Tigers on Trains is a two piece band from Long Island, New York consisting of Mason Maggio and Christian Van Deurs. They have been getting quite a lot of attention over here, and we were lucky enough to be granted the opportunity to do an interview with them. This is their first official interview as a band, and we hope you guys enjoy it as much we did!
There is more to these two men then the music they make. Their answers are incredibly insightful and thoughtful and even at time, humorous. Tigers on Trains is in a word, brilliant and it is with great hope and eager paws/hooves that more ears will allow the hearts below them to flutter with emotion and the mind above to indulge itself in creative thought. While they may be new to the music scene, Maggio and Van Deurs are wise beyond their years – the proof is in the lyrics, the melody and the delivery.
Be sure to check out their music and keep an eye out for these guys! Listen to some songs below from their full length Grandfather:
A Year In The Garden Shed
Here’s the interview, click below for the rest and enjoy!
Wolves Among The Sheep: Alright, let’s begin with some background information. How and when was Tigers on Trains born? Were you two friends beforehand or did the music bring you together?
Mason: Well we’ve been good friends since 9th grade, a couple years before we started this project, but it was definitely music that brought us together. We met through a mutual friend and the first thing I said to Christian was “Wanna join an emo band?” The first thing he said to me was “No.” This repeated a few times until we actually became friends and started playing together. We were in a couple of “bands” together until we decided (in October of 2006) that all we needed were two acoustic guitars and our voices to make the music that we wanted to make.
WATS: What the story behind the name of the band? Do you guys love animals as much as we do?
Love is a strong word. But both of us definitely respect animals, and appreciate their wide range of skill sets. The name of the band came from a lyric in one of the early songs we wrote (before Tigers on Trains existed), entitled “Indian Ocean.” There’s little chance of anyone ever hearing that song. But lyrically the “tigers on trains” were a metaphor whose meaning was quickly forgotten, if it ever had one.
“That’s one of the things that’s great about art. You can create something out of thin air, something totally unrelated to reality, and that can carry an emotional power of its own and evoke that feeling in not only the listener, but also the artists themselves.”
Today, February 4, 2010 is Pick Apart The Past: Wolves Among The Sheep’s one month birthday! It may seem like a month is not monumental enough to be celebrating but for us, it is a pretty big deal. We entered this vast and intimidating world of blogging with, I can truly say, no expectations what-so-ever.
We are beyond grateful for the minds that have been curious enough to pay us a visit, the eyes that have been interested enough to read our words, the ears that have trusted our opinions enough to listen, the fingers that have been generous enough to share us with others that are way out of our reach and to the blogs that have been nice enough to befriend us in our fetus-like days. We thank you from the bottom of our wild and slightly animalistic hearts and we appreciate you all immensely and please always feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions – they matter to us!
To all of the bands that have created music that is too beautiful to not be hunted, chewed, digested and praised – we thank you as well because none of this would have been inspired without your music. Especially to those musicians who have been wonderful enough to contact us, let us know that they have stopped by and offered words of encouragement – it means more to us than you will ever know! Thank you.
I would also like to thank my blogging half; it has been a long, slightly bitter but entirely enjoyable experience, which without you and your do-er and push-er ways, I would never have had the pleasure of becoming a part of. You are so annoying the best!
In exactly a month, we have had the privilege of featuring music from 21 bands which include:
and the days only look brighter from this point forward! We have a few new ideas in store for the future along with tons of music to discuss and we can not wait to let it all unfold – we only hope that you continue to stick around! Yes, you! You! You! You gorgeous creatures!
Forever blogging and feeling,
The Wolf & The Sheep
One of the best things about having the original version of a song is being able to compare it to a demo version or a remixed version when a band is kind enough to share it with you. In this case, one of my personal favorite tracks on The Republic of Wolves’ EP His Old Branches (#1 EP of 2009)The Clouds, has been released as a demo with a link to a free download on Gregg Andrew Dellarocca’s – one of the five wolves’ – tumblr page.
This song brilliantly covers a wide spectrum of emotions ranging from what seems to be experiencing, dealing with and attempting to move on from loss. As the song begins, we are immediately introduced to inevitable death in the face of what was once patient hope. The inability to comprehend and accept the concept of ‘being without’ follows shortly after, where alcohol is introduced as a method to erase what realities are present and flood the mind with the delusion that the taller the bottle, the easier it will be to bring back what is missing. The ‘floor’ (or ‘ghost’ in the EP version of the song) gives no response to the main character’s attempts at finding closure through carrying on conversation with open space and though his attempts are tireless, they are fruitless as well and it is then that he begins to realize that there is no changing the certainty of death. There is, at this point, an immediate shift in the mood of the song, which is complimented by the sound itself – no longer attempting to stretch the realms of reality and giving rest to the inner battle that one faces when trying to achieve the impossible – the song hits a cathartic stride. What is left to bring back memories of what is lost is to be buried, hidden and tucked away – not to be forgotten but to be done because it is necessary for rescue, release, rebirth and growth. However, what takes a piece of us remains a part of us forever – so, no matter how deep we bury our memories, we never actually bury them deep enough to let go completely – ‘and they will stay there underground but no matter what I do I never will stop talking to you.’
(At least, that is how I interpret the song, have a listen and let us know what you think!)
I still see your face in the day.
And I see your eyes in the bottle that was way too tall
I finished it just to see if we could talk.
Now I’m speaking with the floor again
It’s telling me that I don’t listen.
What do the singers of Bon Iver and The Antlers have in common?
That low, scratchy growl of a voice, of course!
