Pysch Tigers is a new band out of Christchurch centered around Sam Perry, a 16 year-old bedroom producer who is making a first step out into the musical world. We caught up with him over email to find out more about the project and their new self-titled EP.
Who exactly is behind Psych Tigers?
Well, I write all the music and record it in my bedroom and then Steven and Todd help me play it live.
When did things start moving for the band?
Only quite recently really, things are really starting to take off. We got asked to play with Bang! Bang! Eche! In Hagley park on the 10th of September as part of this Rugby World Cup thing and also are playing a show with Alizarin Lizard as part of their nationwide tour. We are currently booking our tour for the end of the year and so far have a show booked in Auckland with Sherpa and Halloween.
Any direct influences on the sound?
When I recorded the EP my main influences were everything from the Dom and Girls to Die Die Die, Wavves, Animal Collective and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. But due to some recent events the style of music that once appealed to me seems quite shallow and superficial, I have recently been drawing on much darker influences, The Smiths, Joy Division and Crystal Castles (their second album moreso) are what I am currently quite heavily influenced by.
How did you did you record the EP?
I have a computer with Logic Express that I record all the drums and bass on as midi files, and then for guitar and vocals I have this small 2-input interface that I record guitar with direct input into this amp modelling software and vocals are done with an Audio Technica mic I bought from the states. As for synths, all that stuff is done on my small USB midi keyboard.
Whatís it like for you, translating ideas into music?
It all depends, for example sometimes Iíll be in the shower and a bass riff will just pop into my head, so I run to my room in a towel and work it out on my guitar and write it down as quickly as I can, but other times I will have these ideas of a sound I want to create - these ideas usually arenít very specific and annoy me, as whenever I try to put the idea into reality I am discontent with it. So many songs I have written will never see the light of day due to this.
Do you get anyone else to help you, live?
Nope, just Steven Marr on bass and Todd Williamson on drums, I got my mate Harry who plays drums in Beach Arab to play a few shows whilst Todd was away. In the future I am going to incorporate some synths live so I shall get someone to do that, but right now Psych Tigers is just a 3-piece.
How did the release show go?
Very well I think! We got a decent sized crowd and the bands were all great! It was really cool playing with Zach Doneyís solo project Teen Fortress, as that dude is a huge inspiration to me. The crowd were really cool as well, everyone seemed to be dancing along which was cool, Iíve been to a few shows where the crowd has just kind of stood still and acted all nervous and tense, but the EP release had quite a relaxed feel I felt.
How does Psych Tigers differ from Beach Arab?
I like Psych Tigers because it is completely MY thing. I can write whatever I feel, whatever I want etc. Beach Arab is awesome fun because itís with one of my best friends and is really fun stuff to play live, but Psych Tigers is a different type deal as itís a much more personal reflection of me.
Is it hard juggling this band with school?
Itís a bit of a pain yes. Especially when trying to book tours and stuff as I have to check exam timetables and all that. Iím definitely finishing school but when I leave I am definitely going to take a few years off and truly give this music thing a shot.
Whatís coming up in the future for you?
Playing with Bang! Bang! Eche! On the 10th of September and Alizarin Lizard on the 3rd, weíre also booking our end-of-year tour and I am currently writing some of my debut album stuff, it probably wonít see the light of day till next year but I like to keep myself writing.
Where would you like to be with Psych Tigers in a few years time?
Hopefully, somewhere significant in the New Zealand music scene. That would be cool.
Is this the kind of music youíve always pictured yourself making?
No, definitely not, throughout my childhood my music taste has changed considerably, what I released is music I liked at the time, even now, the stuff Iím writing for the album is quite different from the EP songs.
Who do you look up to, as a musician?
So many people. Johnny Marr is a huge inspiration; I find his guitar playing mesmerizing. MGMT are one of my favourite bands and inspire me greatly, I mustíve listened to ďcongratulationsĒ at least a 1000 times through. Also bands like Bang! Bang! Eche! and Die Die Die, I went to a Bang! Bang! Eche! Show at the bassistís venue ďThe ArchiveĒ a few months back and the energy that they created inspired me so much, probably the most amazing show I have ever been to.
Which other musicians in New Zealand do you hang out with?
I donít regularly Ďhang outí with many, I spend lots of time with Steven (Psych Tigers bassist/Ipswich frontman). Iíve been to a few parties and met the guys from bands like Villain and Karmakaze and they are all really cool guys, their music is rad too. Iím playing some shows with Lontalius up in Wellington and the guy behind that is really cool.
What do you think of music in New Zealand at the moment?
I think New Zealand music is amazing, yet totally underappreciated. The underground music scene in NZ has so many awesome bands that donít receive anywhere near the attention they deserve. What I love about the NZ music scene though is how you can really exercise that classic ďD.I.Y.Ē ethic. Itís so small that there is always someone who knows someone who knows someone that can help you out; you can build a base of contacts pretty fast. I used to live in Melbourne, which is quite a big city and being a 16 year old musician over there would be scary, so many people and such I wouldnít know where to start. NZ is cool, as it doesnít have that feeling at all.