opportunity. The move has done wonders for us; opened doors we didn't know existed. It's all thanks to our managers Ben and Jeff who work tirelessly to get us more gigs and opportunities.

What's the weirdest/funniest experience you've had as a group?
The funniest thing to happen to us happens every day. Something hilarious happens every day, which I'm so thankful for. It's hard to pick just one instance, but thankfully we all love humor. It inspires us to do what we do. Without it, I don't think we could tour. Those dudes are beyond funny. And witty to boot!

How did recording at Dreamland Studios shape your latest CD, Fortress?

Dreamland was an amazing space. The natural reverb and overall vibe of it was captured on the recording, hopefully. It was really quiet and cold, which is kind of the theme to the album. Fortress refers to the emotional walls people put up, and Dreamland helped us get in that mood. Most of the songs might be sunny and warm, but I think that represents where Charlie wants to go when in his or another's fortress.

For Charlie - how do you tap into your muse? What inspires your music?

For me, it comes when I'm not thinking too much about it. I'll usually put on some tv in the background and strum chords on a guitar until something catches me. I draw random inspirations from other artists, by reading a book or just interacting with people.

The Freebie:

Up for grabs this week is Miniature Tiger's latest CD, FORTRESS. To be entered to win, leave a comment below telling us your favorite indie band (bonus points if Miniature Tigers becomes one of your favorites!) This drawing will remain open until Wednesday, December 8.