MY LOCKDOWN: Tigress (Tom Harrison)

Credit: Rebecca Need-Menear

During these unprecedented times, lockdown has meant that we are spending most of our time inside with only ourselves, or our very closest, for company. As it looks like the world won’t be returning to normality for the foreseeable future, we thought we would find out how our favourite bands are handling things, what they’re getting up to, and tips and advice they could share.

Chelmsford rockers Tigress are back with their new grunge fuelled desert rock single ‘Choke’ that explores the pitfalls of consumerist culture and the rise of social media addiction, and flourishes through fuzzy guitars and hip-shaking rhythms.

We caught up with guitarist Tom Harrison to talk about his experiences during the national lockdowns.

DP!: How are you managing lockdown?
Tom: It’s been really shit that the live music industry has basically shut down and we can’t tour. It feels weird being at home for so long just ground to a halt. So, we’ve been trying to keep active still – Sean and I have been using Google Hangouts for workouts together. Go hard or go home, but the noises that get made when you’re on your tenth push-up can be pretty weird. The neighbours probably think something else is going on, haha.
The band’s managed to stay quite productive still; our mate Aidan made us an animated music video for our new single ‘Choke’, which came out looking amazing. Our producer Adrian Bushby was dealing with all of the mix revisions for ‘Choke’ at the same time too, poor guy. He loves it though. It makes you realise how much you can get done even when you’re not in the same room with everyone.

DP!: Are you on lockdown on your own, or are you with friends or family?
Tom: I moved into my girlfriend’s flat at the start of lockdown in March. She has to deal with all my music gear around the place, but I have to deal with her Disney obsession so it balances out well. All the other guys are with their families, partners or guinea pigs, so I think everyone is OK.

DP!: How do you personally feel the government is handling it so far?
Tom: I think they’ve handled it pretty badly so far – there are too many rules that haven’t been expressed clearly enough. The Dominic Cummings tour made everyone lose all respect for them, too.
The comment about telling people in the performing arts to retrain was a joke. Do they not think we’ve had jobs on the side to fund our creative work all this time? People need art and music to get them through these difficult times. I bet Rishi’s been consuming all sorts of media over lockdown. Maybe he’d like to listen to ‘Choke’?

DP!: What have you been doing to keep yourself entertained?
Tom: I took part in an online beer pong tournament with loads of other bands back in May. I was the Tigress representative and Ryan from Trash Boat knocked me out in the first round. In my defence, he didn’t use ping-pong balls and instead opted for scrunched up tin foil, which was an absolute disgrace. We’re cool though – he’s a really nice guy and it was a laugh. But after that defeat, I’m amazed I’m still in the band to this day, to be honest.

DP!: Have you been using the time to write and/or record any new music?
Tom: Yeah, and there’s nothing worse than when you send a song idea over to the band Dropbox and no one responds for ages. After 5 minutes I’m convinced they must hate it. A week later, I’ll get a text that says something like ‘this riff fucking slaps!!’ But it’s agony until then.

DP!: Has the extra free time in lockdown (if any) allowed you to pursue other hobbies and interests? If so, what?
Tom: At the start of the first lockdown in March, we all spent a lot of time on ‘Animal Crossing’. I got into it but nowhere near as much as Katy and Sean – they’re obsessed and were building Japanese gardens and providing Blathers with every breed of fish imaginable. I think I ended up with a house and a few plants, and some Jock villager who kept trying to get me to drink protein shake with him.
In the real world (not ‘Animal Crossing’ anymore) I’m also a giant guitar nerd, so I built a new pedalboard. It was the perfect time to sort some new sounds out for the online-streamed gigs that we did over lockdown for Five4Five Fest and Hotel Radio. It’s felt strange not performing to an actual crowd but you can still interact with people watching from home in between songs. It’s nice to find out if anyone’s trashed their room after a heavy track!

DP!: Have you been working in the meantime to help you through financially?
Tom: Yes, I teach guitar during the day, which works really well alongside the band. It’s all gone online during lockdown, so maybe I’ll be able to teach a guitar lesson from a venue toilet next time we’re on tour like a pro!

DP!: Any tips or suggestions for others to keep themselves entertained?
Tom: Try learning a new skill or get on some Zoom quizzes with your mates. I watched all of the Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings films again, which took approximately 732 hours. 13/10 would recommend.

DP!: Any advice for people who may be struggling mentally?
Tom: I always feel loads better after a long walk or a bike ride. Being inside for too long can really mess with your head. Check-in with friends and family and don’t be afraid to tell them that you’re struggling; they’ll want to help you. Even just sending each other memes will help!

DP!: Final words?
Tom: Listen to ‘Choke’ – it’s a banger!

The band’s new single, ‘Choke’, is out now.

You can keep up-to-date with the band online over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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