PREMIERE/INTERVIEW: Tiger Pussy release music video and drop some knowledge [Philippines]


“Punk rock isn’t safe, linear or boxed in and though we may have different preferences, we somehow manage to come up with a cohesive and consistent sound that’s different but still punk rock.”


PREMIERE | INTERVIEW
BAND | Tiger Pussy
https://www.facebook.com/tigerpussey

Our favorite interviews anywhere on the planet are always the ones where the interview takes on a life of its own. When the interviewees unload a lot of pent up thoughts and feelings. We as the interviewer pose a question and then sit back allowing a conversation to flow openly.

That’s exactly what happened when we sat down with the ladies who make up half of a phenomenal punk band called Tiger Pussy out of the Philippines. The band musically brings with them a cool twist to the traditional punk sound with a lot of twists and turns to keep us listeners on our feet. But it is their candid views on a variety of social issues – including issues with gender of course – that consistently keep grabbing our attention.

Both vocalist, Jan, and bassist, Shak, speak their mind and in doing so open our minds to the trials and tribulations of being part of an underground movement.

The band is about to drop their third full length Residuals on November 11 and have graciously allowed us to premiere the first track streaming below.

Prepare to be enlightened.


Geez ladies! That was hard work getting you all together! Hahahaha…can you give us a little background to the band for those unfamiliar with Tiger Pussy?
J: Shak and I have been friends for more than a decade now and initially, when I thought of starting this band, I shared it with her but she wasn’t available that time. Even until today, I can’t think of anyone else who gets  me like she does. 5 years into TP, some members have moved on to pursue careers, businesses and family life. But then the current lineup of the 4 of us (Shak, King, Banjo and I) got together and we’ve just been busy ever since. More prolific. I guess we just click.

S: Oh yeah also, to add to the band’s background, we currently have 2 full length studio albums All The Way and People You Hate. This will be our third full length.

From the onset was their a particular sound or message TP wanted to get out there? I feel the music you create is quite a mix of stuff and not necessarily just your standard punk rock by any means.
S: Sound-wise, the “punk” sound is the common denominator among us members because we listen to such a vast array of music. It’s very challenging to even make a song. It took a while to finally get that distinct Tiger Pussy sound. But, mainly through “punk” — the ethics, the message, is what we identify with the most.

It’s almost like a tv series, if I think about it now, the journey of songwriting and how it has evolved. Because at first, it was heavily themes of teenage angst. As conveyed in TP’s very first song : WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG (YOU CALLED EVERYONE A BITCH). That was like Season 1 Tiger Pussy. Where there is this young woman discovering the weight of the world through the people around her. Whereas our second album People You Hate was about clarity, self-awareness. There is still anger in there, it never ever leaves I guess. But the growth is evident, even soundwise, the album is darker. On the first one, it was like all the songs were about other people, the second record was about self-reflection, self-examining almost to the point of madness — or going back and forth between madness and sanity. On the third album, Residuals. I don’t want to think that it is the end of a trilogy. I want to still believe that our growth is exponential. Musically, a bit different from the previous releases, we are leaning towards rock. To teach or show young girls all the possibilities of them creating, without them having to worry or fear that it is not going to be accepted or acknowledged.

J: Punk rock isn’t safe, linear or boxed in and though we may have different preferences, we somehow manage to come up with a cohesive and consistent sound that’s different but still punk rock. It’s not as complicated as it sounds haha. It’s just that we’ve always known what we wanted. We still can’t put a finger to it but whatever it is, that’s what we are.

Both of you are quite vocal online regarding a variety of issues – sometimes getting quite strong reactions. Do you think that in this day in age there seems to be less rational discourse taking place?
S: For me, as the access to expressing opinions got easier, the more people got reckless to be honest. And less accountable of the things that they do or say online. But I’ve also noticed that because of this, a lot more people, especially us as a band or people like us who create things for the public, feel the overwhelming responsibility of turning that around. Not only by calling out whatever we think seems wrong but also how to (somehow) influence or change people’s minds, give them another perspective.

