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Another Star Turn... Tiga

A call from Montreal to discuss fresh sounds, filmmaking, and his apparent love of having fun.

“I've tried very hard over the years to not touch musical instruments, I see it as a bit beneath me. So I've been forced to use my voice as the only way to express myself, so around the studio they call me The Vibesayer. To my face.”

Ever theatrical, watching Tiga's self-assured promo interview, made to support his second album back in 2009, is enough to make any journalist apprehensive about speaking with the world famous electronic-producing DJ. That's if it weren't so obviously a parody, born from his love of adding wit and dry humour to the marketing pot.

Not that there's any need, mind. With an oeuvre boasting bona fide classics such as Sunglasses At Night, Louder Than A Bomb, and Move My Body, to name but three of the most obvious references we're obliged to make, the ever-sharp suited man in question will always cause a stir with any new material, irrespective of clever clips.

As such, when word spread that a new crop of Tiga material was heading in our direction we waited with baited breath for the results. Pleasure From The Bass, re-released through Crosstown Rebels and remixed via Subb-an, came first over summer, serving as a stark reminder of the tune's timeless qualities. Which was all well and good.

Moving forward, though, and the excellent Tiga Non Stop mix album followed last month, wherein 28 tracks from the likes of Blawan, Audion, AFX, and Bok Bok & Tom Trago are deftly woven, dropped and delivered in an impressive showcase of selection skills. Plenty to discuss then, before we've even mentioned his new single Plush, a filthy, stepping electro number centred on the artist's signature baritone lyricism. With all this in mind we gave him a quick call in Montreal to discuss fresh sounds, filmmaking, and his apparent love of having fun.

Hi Tiga, how are you today?

“Pretty good, thanks, it's beautiful weather actually, unseasonably warm.”

Great, you've been pretty busy of late then, the mix album and all. What made you decide to put a compilation out now?

“Well the label really, I hadn't done one in a while, and had some new tracks finished so it was a good chance to showcase some of those, and the new people on my imprint, Turbo.”

Were you trying to do anything in particular with it?

“There were a few different angles I considered to begin with, like a really fast mix, or an ambient mix. So it could have been a very focused stylistic project, but in the end it was just a bunch of tracks that I like. It's kind of mixed up, and covers a lot of styles.”

How would it compare to your club sets?

“Yeah, definitely some of those records I would play out, the middle section certainly at a medium sized, housier venue. Then it goes a little techno towards the end, which is also kind of like what I would play. Usually, in a larger venue, that would be maybe a bit higher energy, though, a little more aggressive.”

Do you worry about how many mix albums and podcasts there are?

“No, it's not really something for me to worry about. It's just a mix, whether it's on the radio, you have to pay for it, or it's a podcast for free. It's up to the customer, and how they choose.

“15 years ago you did a mix and it was a big deal, and harder to come by. There was a certain rarity to them. They belonged in a cache. I don't think that's the case anymore, but nobody is pretending that it is.

“In my case there are quite a few exclusives on there, which is how I justify bringing it out properly. There's two to three that will never come out, from myself and other Turbo artists.”

The Crosstown Rebels release then, where did that come from?

“Well I've been doing a lot of music recently but not under my name, not proper Tiga stuff. I'm friends with Damian Lazarus, and we were at this Sonar party together. I'd noticed there was all this male vocal house stuff around, like a new wave of it, with people singing over records.

“We then got talking about how Pleasure From The Bass was kind of one of the first of that kind within its own wave, eight years ago now. And it's still a great track. Then Damian said ‘why don't we release it with one remix?' I mentioned I had another track too, and here we are.

“The new tune that went on the same release, The Picture, is kind of the only time I've almost made a track to order. I thought ‘I'm going to make a Crosstown Rebels track'. I've never done that before, so it was different and I'm definitely happy with the results.”

Did you find working in that way liberating?

“Yeah, it is. Kind of like with a remix, you have a bit of a structure to begin with, rather than staring into the abyss. It's nice because it's a bit like problem solving; can I make a track that will work when Damian plays it? Ultimately that's the point with something like that, it needs to keep the energy up and make people want to keep dancing.”

Changing the subject, we caught your cohort Chilly Gonzales for a screening of Ivory Tower, a film where you two play siblings divided by different chess styles. How was that to work on?

“Oh, you saw that. That was fun, a lot of fun, and that's it. Like when you're a kid at school, just fucking about. We're really good friends, and a bit like brothers in a sense. So that part wasn't too far from reality. Both of our characters were exaggerations of ourselves too.

“For me it was just great doing something removed from music. And as a team, which is completely different from DJing. People rely on you, and each other. Doing different things, learning about something new, it was extremely liberating but even more fun.

“I think when you have been doing something for a long time any new challenge is not always going to be comfortable or relaxing, but it's what keeps you going. It's fun, shit, I need to stop saying fun… but no, seriously, just like writing my lines, learning my lines, they're all new things to have to do, and when something is new it's exciting. Sometimes you can still get that from whatever it is you have been doing for years, but it's trickier.”

Would you want to do something film wise again in the future?

“Yeah, definitely. TV, film, I'm not sure about acting. That doesn't come so naturally. I can play myself, or an exaggeration of myself, but actually inhabiting another role I'm not so sure about, but I could definitely see working on this kind of thing again in some way. It was fun. There I go again with the fun.

“I suppose in some ways it was actually pretty natural too. Especially after working in music, which is a tough business. You do so much press and appearances you become quite used to performing in front of people. So in a way you're pretty well equipped.”

Finally then, how's the release schedule looking?

“Well the main thing right now is my single Plush. Crosstown Rebels put out The Picture, obviously, but this is what I consider to be my first proper new single in a long time. I'm really proud of it, I really like it, so that's the most important work right now. Clouds also have a new record coming up on Turbo, plus there's this bootleg of mine that may never come out... really that's about it.”

Tiga's new single, 'Plush', is released on December 17th via Turbo.

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