While I loved playing in Pillowcase and The Mass, the most fun I’ve ever had musically was in my last band: Tiger Tanaka. As I mentioned in the previous post, Sam (the bass player in The Mass) and I were getting more and more into metalcore. Especially Haste The Day and August Burns Red are two bands who drew me into the genre. When I got back from my internship in Burkina Faso, we started looking around for others who’d be interested.
Bram, one of Sam’s best friends, wanted to pick up vocals. Since Sam had switched from bass to guitar, we needed a bass player. We found him in Maarten, the third brother of Michaël and Matthias with whom I played in Pillowcase. Matthias himself wanted a different drum challenge and was keen to give metalcore a go.
Playing with Matthias again was amazing. As I’ve mentioned several times, neither of us were amazing musicians, but even after a hiatus of 4 to 5 years, it was evident that we had learnt everything we knew about music together. From the moment we started rehearsing for Tiger Tanaka, we clicked and I found tremendous joy in reconnecting both relationally and musically with my best friend from high school.
Maarten would often tag team with Jonas, who played bass in Pillowcase. Jonas had started playing the guitar in some new projects and was keen to pick up his bass again. Tiger Tanaka was 40-60% Pillowcase that way.
Having been liberated from the “burden” of combining lead vocals with guitar, I was able to fully focus on my riffs and have a lot of fun with them. As I rewatch the videos (see below) and look at the pictures while writing this post, it becomes evident that I’m smiling a lot; the joy of playing shows.
Sam was learning the guitar fast. So fast that in no time, he was teaching me things. That made the musical dynamic quite fun. Rather than having one lead guitarist as was the case with my previous bands, Sam and I would switch lead and rhythm, often based on who came up with the song, but just as frequently based on who was the most comfortable with the riff.
I had also started to play in “Drop D” which made our sound heavier but also made it super easy to combine power chords with little melodies in between. As a result of Sam and I constantly pushing each other and trying new things all the time, I think we got everything out what was ever in there. I was the best guitar player I’ve ever been while playing in Tiger Tanaka. And as I mentioned, I had the most musical fun I’ve ever had playing in that band.
While we did a lot of live shows, I regret that Tiger Tanaka never took to the studio. The only record of our music is from those live shows and from our rehearsals.
Live at Garagerock, Ghent
We took some videos with a (crappy) camera at our first ever show, Garagerock in Ghent. Unfortunately, the mixing and recording of the sound in those videos were of utterly poor quality. I hope it still shows some of the fun we had.
More under the videos
Live at YUMP, Kortrijk
Youth house YUMP in Kortrijk, the town where I was born, organised a show and Tiger Tanaka was invited to join. The sound engineer did a good job at mixing, but unfortunately there were some technical difficulties with the microphones, resulting in the sound dropping out fairly regularly. He tried to salvage as much of it as possible, but the result remains a bunch of songs with very odd interruptions.
Should you listen to any of it, just be aware of that. If you’re going to listen to anything, it should be “A Cat Born In The Oven Isn’t A Cake” for no other reason than the title. Oh, and for the extremely brutal outro, and I’m not just saying that so you’d listen until the end. It was the song we ended our setlist with to finish with a bang.
We also recorded some sessions in our rehearsal room but we didn’t have good recording tools and very few options to add a level of mixing to it. The result is recordings of poor quality, but they give an impression of what it’s supposed to sound like.
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