However, it’s still a long way to go. But that’s why we’re very motivated to keep creating.

That’s what punk/hardcore should be about at the end of the day. But with the world so fixated on “likes” etc it seems people are less eager to stir the pot and more interested in keeping the peace. It’s almost like people have lost the ability to be able to have meaningful dialogue.
J: It is a luxury and a responsibility to create art (in whatever form) especially if your goal is to be heard. Luxury, because not everyone has the time to pursue it. Responsibility, because whatever you put out, someone somewhere will be influenced by it.
That’s why we mainly focus on the nuclear level, the self. It’s sometimes hard to sing about the world when there’s a war inside you.

In the end, if you want change, start with yourself.

S: I don’t think people who stay silent are trying to keep the peace. It’s tricky out there. I feel that some of them are protecting themselves. There is a wave of consciousness happening in the world today. A lot of people are turning inward. As Jan said. Sometimes, the longer you fight whatever it is surrounding you, you get worn down.

TOTALLY. 

S: Everything you say will be translated in a thousand ways by thousands of people anyway.


“There is a wave of consciousness happening in the world today. A lot of people are turning inward.”


What have been the biggest issues you guys have addressed recently that have given you the most grief?
S: We have been around the scene so long, as women, especially being women, we feel outnumbered and mostly treated unfairly. But even if it has caused much “grief” in our personal lives, these are things that give us purpose. As 30 year olds, it almost feels like a UNIQUE POWER: to be in a position in society where people actually listen to us. Especially, younger people. To have these younger people come up to you and say they hear you, they connect with you, they write about you in ways you never even thought about yourself is amazing.

J: And we’re glad that King and Banjo [guitarist and drummer of TP], though not that well versed with the concepts and movements in feminism, they understand.

S: Yes, the guys in the band are great! 🙂

Can you speak about feeling outnumbered?
S: It’s a funny thought because there are literally more women than men in the world. But as women who do the things that we do, we feel there isn’t enough.

J: And not just in the ‘scene’.

S: Yep, in the creative field as well.

J: For me, it still feels like a man’s world.

S: I’ve noticed, especially in the 3rd world, that this is something that should be given most importance. To teach or show young girls all the possibilities of them creating, without them having to worry or fear that it is not going to be accepted or acknowledged.

Because even in 2017, as adults ourselves, we still go through it. We have to empower ourselves and each other and it would be a dream to live in a time where females can express freely and feel safe at the same time.


“To teach or show young girls all the possibilities of them creating, without them having to worry or fear that it is not going to be accepted or acknowledged.”


Totally. It’s ridiculous that in 2017 the music that we’re part of is still so heavily dominated by men. Like seriously – we’ve heard the male point of view. We got it. But do you also think that not enough women are taking part? And why do you think that is?
S: Yes, not enough women for sure. When I said I feel outnumbered, that is why. I honestly do not know. I can only assume, that as a woman, we still heavily rely on society’s standards. It also goes back to childhood and how different women are brought up.

Jan mentioned that being in the creative field is a luxury. And responsibility.

Culturally, growing up going to public school, I was taught such backwards bullshit I can’t even believe it now. The only way I got out of that mentality was through a lot of courage spending time with radical people, a lot of literature, music, and art. That was the only way I was about to break out of that norm.

So it’s almost like while you were in your 20’s you were in the process of unlearning that crap you were conditioned to think.
S: Definitely so. It was probably most intense in my late 20’s. When you have had so much thrown your way, and a lot of things are still coming at you at full speed, there is no choice but to be radically changed.

You either gotta face it, accept it as it is, or be wise enough to believe that there is so much more to be learned.

