INTERVIEW

London music hasn’t been so musically rich since the mid-1990s Brit Pop boom. There are bands surfacing from every crevice, every bedsit, and every gutter of the boroughs. The barman’s a singer, the shop assistant is a guitarist and every bloody student on the planet is a musician. There are probably over a hundred band […]

London music hasn’t been so musically rich since the mid-1990s Brit Pop boom. There are bands surfacing from every crevice, every bedsit, and every gutter of the boroughs. The barman’s a singer, the shop assistant is a guitarist and every bloody student on the planet is a musician. There are probably over a hundred band members strutting about in any given one-mile radius and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to break through the saturation.

Three students from New Cross, Pull Tiger Tail look as if they should be ‘another’ one of those ‘new rave’ fashionista bands, like their friends Klaxons. However, their nature is simply very much that of the rock variety. No frills. No neon. Just three old school mates playing quirksome, bubbly pop rock.

In true student tradition, Loud and Quiet met up with the trio for a fry up in a Notting Hill caf√© on a grizzly Wednesday morning to find out if there’s substance behind the hype.

It took them another continent (America) to decide to take the leap onto the London circuit again, which is bizarre considering the incredible pulse and inspiration lurking here in the Big Smoke.

“Our last band experience ended up pretty horrible,” says drummer Jack, struggling over the competitively loud coffee machine, “and we just didn’t want to do it anymore. We had to re-find our passion for it as we were burnt out.

“America was the start of something new. It wasn’t an escape; it was more a sort of conception. “Are we allowed to talk about conquering America?” he jokes, “The secret service might get your tape!” They kid, but looking at how things have moved in leaps and bounds for the band. Domination across the pond could soon be more than just a remote possibility. Pull Tiger Tail’s impressive list of tour dates since their incarnation in February this year includes an abundance of uber-cool indie nights. However, the band don’t seem to associate themselves much with that scene, especially not the much-hyped New Cross scene.

“It’s more that we wanted to be in a band before we moved to New Cross rather than a case of ‘I’m in New Cross, what does everyone else do? Oh, they form bands, I should as well!'” says Jack. “All our friends are in that scene, but then what is a scene except people who are friends?”

“It’s lovely that they want us to be part of their gang,” bassist Davo continues unhesitatingly, “because our music is quite different to anything and London bands that are anywhere near our style really suck.”

Noticeably, the three all have distinct personalities that shine through; they aren’t one bland, compact unit with a unified mantra. They have interesting points to make. Jack is the straightforward talker with a brilliant sense of humour; Davo is the cocky model-esque one who doesn’t give a toss and says what he thinks and vocalist and guitarist Marcus is the dreamy, introspective thinker who endearingly trails off on many tangents during an answer. Can I liken them to the Powerpuff Girls without sounding ridiculous? Probably not, but I think I shall.

On the subject of their first single, ‘Animator’, on label B-Unique, Marcus contemplatively says: “The song was written about being out and being caught in all positions and not being able to defend myself. Weird as that sounds, it just causes a lot of mystification and it’s about trying to escape from things that are impossible.”

“It nearly got scrapped because it was so wrong!” quips Jack about their song-writing process, “We did this one version of it and we nearly killed it. We had to step away from it for a few months.”

So is song writing talent more important than image? “Song writing will always prevail,” nods Marcus as Davo pipes up, “but in this climate and because of the way that the media works, you do have to have some kind of package and I know that’s really cynical, but we’re such a natural package that I wouldn’t mind being thought about that way. We’ve known each other since we were ten, so what better package than that?”

After this unexpected outburst of sincerity, or conversely, verbal diarrhoea, Davo immediately rushes off to find a recent copy of the NME. In his absence, Jack explains his swift exit: “Basically this friend of ours is in The Duloks and in the NME she held up a copy of our Radar piece and said ‘I tried to shag this guy [Davo] for three years and he was having none of it’ and the last line goes something like ‘Screw Davo, everyone’s going to want The Duloks singer anyway’!”

On top of a hectic promotion and touring schedule, there’s an album to think of too and the trio are dropping out of university to cope. On the producer front the slant is avant-garde Americans. Favourites to twiddle the boys’ knobs are Ric Ocasek (Weezer, Le Tigre) and Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Jane’s Addiction) although the band admits that this is wishful thinking at this stage – “We’re kinda working towards Weezer’s ‘Blue’ album,” says Jack. “We want to make it really short and precise.” Live, Pull Tiger Tail add to their quirkiness by wearing angel wings, an arguably strange choice for a bunch of lads, the reason for which they appear cagey and jokey at once about.

“It’s all about challenging yourself and there was a logistical problem that we trying to overcome,” Marcus begins, met by Davo’s remark of, “We got them on eBay in China.” Not some Christian reference then? “It is that as well but we’re not going to go into it,” says Marcus.

“Did we not mention that we’re a Christian band?” smirks Davo. “The wings are there because I have an eBay obsession!”

I’m not buying it but finally the band fob me off with a romanticised story about how they have always loved Baz Luhrman’s Romeo and Juliet. “It’s what we grew up with,” insists Davo, “We’re halfway there. We just have to buy Romeo’s armour now. We’re all going to wear the armour and the angel wings together, because we’re like Romeo and Juliet‚””

So with all this confusion about image and what scene they fit into and don’t fit into and who should like them and who shouldn’t, Pull Tiger Tail’s music apparently is rather straightforward. “I think the fundamental thing,” finalises Jack, “is that we’re big fans of popular culture and we write, just songs. Classic songs.”

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