NWfA Festival: Interview with Three Trapped Tigers

Ahead of their appearance at the Nice Weather For Airstrikes Festival Bearded caught up with Three Trapped Tigers to talk about their music, festivals and who is responsible for plugging in all the keyboards.

NWfA Festival: Interview with Three Trapped Tigers Bearded: Cheers for giving us a slice of your time gentlemen, what has 2012 found you doing thus far?

Tom: Not much to be honest. We released our EPs as a one disc thing in March and toured around then but for the most part we’re getting on with writing our second album and working on our own projects.

Matt: I produced Gallops' debut album in February and have been involved in a few other recordings. I've also been doing some gigs with another band I'm in called MA, and soon will be recording some new solo/Evil Ex material. I've also done some rehearsing with the guys that comprised Acoustic Ladyland, who are putting a new band together with me in it.

B: Your live performances tend to be frenetic to say the least, does the effort it will take to reproduce them in a live setting ever enter your thought process during the writing stage?

Tom: Yes, it’s pretty much a constant consideration. In fact, it’s fair to say that our material springs mainly from that requirement or limitation, ie. that it is performable. When you say the effort, it’s not a question of stamina – that never worries us too much, it’s more skill stuff, and detail. Can we replicate this sound live, will this sound change work, can we play these parts etc. Ultimately we’ve only got so many limbs to try and make the sounds with. 

B: Alongside Nice Weather For Airstrikes Festival are you out and about anywhere else pleasant this summer?

Tom: We’ve got a few excursions but nothing too punishing this year. Green Man will be nice at the end of the year as it’s one of the few festivals I’ve been to as a punter. And we’ve got some overseas trips, climaxing in Norway in September when we’re honoured to be asked to play the Punkt festival.

B: What plans do you have to follow up the collection of your early EP’s from the start of this year? Do you prefer the space a full length record gives you or the more concise elements an EP tends to bring?

Tom: I think they’re both valid and interesting, but the industry is geared around albums so we end up making albums. 40 minutes is more of a challenge just to keep it interesting. I normally listen to something for 20 minutes and then start to get bored very easily. 20 minutes always struck me as a sensible length of time: a good legacy of vinyl is the idea that you have two halves of 20 minutes, providing a natural break where you’re forced to concentrate, even if it’s just for long enough to turn the record over.

Matt: Sticking solely to the EP format would mean you could probably turn around a lot more recorded music more often, it's a nice digestible length to make a few high quality tracks with some cohesion or a sound – I think it's nice to let your sound evolve and explore different things – for us I think we feel like there's lots we could do (as a band and individuals) and it would take a lot of time to explore all of those in album length – also, one question is would it hang together over an album or even sound like the same band or person? Over a series of EPs I don't think it's such a consideration. With an album it's more of a challenge, especially if you write music as slowly as we do – but more rewarding.

B: With regards to sonic style the only group I can think of that operates with a similar setup is Holy Fuck, have you always insisted on using primarily analogue techniques or is it purely coincidence?

Tom: What do you mean? It’s a coincidence that we and Holy Fuck use analogue instruments. It’s not a coincidence that we use them – we like them, we’ve got to know certain things, they’re quite cheap, and it’s true in my case that limitations have helped me to learn synthesis a lot better than trying to programme on a laptop. But we’re not exclusively analogue: I’ve just dropped my Juno from the live setup as it’s too heavy and it’s getting bashed around too much. Ultimately, you can probably do the same thing on a computer, it’s just much less fun. It’s built in to our concept that it’s all live, so that matters: the more ‘real’ instruments the better. But logistically that’s become a nightmare for us, so using soft synths is allowable so long as they’re still being played in real time, and not just looping round the same thing or whatever.

Matt: Limitations (such as the one we have so far imposed on ourselves of having no backing tracks/rhythmic loops/sequenced parts) are great for stretching your imagination and your abilities. More and more I hear sequenced drums and synths though, and I think there's definitely ways in which those could be used live with more imagination than most bands explore. And that is in no way related to my hatred of bringing a big amp, guitar, two pedal boards, two keyboards and a laptop to every gig.

B: Do the people that have to set all that shit up secretly wish you’d just use Fruityloops?

Tom: Those people would be us, so…yes.