Which makes the fact that your band exists with such strong determined women so much more poignant. Does that sense of responsibility ever get too heavy?
S: As we got older it also began to feel heavier. The past few weeks, we were trying to finish recording our album on time. Jan and I were talking about what the direction of the band was gonna be, not in the “career” sense of it, but in the whole theme and message. The last album, People You Hate, was very heavy in a personal standpoint. Jan wrote songs that scared the hell out of her. Mainly because those songs were experiences, and as years went by after we released it, we found out that everyone who listened to it, related to it on a deep level.

That shit was scary to know. You go out become a band hoping people will hear you. It just dawned on us that the scariest thing to happen to an artist, is when people actually listen, discuss, ask questions, and challenge your work.

This is when you feel the sense of responsibility mixed with self-consciousness sink in. And that is not easy.

It is scary but very very satisfying. We feel we are doing important work. That what we’re doing actually matters.

J: And I thought People You Hate was scary. Residuals is much more terrifying like truth and honesty. I don’t mind dwelling in the dark. Sometimes that’s how you can better see the light. But this album is less angry and centered more on being accountable. It took me/us a while to realize how important that is. Maybe it comes with age. Maybe the mirror has been rubbed.

S: That is so true. As years go by things tend to get clearer. And time feels rather short. So there is a sense of urgency in the creative process but we also start giving more value to being transparent. It’s like we’ve finally come to terms with our place in our lives. That as creatives, our strength lies in our vulnerability, however oxymoronic that may sound. And we can use the weaknesses that we have to actually tell stories and connect with people to empower them.

If People You Hate is all about acknowledging your flaws, Residuals is having to go through the process of coping and finding ways to commit to getting better. Even when it’s hard.

J: Back to your earlier question regarding if there aren’t enough women taking part. It’s not that there aren’t enough women. Sometimes, women can be sexists too. Sadly. And we don’t have a problem with the male POV and the term ‘brotherhood’ but when it just gets saturated and imposing, that’s the problem. Confidence, being real and proud and strong, those are great characteristics to build on but that’s not all there is to empowerment.

What do you mean by women can be sexist too?
S: She meant mysoginistic against other women.

J: Just like what Shak said about what she had to unlearn. Maybe some of them haven’t had the chance yet.

S: Women, like men, so let me say people, most if not all people have the tendency to judge something they are not used to, or things that make them uncomfortable. I don’t want to label it mysogyny really because I don’t think it is. At some point, in my young life, I also judge other women based on what they do. Their output, attitude, beliefs. My judgment is based upon how I was raised and made to believe that THIS IS HOW IT IS. THIS IS HOW A WOMAN SHOULD ACT. If they do otherwise, they deserve judgment. I had to grow up and be subjected to the same judgment to finally understand that it is not black and white.

As a man reading this there are so many things both of you have raised that really is challenging what I thought knew about women in bands and/or women involved in punk/hardcore. Thanks for taking the time to be so candid!

So you two have touched upon the new record above. Musically was their any conscious decision to move in a certain direction or to try anything new?
J: We have a slow song. It’s unlike anything we’ve done before but knew that we’d eventually come up with.

S: Ever since Tiger Pussy started, the thing is there has been no long term goal. We thrived on going through the motions. Our next step is being decided by our previous decisions and what opportunities are being presented now. Everything is organic. We sat down, and we made a bunch of songs. When we toured Manila 2-3x a year, that also helped. Because we gained so much motivation being around people who believed in us like hella supported us so much.

Yeah – playing live can definitely impact whether or not you keep a song or at least whether there are parts that need to be altered. Were their any tracks on this new album that you guys tried out live first and then had to adjust it based on reaction?
S: Music-wise, it just kinda happened the same way as before. We sit down in sessions churning out whatever we feel like playing.

J: It took us almost 4 years to complete this album. Our 3rd, we made that in 3 months!

There’s been a lot of rewriting and reconstructing. A lot could happen in 4 years and that reflected so much the progression of the songs.

