Brothertiger is one of the more promising artists to surface in the recent years. His ability to create music that sounds like 80s synth-pop combined with dream pop is what makes his music greatly relaxing and danceable at the same time. Recently, I was able to contact the Ohio native (aka, John Jagos) for an interview via email regarding his music and his recent LP, Golden Years, which was released earlier this year by Mush Records.
First off, it's hard to find real definitive information on you. So can you give me a little insight such as why you started recording, if you're signed to a label, etc.?
Haha, no problem. I started recording music back when I was 15 years old, and I played in a few bands in high school before beginning to do things on my own. I began recording material as Brothertiger when I got to college (Ohio University) and threw some songs up on MySpace to show my friends. It got the attention of some bloggers in the UK and US and now here I am! I was signed to Mush Records to put out Golden Years, the latest LP of mine.
Which artists influenced you the most?
Talking Heads, Tears for Fears, and a few other 80s bands have a big influence on me. Modern groups like M83, Caribou, and Delorean also influence the music I make.
Your music is defined as 'chillwave'. Would you define it as such? If so, what is chillwave? (All I know about the genre is that I own a Toro Y Moi vinyl, and a Sun Airway CD)
I’ve never classified my music as chillwave, but most people pool it into the “genre” and I’m not offended by it or anything. I consider it a new form of disco, with elements of synth-pop.
What do you find is the best way to promote your music?
The Internet and social networking does wonders for spreading word about my music. If I release something new or have some news to share, it takes less than a minute to get word out. We truly live in an amazing time. It’s crazy how fast information travels these days.
If I'm not mistaken, Golden Years is your first full length album. Tell me a little about how it came to be and how long it took you to make.
For the first year and a half of my career, I was putting out mostly singles and EPs and not really working toward an LP or anything. After I released my second EP, I had accumulated a bunch of unreleased work and decided to push to complete a full-length record. Golden Years came out of that, after recording a lot more material. I always had the idea and feel of the album in my head, so it was pretty easy to transfer over my thoughts and ideas into the sound of the record. All in all, it took about a year to complete the album.
What is your favorite song off Golden Years? (Mine would have to be either 'I've Been Waiting' or 'Lovers')
My favorite track on the record is Turquoise (Skyline). I had the most fun recording it and I felt very satisfied as it closed out the record in a good way.
What are your plans now that Golden Years is out? Any tours/side projects?
I just got back from a European tour in April, and I’m currently touring with Beat Connection and White Arrows as part of their US tour, mostly taking part in Southern dates. I also released an EP from my side project, Seafoam (seafoamgreen.bandcamp.com), and I am about to start recording material for my next LP.
Do you have any plans for your next release? Like another EP or go straight to another album?
I think I’m going to go straight to another album. I feel like I’ve released enough EPs for now, and I think I have a lot of good material to work with for another LP.
The music video for your song 'Lovers' has to be one of the oddest things I've ever seen. I'm curious as to what your thoughts are on it, and did you have any input on it?
Ya, it’s really an interesting video. Mush put the video out with a really cool director out in LA, and I was able to add my input during pre-production. I wanted something colorful and slightly retro looking. I feel like they captured that, even if it is an awesomely weird video, haha.
What equipment do you use to make your music?
I use a few different music software programs, such as Ableton and Reason. I also record analog synths and guitars and such.
How do you play your sets live? What do you offer as opposed to just playing your tracks?
I perform live using a few MIDI controllers, and I break my songs up into samples, so I can chop them up as I please. It makes things a little different from the album and it gives me some room to work with, allowing me to change things up when I want to. I also use some other samples not used in the studio recordings of some of the songs.
What do you offer people as an incentive to buying your music rather than downloading it for free?
I try to give as much bonus material as possible, and I try to make the buying experience as personable as possible. I don’t like a huge barrier between me and my fans (such as iTunes), so if I can sell my songs on a limited edition CD on bandcamp or something like that, I’ll definitely go for it.
My local record store doesn't have any of your music. Do you sell CDs exclusively online, or is my town just dry of your music?
Hmm, I think it’s out there, but Golden Years might only be selling in stores in major cities. A lot of sales happen online, but I do know that it is selling in record stores across the US!
What's the best venue you've ever played and why?
The best venue has to be Debaser in Stockholm. I had such a great show there, and a ton of people came out to see us. Also, the promoter and venue staff were so kind and made sure we had the best time possible!
Any advice to someone anybody who wants to make the type of music that you do?
If you like the sound that you’re making, keep making it! I know a ton of musicians who’ve stopped making a certain style of music because it might have gone “out of phase” in popularity or something like that. You never know what trends will pop up, and you’ll never know how many people will truly enjoy the music you make.
Finally, I'll end with a question I ask everybody I interview: What are your top 5 albums?
Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense
M83 – Saturdays/Youth
Caribou – Andorra
Brian Eno – Another Day on Earth
Mogwai – Happy Songs for Happy People
I would like to thank John Jagos for taking the time out of his schedule to do this interview with me. Please buy his album here and support this artist.
B.W. Everett 20/06/12
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