While there were numerous misinterpretations regarding Tigers Jaw’s future after 3/5 of the band parted ways in 2013, the band, however, never officially disbanded or broke up by any means. After releasing their highly-anticipated full-length, Charmer, on Run For Cover Records last summer, their remaining members—guitarist and vocalist Ben Walsh and vocalist and keyboardist Brianna Collins—continued forward with the help of their friend filling in as they toured in support of the new record alongside Pity Sex and Petal. While touring steadily since then, it goes without saying that the Scranton-based indie-pop punk outlet remains stronger than ever, and are still just as enthusiastic and excited about continuing the band full-time.
Not too long after I had the chance see Tigers Jaw play at GameChangerWorld in Howell right as they started their spring tour with Lemuria and Somos in the beginning of April, I caught up with Brianna Collins and discussed the latest tour, updates on the band’s contributions for an forthcoming split EP with Kevin Devine, along with their upcoming plans for the summer, which includes traveling to Brazil and Australia for the first time.
You’ve been on the road with Lemuria and Somos for the past few weeks. How have the shows been? How has this tour been treating you so far?
The tour has been amazing. The shows have been really good. All of the people who have been coming out have been very nice. It’s been a lot of fun.
I actually had the chance to catch you play New Jersey on the first week of the tour, and that was probably my first time seeing Tigers Jaw in almost three years. I know now it’s just you and Ben primarily left in the band. Would you say that lately, this lineup you have on tour is sort of your permanent lineup for now? Or do you normally have a lot of your friends fill in whenever you play?
Well, we’re really lucky that we have friends that are willing to play with us. Our friend Luke Schwartz is playing bass with us for the past like… I don’t know, however many tours. So there have been people who have been frequently playing with us, but yeah, we’re lucky that we’ve solid good friends that can help us out when we need it.
Right before your spring tour, you announced that you’ll be playing in Brazil for the for time this June, followed by an Australian tour right after. How did this opportunity come about?
First of all, it’s so great that we’re going to any of those places. But Brazil, I mean, it basically just takes one person to have the intuitive; like want to bring us over. I met [booking agent] Rafael Madeira in America—he had brought Title Fight over, and he and I talked about… obviously going to Brazil is like, you know, a dream, and that was that probably two years ago that we talked about it. Now it’s finally happening and I don’t know, I guess we’re just lucky that someone wants to see us play over there, and that is how it happened.
We have done two UK tours before and a couple of dates in Canada, but we’ve never done anything like Australia, or mainly in Europe or Brazil, so it’s going to be an adventure (laughs). It’s going to be fun.
Not to motion, you just announced that you’ll bringing Foxing with you to play Europe and the UK. Anything that you are looking forward to the most about that tour?
I am definitely really excited to see some of the friends that we have that live over there. My best friend moved over there a couple of years ago, so when we get to tour the UK, I get to see her; so excited for that.
I’m mostly excited to see a bunch of places that I’ve never seen before. I love the architecture in Europe—I went to art school, so I had to learn a lot about art history (laughs). And everything there is so old, so I am excited to like, see it in person instead of in a book.
Recently, have you got any advice from your friends who have toured previously internationally, or even maybe recommended any spots in Brazil or Australia to check out?
I know that Title Fight really loved Antwerp, Belgium, so I am excited to go there and hang out with some friends that we have there. I don’t know… I mean, they haven’t really said any specific things that we have to check out, but just overall that it’s going to be a crazy experience. Because it is definitely nothing like touring in America.
At this point is it safe to say, even with an interchangeable lineup and a lot of opportunities to play outside of the United States, that playing in Tigers Jaw full-time is still enjoyable as it was since you first returned from the brief hiatus?
We didn’t actually go on “hiatus.” That was definitely a confusing internet thing, like, I could totally understand why people thought we went on hiatus. Like, Ben and I never stopped wanting to do the band. You know, we’ve wanted to figure out how we could still make it work. Luckily, because of our friends playing with us… I don’t know, I think it’s crazy that we get to do this and still go to so many new places. It’s still something that we completely love doing, so I feel really lucky that we get to do it.
On that note, not too long ago, I heard that you were going to be putting out a split with Kevin Devin as part of the Devinyl Split Series. Is there a chance that this will be seeing the light of day anytime soon?
Yeah, it’s going to be the third one coming out. I am not sure if it’s going to be coming out in the summer or the fall, but I know we finished recording our song for it, and he finished recording his song. I can’t believe Kevin Devine asked us to do anything with him, so that’s really exciting.
Writing and recording-wise, are these songs any different musically or personally in comparison to Charmer?
Well, it’s pretty much the same. The thing is, Ben is amazing—he plays drums, he plays bass, he plays guitar—so when we recorded the song “Carry You Over” for Will Yip’s Studio 4 Compilation, that was a song that Ben wrote, and we talked together and figured parts for it and stuff. He recorded drums, guitar, bass, and we both did like, vocals and keyboards. That was the first thing that we did with “just the two of us,” because on Charmer, the other guys filled on it.
I don’t know, it was just so similar to that experience where we went in… working with Will is so amazing, he feels like another member of the band honestly. He just knows exactly what we kind of wanted to sound like, and the vibe is always really, really good, so it’s all always fun.
Ben actually recorded all of his parts in one day, and then I recorded my parts completely another day (laughs) because we couldn’t coordinate our schedules. But I don’t know, I am still stoked on how the song turned out, and I can’t wait for it to come out and to able to talk about it.
Do you think your fans will be just as excited about this track as they would be for Kevin Devine’s song?
It’s definitely a Tigers Jaw song. Like, I wouldn’t say that it strays away from the norm.
With that being said, will your contributions for the split be the first piece of new material you’re planning to release since Charmer?
Oh yeah, we definitely hope to record new material at the end of the year, or before the beginning of next year. I think we’re ready to put out another record once we do all of the tours that we have planned, and finally have time to focus on writing.
On that note, are there any new plans in the works for Tigers Jaw after you finish up your spring tour? Or will you be spending a lot of downtime until you start your cross-country adventure in the summer?
Well, definitely have another exciting tour in the fall, but yeah… that’s also a secret (laughs). We basically have our whole year planned out, which is something that we’ve never been able to do before because of school and other commitments.
Tigers Jaw will be playing at the Music Hall Of Williamsburg in Brooklyn on May 6, Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan on May 7 and Union Transfer in Philadelphia on May 8. For more information, go to tigersjaw.tumblr.com.