Friday, July 17, 2009

Interview: The Republic Tigers

The Republic Tigers, whose pop-perfect debut album, Keep Color is out now on Chop Shop Records have also recently recorded their version of Frank Sinatra's "The Impossible Dream (The Quest)" for the iTunes exclusive Sinatra covers record, His Way, Our Way out now. Adam McGill the guitarist for The Republic Tigers took the time to answer some of my questions. Find out about his "super duper sexy" solo project, what hidden gems are on the band member's iPods and how actor, Steve Buscemi could step in if a band member goes down!

Atlas and the Anchor: Which song on the album is your favorite and why?

Adam: I like "Give Arm To Its Socket" the most right now. It just seems more interesting to me than other songs on the record because of the time changes that happen in it. It also has one of the most clearly defined "lead vocal" parts on the record.

AA: People compare you to other bands and make assumptions about your influences, but who do you say you are influenced by?

Adam: All the guys have different influences. Big influences for me personally right now would have to be: the "spaghetti western" arrangements of Ennio Morricone, Stan Getz during his samba period, the older "Bollywood" arrangements of Kishore Kumar, the Zombies, the Beatles, Air, Blonde Redhead, Radiohead, Burt Bacharach (especially some of the arrangements he did for Dionne Warwick). I've also been listening to a ton of afrobeat stuff like Tony Williams, &Fela Kuti. Actually, there is an album on iTunes right now called Nigeria 70 that has a lot of really amazing music on it. The list could go on forever but I'll stop while I'm ahead.

AA: Name one current and one older song you wish you had written.

Adam: How about: The Reckoner by Radiohead, and La chanson de Slogan by Serge Gainsbourg. Neither of which I hear as incredible "songs" per se. They each just have such amazing grooves and some fairly haunting, memorable melodies.

AA: Are any of you working on any side/solo projects we should know about?

Adam: No not really. I mean we all have songs that we write that we know the Republic Tigers will never do because they don't fit within the scope of the band. I think Ryan and I both have put up myspace sites for "solo material" that's not really anything that we take all that seriously. They are just songs we throw together for the pleasure of it and never really plan on doing anything else with them. My little site is I haven't invited a single soul to "be my friend". I just posted it for fun and thought maybe if somebody is really lucky they'll stumble onto this by accident and like what they hear. I'm not sure what the address to Ryan's music myspace is or if it is even up anymore.

AA: You got to go across the pond and tour with Travis and just toured the States with them. Have you guys become great friends from those experiences?

Adam: Well, the thing is they're Scottish and well..... um.... let's see..... How do I put this delicately? Just joking, they're really amazing guys. They're incredibly generous taking us out with them and introducing us to their audience. The crew they take with them are all great guys as well. There's always a really pleasant atmosphere backstage with Travis and we do really, genuinely like each other. At least I think that's the case. We genuinely like them, I'm pretty sure they like us.

AA: Who are some of your favorite bands to play with and/or who would you like to collaborate with?

Adam: We loved playing with Travis. We loved playing with Nada Surf. We hung out with Matthew Caws from Nada Surf in Brooklyn after we played Webster Hall on our last tour. It would be amazing to go back out with them. They're terrific guys and really fun to be around. They are also really impressive live. As far as collaborations go,... I'd love to do something sometime with the Dap Kings, or Tony Allen, or Air, or Radiohead, or....., I'll just stop my list there otherwise it just turns into a Christmas list of wonderful gifts that I will never receive.

AA: If you could replace yourself in the band with another musician, who would it be and why?

Adam: Oh, tough question. It would have to be somebody really talented, and extremely handsome. He would have to have the strength of a bear but the agility of a panther, or maybe some kind of wolf. Actually, I'll just make this easy and say Steve Buscemi. He played guitar in "The Wedding Singer" and he played bass in "Airheads" he seems like a very well rounded musician. Plus,... he's Steve Buscemi,.. he's great.

AA: What are you listening to in the tour van?

Adam: That depends on who's iPod is charged. If it's my ipod the list is probably pretty similar to my list of influences that we already talked about. If it's Marc's iPod we're listening to 60's R&B and soul. If it's Ryan's iPod we're listening to the "Night At The Roxbury" soundtrack, or "Jock Jams," or Sebastian Tellier. Justin's a drummer, he doesn't know anything about the current "iPod technologies" so he uses what in the old days we called compact discs. But many of his compact discs contain the music of The Pet Shop Boys, or Duran Duran. The only time Kenn really breaks out his iPod is when he wants to show us a Dream Theatre song that he really likes. We also get CDs from bands we play with on tour and we'll listen to those when we get them.

AA: What is the meaning behind the album title “Keep Color” and what inspired the artwork?

Adam: "Keep Color" is a phrase from our song titled "Contortionists." It's a phrase that in its nature is designed to mean multiple things. To me I think it's just sort of a positive idea to try and "Keep Color," to hold onto something that's valuable, to not fade away, or let your life become sepia and bland. Our friend Tad Carpenter designed the artwork. He's just a really talented graphic artist that is familiar with things that we like visually. He presented several different ideas and that was the album cover that we liked the most.

AA: Though the new album has just been released, are you working on ideas for a new album?

Adam: Yeah. We're pretty much always working on the next album. It's a perpetual thing. Right now we're writing and demoing new songs. So far the process has been pretty productive and had very positive results. We have a few songs that are definitely going to make it onto the next record, as well as a several songs that are well on their way to being possibilities to go on the next record. I think our next record is really going to impress people.

For info on the Sinatra cover record "His Way, Our Way" click here:


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