One day, while the wolf and the sheep were hard at work discussing the best albums of 2009, the obvious choice for #1 was Brand New’s Daisy. Brand New is our ULTIMATE band. We could probably share some crazy stories about things we’ve done for this band, but maybe another day. It’s pretty much Brand New over everything else in life for us. At least, that is how it is on most days. Not on this day though, because the wolf said to the sheep, “I hate to break it to you, but my favourite album of the year was by The Antlers.” Jaws dropped and so did the (chat)room temperature. The sheep was enraged. The wolf was scared with its claws ready to defend as the sheep wanted to pounce.
Clearly, 2009 tested our musical tastes and dedication to our favourite band. Even thought my love for Brand New will float on and on, I find that I am less.. well, obsessive, about them due to the new sphere of music that I have opened myself up to. Upon hearing His Old Branches a 2009 EP released by what can be considered our breath of fresh air band – The Republic of Wolves (You’ve got to hear this band!), the sheep exclaim— I mean, bah-ed loudly, : “I AM SO OVER BRAND NEW RIGHT NOW”. The point is, there comes a time for every music lover when you begin to explore the world of music beyond your safety point (ie Brand New, which held me over for years). You begin to explore new music and sounds and the feelings these new artists invoke. 2009 marked this for me. I’m not sure if it is because I moved away to university and became more independent in life overall (a milestone, really) and therefore was more brave to try new things, or simply because the same old tunes weren’t cutting it for me. Either way, my life has been blessed with new sounds to enjoy, and I will be grateful for this beyond the day when my children pick up the same CDs I bought this year and fall in love with them the same way I did.
Among these CDs, there will be a copy of Hospice. This was an album that I had to get used to with every listen. Thankfully, each listen did not feel like a chore (such as trying to like the new Taking Back Sunday albums back in the day…..). I was trying something new, now forcing myself to like something I was already dedicated to. I was intrigued by the new art. The thing that interested me the most about Hospice is that it is a concept album and tells a story chronologically with each song. I was introduced to the song Two in a mixtape I received from a certain big-toothed individual who runs this blog. There were 17 songs on that mixtape and this was the only one I listened to for days (sorry wolf). I hate to say this, but it was beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful! So much beauty in 6 minutes that it could make you cry. I had a hard time getting into the rest of the album because the bar was set so high due to my repetitive listens of Two (iTunes play count: 62)
As for me, I am beyond excited to see The Antlers this February as they make a stop in Toronto with The Editors (The Editors on Myspace). As for the Wolf, she has been lucky enough to see them already, and could only describe it as the most beautiful show she’d ever been to. Now, please note that, even though we use the world “beautiful” a LOT on this blog, does not mean that we use it lightly. We use it because it is the perfect word, and we mean it every time.
I can wrap up all this personal junk with saying that The Antlers have been a big deal for me because they are a new sound for me. They have been a band that allowed me to expand and test my boundaries of what i allow my ears to hear. In my life, that is a pretty big deal.
Their latest full length album, Grandfather came out this past August, as their fan-base increased at a rate which was probably exponential. This is due to the youtube-brand new-fiasco (Google it?). At least, that’s how we shamelessly discovered them (Ok, maybe there’s a little bit of shame considering we didn’t discover them earlier .. But whatever, it’s great music). The two guys, Mason Maggio and Christian Van Deurs, have also started a new project, called The Republic of Wolves. Their first EP (His Old Branches – check it out if you know whats good for you and your ears) dropped last month with a beyond smooth landing.
Along with the simplicity of our love for this band, so is the strumming of their guitars – which must be endowed with magical powers – in practically all their songs. All of their songs, new and old, have a serious folk sound – so much damn strumming and nothing else! No piano, no drums, just strumming along. For someone like me who is tone/pitch deaf and overall musically retarded (what am I doing writing a music blog?), their songs do not tend to differ from each other musically. But this simplicity just WORKS for Tigers on Trains. That is because the beauty of their music lies within the lyrics and the simple raw transition of emotion into instrumental sound. These men have the ability to isolate a moment so beautifully that the music is all you care to hear.
There is now a new demo on their myspace, Canossa:
And sure enough we spent the day
Dreaming of ways to make the past come back
We drew the sky up on the wall
You drew the sun and I drew the clouds
That’s when I realized I was casting all this shade
As for us, we are still trying to wrap our heads around how two guys that are this young (they must be at least under 25), are capable of thinking such complex thoughts and creating such beautiful words and music; It is at the level of someone who has gone through life and figured out all of the great questions of what it means to be alive. They must have a hell of a life filled with a mountain of heartache!
My last thoughts for you; trust me when I say that that best way to spend a lonesome snowy day is in bed under a warm blanket while listening to Tigers on Trains.
We care for one thing here - to share sounds and words and melodies and ideas that are so beautiful, they'll make you want to fall apart and sleep forever.
Come say 'Hi!' at: firstname.lastname@example.org we don't really bite (that hard) or shed (that much) despite being creatures who hunt and graze for fun! Regardless of whether you love or hate what you see here, we hope that you find what it is you are looking for, eventually.
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PS: We apologize in advance that we are a little too addicted to using emoticons.. Nobody be thrown off, its all in good spirit! :D
The MP3's posted on this blog are intended for previewing purposes only. If you ENJOY what you hear, do what you can to support the band (purchase a CD, go to a show, buy some merchandise, invite the band to a sleep over, have the lead singer sign your face then get it tattooed, etc). If you HATE what you hear, turn the volume down and get over it! More importantly, if you represent an artist or a label and would prefer that we take down an MP3, please email us at email@example.com and we'd be happy to!