What’s up, everyone? This is T-Time, host of In the Garage– the show that brings you the best of garage rock, DIY, and emo! Back in March, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ben Walsh of Scranton’s own Tigers Jaw. At the time, they were amping up the release of their 6th studio album, “I Won’t Care How You Remember Me.”
So what was the direction for this upcoming album? I’ve listened to a couple of singles, and they seem a lot more synth-based…
Yeah. So for this, for this album, we really wanted to capture sort of like the live energy of when we play shows, which is kind of ironic, because there’s no live shows happening right now. But we really wanted to have sort of like a very punchy, sort of openly mixed album with not a whole lot of layering. So it’s pretty reminiscent of how many instruments are happening in a live setting for us. So we definitely experimented a lot with more, more keyboard tones on this record. Brianna was definitely, you know, in her creative element with that, so there’s definitely a couple different instrumental voices in there compared to some previous stuff.
Other than not being able to tour, how else has the pandemic affected recording and rehearsals?
So, we’re a little bit scattered, you know, our drummer lives in the Detroit area, and I live in the Philadelphia area, and then Colin and Brianna both live in northeastern PA. So sort of tighter restrictions about getting together and travel and everything. There’s only been a few, a few situations over the past year that we’ve even seen each other. So it definitely made it tough to get together. A few times we were able to get together and practice and do some music videos and things like that. But fortunately, this record was made prior to the pandemic.
I was wondering how you guys got all that done in such a weird time.
Yeah, we were getting the mixes of the record back, basically, in February 2020, when all the news was coming out, and everything was being pretty rapidly updated. We had the record almost ready to go. And then we were like, “Everything is different now. Like, we’re not going to be able to just put this record out, we will have to sort of rethink how we wanted to roll it out.” Yeah, so this has been a project a couple years in the making. It wasn’t intended to be that way. But it feels good to finally be able to release the record now.
Personally, I like it when artists take their time. I don’t care if it takes a year, I don’t care if it takes five years– if an album is good an album is good.
We try not to get any sort of schedule, like, “Okay, it’s been a couple of years, it’s been two years, we need to do a record.” We make music when we’re feeling inspired. So we’ve always kind of done things in a way that felt natural.
Who are your guys’ inspirations?
I think for me, personally, I was really just drawn to… I remember being a kid and hearing like Fleetwood Mac and Tom Petty songs on the radio driving around in the car with my parents, and just hearing like, the simplicity of those songs, but they’re incredible. So, you know, being sort of inspired by that. That style of songwriting where it’s like, a good song is a good song–there’s something about it that you can just feel. And then you know, a few years down the line just getting more so into punk music and starting to play guitar, play drums, and things like that. It was just there was a really cool music and art scene in Scranton, where I grew up, and it was just like this really supportive and creative environment. So it was really inspiring to get involved. One of my older cousins played in a band, and I went to go see him and was just like, I fell in love with that sort of lifestyle, and it inspired me to want to play in a band.
So what about other Philadelphia or Pennsylvania artists? The ones that come to mind are mewithoutYou, Modern Baseball, etcetera. Have you guys had any interaction with them?
Yeah. So we’ve actually been able to go on tour with mewithoutYou and we played with Modern Baseball many years ago. But, we’ve gone on tour with Jake’s project Slaughter Beach, Dog, so it’s a really small world you know? And we’ve been around for a while, we’ve been lucky to meet a lot of really incredible musicians from not just PA but from all over. But there’s something happening in PA where there’s just a lot of really great talented artists.
What genre would you guys consider yourself? I know a lot of people say that you’re emo or pop-punk or folk-rock, but I want to know what the band thinks.
Yeah, it’s a tough question. Because, you know, whatever, how people classify things, I think, can be a good thing. But sometimes it can limit people, like if they feel like, “Oh, I don’t like such and such type of music,” but we’ve always just really considered ourselves a rock band. But we pull from a wide array of influence. Not every song is gonna sound like it belongs in the same category. But right now, we just make guitar rock music, I guess, in the simplest sense.
Yeah, I’ve listened to you guys’ discography, it’s a pretty diverse sound. You listen to your debut record, and then you go and listen to your most recent singles. There’s a lot of similarities, it’s the same band, but it’s definitely a different sound.
Yeah, there’s, there’s common threads that are kind of hard to really describe. But you more so feel them than anything else.
A lot of DJs at the radio station really want to know the answer to this question, it’s kind of dumb. But the self-titled Tigers Jaw album… the album cover… the pizza… was it good?
Oh, it was incredible. So the pizza on the cover is from a place in Scranton, Buona Pizza, and it was right in downtown Scranton. Anytime we would be practicing or playing a show or going to a show, that would be our hangout spot either before or after. So when we were walking around shooting pictures for the Run For Cover release of that record, we naturally just went there, because we always went there. And Brianna took that picture and we ended up rolling with that. A lot of people do ask about it, but it’s great pizza. Just classic greasy mall pizza. If you’re ever in Scranton, check it out.
Thank you so much for speaking with us today, Ben!
We appreciate you having me!