S: I think touring proved that we didn’t really have to change anything. It still surprises us how people can dance to True Love as much as our heavier songs

Woah…4 years is a long time to sit on a bunch of songs. Lyrically are there any tracks that really hit close home to you? Like songs where you surprised yourself that you’d pen those lyrics?
J: Hahaha…sometimes it’s funny when people realize they’re dancing to something…’deep’. And then dance some more. It’s a beautiful release! Hits close to home…I don’t know where to start. Seriously, I don’t know what I would do without these guys. Tiger Pussy saved my life. These songs are like the things you think about before going to bed, on a long drive, eating alone. Your silence.

What do you think it is about punk/hardcore that brings a lot of people with broken childhoods/life experiences to pick up a mic/guitar and talk about their experiences?
J: License to go all out. And not just with punk hardcore: Music. Art. You can be real for a moment.

S: It’s almost romantic in a way. Life is hard. Where is the lie to that? Some people’s lives are harder than others but still, what binds us together in this realm of punk/hardcore is the fact that you can speak out. It is a place, a space of freedom when there is none. And then there are people like you. People who feel you, hear you, relate to you. There is power in that. It’s funny because as women who feel at times, outnumbered, this is a place where we feel safe and heard. Acknowledged. Welcomed. Like a family. You don’t necessarily love each other all of the damn time. You don’t always agree. But you come home to family. For me, this is what punk/hardcore feels like.

In light of all the reports regarding sexual predators (scum) like Harvey Weinstein, etc., which everyone has always know is part of the world to which they belong where their misogynistic behavior is always brushed under the carpet, what are your thoughts about all of this?
S: Rape is about sex but it is also about power and control. That guy is one of the most powerful men in entertainment and he took advantage of his position. It sucks because it seems like with a colossal persona like that it makes it so difficult to hold him accountable for his actions. Just like with Bill Cosby. It took more than 10 women to come forth before allegations could even be made. There are also even news about some bands allegedly doing the same thing to their fans. It takes a lot, a lot of support and encouragement to the victims to make them feel safe about taking the right action. What’s sad is the fact that there is even such a thing as victim-shaming, victim-blaming. It makes things even harder for the victims. The trauma they had to endure and the judgment they have to face. It’s a cold reality. We have not yet achieved that amount of fairness in terms of that. We are not there yet. I do know the only thing we can do is to speak up about it. It is happening. And it will continue. But silence and brushing it under the rug won’t help either. Making people aware, especially younger women – to what they can do to protect themselves and where to go, who to talk to about it. Raising better men and women. Erasing the stigma. It’s like education, it’s neverending.

J: And the amount of people who care isn’t enough to change and break the chain of pain by generations and generations of suppresion. There’s always, though not at all times acknowledged, a frustration to just simply be… woman. feminine. We’ve tried to survive this patriarchy. And we know it’s not working. But there is some sort of a global awakening in the air. A renewed understanding of the feminine. I’m excited for what’s next though I know I won’t live long enough to witness a grandeur of enlightenment.

And if the soul is real. I wonder how that relates to how depression is often hereditary and common with women and feminine identifying. Pain manifesting in the physical.

Okay – this is one of the most incredible conversations I’ve had and so enlightening. Thank you for these incredibly thought-provoking answers. Any last words?
S: I’d like to thank you for doing this interview. For asking the right questions, having us get out some things off our chests. Haha…

The work is never done and it never ends. There were many times when Tiger Pussy almost split. As many bands can also relate to this, sometimes life catches up with us. The thing is, when you truly try to understand each other no matter how different y’all are, things will always work out.

J: I felt like the album isn’t complete yet. There’s so much more to say. So, thank you for giving us this platform.

UniteAsia.org is an underground Asian music news website created for the sole purpose of supporting our own world. We support all bands and genres HOWEVER we do not support nor have any sympathy for homophobic, racist, sexist rhetoric in lyrical content or band material. UNITE ASIA!

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