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Monday 29th August, 2011 3:08PM

Prolific and multidisciplinary artist Tourettes is about to release full length album Tiger Belly. UTR caught up with him to find out what the album's all about, who he worked with to make it happen and the power of joining music to the written word.

You're just about to release a new album, Tiger Belly. Tell me a little bit about the writing and recording process for the album.

The album was written over a 3 year period. All the music is by Saan Barret and we started out recording maybe 6 or so songs. And then my last album dropped and I started promoting that and then we returne to Tiger Belly. At one point we thought we were done and played the demos to Karl Steven who mixed the album and he was like theres too many depressing songs. It was pretty fucking dark in hindsight. So we went back and wrote some more varied shit.

Are there any themes that the album deals with or were you inspired by anything in particular?

I guess the main theme is trying to live a life with any meaning and integrity in a consumer society. Also the usual emotional bullshit that life throws at you. The trick is to try and find original ways to approach these issues 'cause they're stories that have been told a million times before. I usually swing between complete despair and hilarity. Most things in life are both absurd and depressing if you look at them long enough.


Describe the sound or overall vibe of the new album.

Live instruments, yelling, singing, rapping, poetry, samples, love, death, self loathing, ego, tigers and bellies.

How do you see it as a progression from your earlier albums, particularly your last one?

Its much more considered. With last one we had basically no money and so a lot of things happened out of necessity. Also because Saan can play various instruments I was able to go to him and hum something or rap a hook and he could make a beat for it. Also I feel I'm just better as both a rapper and a song writer now.

You seem to be as much a writer as a musician, is this a fair statement? Tell me about the emphasis you put on each art form.

I would say I'm much more of a writer than a musician, even though I’ve been making music of some kind since I was a kid. My timing sucks and I'm tone deaf. But I think the thing that ties it together is my song writing ability. I study songs, for their structure, different lyrical techniques. Also I've always just been able to know what's going to work as far as beats and hooks etc. I think writing in general is much more involved. Writing a song if you've got a hook and a cool beat you can pump them out. That said some of the songs on Tiger Belly took months. I guess there's no science to it.

Tell me about some of your other writing projects.

At the moment I'm working on a book of poetry which is written and edited we’re just working on how to get it out, I have two kids books which we’re also looking for a way to release to the world. I write most days. Its as much a compulsion as anything else.

Tell me what you like about bringing the two together - there's a certain power to it, right?

I remember clearly the day when I decided to stop keeping my music and poetry separate. It would have been around '99. From then things fell into place really quickly. I guess being good with words gives me a freedom to tackle ideas and concepts that might be difficult otherwise.

Apart from the album release, what else are you working on at the moment?

Aside from the things I mentioned above I'm working on a spoken word album and a lo-fi punk/rap thing that may be the next Tourettes album or something else. It's hard to say at this point. Also my girlfriend and I are going to make a video to my song where we're inside my head.

I notice that you do quite a lot of collaborative work with people. Tell me about some of these and what you enjoy about the collaborative process:

I love working with people. I never wanted to be a solo artist but it just happened that there was no one else to work with at the time when my shit started going off the beaten path. But im very lucky with all the talented people I have in my circles of friends- Caoimhe from Drab Doo Riffs, The Vietnam War guys, Matthew Crawley, Karl Steven, Scratch 22 and of course Saan and heaps more. It's one thing I missed so much been in Australia; not having so many talented people in my life. It stops you resting on your laurels.


What are the future plans for Tourettes, looking forward to 2012 and beyond.

The next few months will just be pushing the album down the throats of the general public. Im doing a three night run at the Basement fest with Saan and Mr. Crawley doing spoken word and stripped back versions of the album at the end of September. We’re gonna try and get to the states and Europe next year. And just keep pumping out music and writing.


-Courtney Sanders

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