The first time I listened to the Real Live Tigers’ newest album “Denatured,” released in March, it was a dreary, rainy day. Unknowingly, I had chosen the perfect setting for this album that left me relaxed, mellow, and at times a little depressed.
Although depression isn’t normally considered a positive emotion, when being led by lead singer Tony Presley’s deep, rounded-out voice, it makes for some great time to for introspection. His voice gracefully drags along through the songs’ quiet melodies and slow beats, with female vocalist Paige Hermansen, whose soft sound adds to the calmness. It’s sometimes hard to differentiate the chorus from the verse, but that’s a much-needed treat in music nowadays. And so is this album overall, as it is extremely raw, filled with lyrics of a questioning, yet compassionate nature, with instrumental accompaniment that says the same.
Real Live Tigers will hold their album release party at Nightbird Books in Fayetteville on April 13. Presley himself has had an extremely active music career, and we wanted to hear about his successes.
Q: You have done a lot of traveling, what is that lifestyle like and why do you keep going back?
A: It’s definitely an addictive lifestyle and one that seems to go hand-in-hand with being an independent musician. No one’s going to go out of their way to listen to my music, so I literally have to bring it to their town and play it for them. There’s a certain rhythm to it that’s comforting to me, especially on longer tours. You find what routines work for you.
Q: Tell us the short history of Real Live Tigers.
A: I’ve been doing Real Live Tigers since 2004 and the name has been a catch-all for pretty much anything I’ve done musically, from traditional folk sets to noise sets to rock bands to whatever. I’ve released four albums, five EP’s and a live compilation since 2005 and toured a bunch.
Q: How do you describe the sound of your new album?
A: Denatured is really quiet, but also has some of the catchiest songs I’ve ever written. I definitely wanted this album to sound as different from Spirit Animal as possible, which was a full-band album that came out in 2011. So no electric guitars, bass, or drums, just organic instruments. It’s pretty much a sad country album.
Q: Tell me about recording it.
A: We recorded it in about two months at East Hall Recording, which is Chris Moore’s studio just north of Fayetteville. Spencer Lee and Paige Hermansen had been in my band previously and they came in and recorded some things on the album, but I also talked Jason Rich (from The Good Fear) into recording some lap-steel and Lorie Bromley into recording some violin parts.
Q: What’s in your future, and to be expected at your album release in Fayetteville?
A: I’m touring the U.S. until the beginning of July and then recording another album in Austin, Texas, this summer. Then I’m planning on touring Canada and Europe in the fall.
The Fayetteville show’s going to be fun. My buddy William Blackart’s coming up from Russellville, and Fayetteville’s Farmer and the Markets will be playing too. I’ll have two new Real Live Tigers 7” records at that show.