Tiga: Burning Bright

26 Jan


Canadian demigod Tiga has been touted a superstar DJ, fashion icon and one of the pioneers of the modern electroclash, acid-house sound. But is the Tiga James Sontag we see in videos and hear on his infamous podcasts actually him, or just a stage persona?

“I think it’s me,” he says quietly from his home in Montreal, Canada. “There’s obviously a little bit of exaggeration at times, but I think it’s fundamentally me. I decided a while back that I was best served wearing my character on my sleeve rather than hiding. Time will tell whether that was the right decision I guess.

“I think revealing more of myself gets me further than being reserved. For example with the podcast I’m just speaking my mind and talking. I dunno what it is, but it just seems to do well.”

You would be wrong to think that his music is anything but serious though, even if he is singing about shoes, hair and gloves on latest album, Ciao!

“Life is funny and I think that should kind of be there,” Tiga explains. “I find in the videos and podcasts, in the presentation, humour plays a big part; but in the music itself I try to avoid irony. I would never want someone to think it’s funny, especially on the dance floor, because I don’t think funny and sex goes very well together… I don’t think playing a track for people to dance to should be funny.

“But humour is definitely important to me… for me to try to remove that, trust me you don’t want to hear my serious tone. The world does not need my version of The Smiths.”

If you aren’t familiar with Tiga’s sense of humour, then head to his web site and check out the 60 Minutes-style interview spoof where he explains writing music is “ultimately a matter of trusting yourself, of having the courage to say, ‘These are the times, and these are the rhymes.’”

But as he said, the songs aren’t meant to be funny and it’s serious business when you have the likes of Soulwax, Jesper Dahlback, Gonzales, Finnish house DJ/Producer Jori Hulkkonen, Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears and LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy as your collaborators.

Tiga chats about the writing process with all these many different people.

“There were songs I wrote with Gonzales in Paris, which was like traditional writing where we just sat down with piano and vocals and just wrote a song. Something like Love Don’t Dance Here Anymore is something I played for days, and I envisaged Soulwax would do that. But other than it was more about friends sitting down in the studio.”

That closing 10-minute acid-disco epic is the best track on the album.

“That song is about questioning the future of my relationship at the time. It’s a song about that moment when you start to wonder. The realisation that there’s a good chance the relationship might be over. The idea behind that song is I wanted to end the album with it and have it just keep going and going…. for me it was about being a victim of that love.”

[Edited version published in The Wire, The West Australian, Issue 15, 03.09.09]


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