It’s all too easy for modern pop-punk/emo bands to throw a couple chords together with some relatable lyrics to garner millennial attention. We see it happen all the time. However, after nearly a decade of songwriting, Scranton’s Tigers Jaw has never shown the scars of this age-old mediocrity and continuously proves their dedication to their art. On newest record spin, the band has rounded out their catalogue, including fast-paced, classically distorted cuts like “Make It Up,” and newer sounding tracks like “Brass Ring.” As a whole, the album plays off like nostalgia with some fresh twists, the perfect mix of new creativity with comforting familiarity. This coming Saturday, Tigers Jaw are bringing their talents to El Club in Detroit in support of spin, and the Daily had the opportunity to speak with keyboardist/vocalist Brianna Collins (opposite Ben Walsh on guitar and vocals) about the new record and headlining tour.
“I guess what was most important to get across is that — I know for Ben and I — we knew what we wanted the record to sound like. I know Ben specifically always has a clear vision with tone and… we wanted it to be a cohesive record, but also give each song the individual attention that we felt it deserved,” Collins said of the goals for the new record.
These goals are ultimately what brought Tigers Jaw to greater heights on the new record. The album uses Tigers Jaw’s unique brand of dreamy emo-pop, making gorgeous use of Collins’s work on her keyboard. The album is just varied enough to make individual tracks — most notably “Bullet” and “June” — stand out on their own, while feeling cohesive in a complete listen. The dichotomy between Walsh and Collins’s voices has always added a distinctive dynamic to their music, and it’s exploited even further on spin. The record even features the first Tigers Jaw songs that are entirely written by Collins on her own, with drums and other compositional components added by the multi-instrumentalist Walsh. Collins’s original songs are a staple of spin that helps the record stand out from past efforts from the band.
“I think [spin] definitely differentiates because I’ve never been a primary song writer… I don’t think I’ve ever been as vocally present on a record. I think Charmer was probably the first record where we were considering adding harmonies and where my voice fit into it,” Collins said. “Dynamically, it’s not too different from how Tigers Jaw was before as far as like — you know — you have two different songwriters putting songs together in one record. It feels like Tigers Jaw to me.”
Collins also gave insight into her songwriting:
“It definitely was a crazy process for me, especially because I’m not like a strong guitar player, but I felt more comfortable writing songs on guitar other than piano. Rhythmically it made more sense for me… It was a lot of time and effort, but I’m really proud of the songs. They’re like my first three children, I guess,” Collins said followed by some laughter.
Having Collins take the reins on three tracks truly pays off on the record. Second single “June” shines brightly as one of the band’s most well-written melodies to date. The band consciously chose “June” for release ahead of the album to showcase her talents and involvement on the record. With their updated selection of music, Tigers Jaw shows an awareness of their fan base by planning a mix of all of their material to perform on this tour, sure to please fans both old and new.
“Because I know when I go to see a band — even if I’m so excited for their new record — it’s not the only thing I want to hear. So, I think we’ll definitely keep that in mind when we’re making our setlist. Some old favorites, maybe some songs from previous records that we haven’t played too often or haven’t played in a while to keep it fresh,” Collins assured.
After a year of scattered shows and a Riot Fest appearance, the band is excited to get back to what they love most: touring. With support from Saintseneca and Smidley (whose beautifully varied debut self-titled album happens to be one of the best releases of 2017 so far), the shows are certain to be nothing less than spectacular.
The intimate settings of club shows are often what are most exciting for bands, especially when they’re gaining popularity as quickly as Tigers Jaw. Community is important to the band, and they’re looking forward to chatting with old fans and meeting new ones at the shows.
“Obviously we enjoy touring. We love playing smaller shows that are more intimate. Like, after a show meeting people, seeing people that we’ve met over the however many — a decade, we’ve been doing this,” Collins said. “I’m definitely excited to do a tour — to just get in a van, different city every night, hanging out with our group of friends that we tour with. I just love the routine of it at this point. I love knowing kind of what you’re getting into.”
Collins continued to stress the importance of the music community in comparison to festival appearances:
“It’s a different vibe because people are obviously coming to the show to see your band or one of the supporting bands that you were a part of choosing for the lineup that you love too. So I feel that it’s like a community atmosphere, where you’re all there for a similar purpose.”
With their energetic live performances and gorgeous new material, there’s never been a better time to catch Tigers Jaw in performance. Coming to one of the best venues available to southeast Michiganders, Saturday night’s show will be an intimate, rewarding musical experience. Most importantly, it’ll be music coming from artists who love their craft.
“What’s most important to us with the band is that it’s something that we love doing.”