Check out the song: “Franko Spanko’s Greatest Hit”
Toronto’s own The Bulletproof Tiger put together one of the best math-rock albums I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. Wanna Kiss About It? is almost as good as the band’s live performance, capable of performing their recorded material to a tee with added energy every show The Bulletproof Tiger play is absolutely mind-blowing. A few weeks ago I emailed guitarist Drew Krech and he was nice enough to send a reply and to answer all my questions about The Bulletproof Tiger and the recording of Wanna Kiss About It?.
How did The Bulletproof Tiger get started?
Drew: The four of us have been friends since early high school and we’ve always been in bands together. When I met James he was just starting to learn how to play drums, and you can hear how great he has gotten, so we’ve really been playing together for a long time. We went through periods where we are all doing different projects (usually a combination of two or more of us), but I don’t think any of us have been in a band without at least one of the other guys. I think we’ve all really learned our instruments together which may account for the chemistry that we have when writing music, I don’t think a lot of bands have that sort of relationship. The Bulletproof Tiger was really just an attempt at capturing what we were doing in our different projects and putting it all in one band. This happened in summer of 2009.
What are your primary musical influences?
Drew: I can’t speak for everyone, but for me I would legitimately have to say that my primary influences are the other guys in my band. Like I said we’ve pretty much learned our instruments and developed our style together over many years, so really I mostly get inspired to write when I hear what someone else in my band has come up with. In terms of music that I listen to… well it’s all pretty far removed from what our band is doing. I do appreciate the math rock greats like Hella, Piglet, Don Cab etc. but for the most part I mostly listen to ambient and shoegazer stuff. I like a lot of indie bands from the 90s because that is what I grew up listening to. I do think in terms of technique that Piglet and Hella had the biggest the biggest impact on the way we’ve learned to play our instruments. I remember when we discovered those bands how amazed we were.
How does the song writing process usually work?
Drew: This varies. Sometimes someone will write a huge chunk of a song and present it to everyone at practice and we’ll just sort of pick it apart and write to it, organize it and add new parts. Sometimes we’ll just get drunk and jam and end up with a part that we all really like and use that as a base and build around it. Corey and I have written a lot of the songs just sitting around playing acoustic as well. I think most commonly though it will start with an idea (or ideas) from either Corey or myself and we’ll all just build off of it. It is really common for us to write a song that is just totally hectic and unorganized and spend a really long time removing things and restructuring so that it flows and actually resembles a song. Writing riffs is never an issue, most of the time is spent putting things together properly so that it sounds like something we’d enjoy listening to.
How long did you guys spend writing before recording?
Drew: Well, to be honest YWKAI? was written in two stages. probably about half of it was written in 2010 before we moved to Toronto. We were going to use those songs and record another EP, but things just got crazy and we weren’t able to devote the time to that. By the time we got settled in in Toronto it was 2011 and we decided to scratch the EP idea and write an album. We ended up writing 11 songs and I think we were finished with the writing around May of 2011. The rest of the year was spent recording and figuring out how we were going to release it. So it was basically a two year process, which I hope never happens again.
What was the recording process for You Wanna Kiss About It?
Drew: We recorded it in our living room using a handful of SM57s and a few condenser mics. We have a Presonus Firepod and did all the tracking using that and Ableton Live. We recorded all of the drums first, and then just went in and put all the guitars on top. We have a very simple process for recording, we don’t use click tracks or anything like that, someone just plays along with the drums until James gets a good take then we all just throw our stuff on top. Once tracking was done we sent it off to get mixed and honestly the mixing is the reason why the album doesn’t sound like garbage. It was a mess before mixing began and took a long time to get everything sounding the way we wanted it. Hat’s off to Greg Henkin, he is really good at what he does and we’re really happy that we got to work with him.
Check out the song: “Everything Popular is Wrong”
What does The Bulletproof Tiger have coming in the future?
Drew: The last few months have been sort of uneventful. After the CD release we all just sort of got lazy and took a bit of a break. Band practices and writing are starting back up now, and we’re booking some things in April and May. Hoping to do a good solid tour in the summer and have more recorded material by the end of 2012. Our label has been talking about doing a split or contributing to a comp so that will probably happen this year as well. Hopefully a vinyl version of YWKAI? will show up. We shot some footage for a documentary about DIY artists which should get released some time this year and has some amazing bands so keep an eye out for that. Also really hoping to get to tour with Giraffes? Giraffes! which we’ve talked about but haven’t been able to confirm any dates yet. Oh and probably another video or two.
What do you guys hope to accomplish with The Bulletproof Tiger?
Drew: Traveling. I think the genre hits a very small market, so unless Math Rock becomes hip in the next few years I don’t think we can ever expect to become superstars and make a ton of money or anything like that. But this project has allowed us to network with people in some very awesome places and the opportunity is there to get out and see the world. The label we’re working with now is based in Japan, so there is even opportunity to go out there at some point. I’m hoping we’re able to keep it together and get out and enjoy new things/places while doing what we love.