“I’ve got to be honest, I’m obsessed with this band, we’ve been playing them all week! We need a campaign to get them on the UK Top 40 Charts.. I LOVE this!!”
“Energy” summed up into one word: ANTHEM. Tiff’s authentic rolling vibrato at 1:15 is on par with rock goddess Pat Benatar.. At minute two the speedy synth backed by xylophone takes us into “The Final Countdown” that would make Europe proud pop papas… ”
“Everything about this band is authentic 80′s. If you’re a fan of The Pretenders, Pat Benatar, Heart, Madonna or basically any band that was big in the 80′s, you’ll love these guys.”
“Fire Tiger are a band who are increasingly gaining worldwide attention and recognition… Full of energy, bringing back all that’s good about music.””
It’s a welcome return trip Stateside for my special guests ‘In Conversation’ today. Los Angeles based Fire Tiger are a band who are increasingly gaining worldwide attention and recognition. With their original songs, they are bringing classic musicality back to mainstream music, embracing rock and pop with a mixture of the past and the future. So I am delighted to welcome Fire Tiger today.
Maybe if we start with you introducing the individual members of the band? I know that you are now based in Los Angeles but where in America are you all from originally?
“Thanks so much for this interview, Malcolm. Well, we have Tiff Alkouri on vocals, James Ramsey on keyboards, Chris Cuomo on guitar, and Cahuenga Mango on drums. We are from Los Angeles and San Francisco. Chris is from Boston but also lived near San Francisco before he met us.”
How did you all meet and get together as a band? Have any of you been in previous bands?
“It started out as a Tiff and James studio project and we ended up sharing a band house together near the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. All of us have been in previous bands before. As a teenager, Tiff sang for an 80’s tribute band called Danger Zone LA. Cahuenga Mango is a character name referring to the different drummers we work with. James Decker has played drums with several signed acts such as Mixi, on Interscope. Chris Knapp played drums with The Ataris, on Columbia. They have a reunion tour next year. And Adrian Ost drums for Powerman 5000 under the name Ad7, on Universal. James also played piano with The Ataris and used to front a “heavy classical” band called Thrillswitch. Chris played guitar for an indie band called Apollo Sunshine, and has a catalogue of his own singer-songwriter music as well.”
Who chose the band name Fire Tiger?
“James wanted a double name a-la Duran Duran, Oingo Boingo, Mister Mister, a-ha, Wang Chung, etc, and liked the word “Fire”, which was missing from popular music culture at the time, but has since resurfaced.”
All your songs on the first album are written by Tiff and James. What comes first, the music or the lyrics?
“That’s a great question! The album features both, with some songs written first by Tiff with her lyrics and vocal melody, and others that originated from musical motif. In general, it’s writing the lyrics that comes first but when it’s alongside the music then it’s best, so the music can really bring out the emotion of the lyrics. When you are writing lyrics over music already finished, that can be challenging.”
What influenced your decision to write songs with an 80’s feel?
“Wow, we could write a whole book on that! We basically wanted to create music we like, and music we like seems to be what people call “80’s”. We don’t want to define ourselves only with that decade, although it is our favourite. Our goal is to help bring classic musicality, vocal style, and songwriting, which arguably peaked in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s together, back to mainstream pop culture today.”
Who are or were the bands or artists who influenced your style of music?
“Well, to name a few; Jefferson Starship, Depeche Mode, Eurythmics, The Smiths, Heart, Rush, Phil Collins, Pat Benatar, Tina Turner, Mister Mister, Scandal, Simple Minds, A-Ha, Pink Floyd, Survivor, Madonna, U2.”
When did you play your first official gig and where was it?
“It was at the famous Viper Room in LA. We’ve grown a lot since then.”
Who is the biggest band that you have supported so far?
“It was Steel Panther at the House of Blues in LA.”
What has been your best gig so far?
“It was The Roxy during Oktoberfest. There were a bunch of audience members dressed in lederhosen doing a line dance to “The Same Old Song”. We will never forget that!”
What would you say is the age range of your current fans?
“Something we really like about the music of previous generations is that popular songs used to be for everybody, not just small niche demographics. Because of our old style of music, we are blessed to receive very positive comments from fans of all ages, around the World.”
Is LA a fertile place for new bands to get started?
“LA is a great city, but unfortunately it is not at the moment for aspiring bands. There are a million of them. Everybody knows somebody who is in a band, and nobody cares. A&R’s don’t walk into venues to hear unknowns anymore either, which is really sad. And many of what used to be live venues are being turned over to DJs.”
Your debut album, “Energy”, you released it yourselves on Amazon and iTunes. How close would you say you are to getting a record deal now?
“Who knows? It might happen overnight? We do need help with distribution, promotion, and touring.”
Outside of the US, how is the rest of the world responding to Fire Tiger?
“We are really excited about our global response. Fire Tiger is currently on FM radio stations in Europe and Australia, and we get a lot of Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook traffic from countries everywhere.”
What do you have planned for 2014?
“We are recording our second album, and will hopefully tour around the World, given the opportunity.”
Well, I wish you continued success and hopefully that elusive major record deal will be just around the corner. Thanks for being my guests today.
“You’re welcome and thanks for everything. We really appreciate it.”
You can keep up to date with everything about Fire Tiger by using the following links;