Late Night Tales

31 March 2012 | 11:16 am | Nic Toupee

The music of local blues rockers Lone Tyger calls to mind country towns and dark nights.

Inpress' interview with Nick Tyger from blues rockers Lone Tyger reads more like a moment of revelation, as the singer/guitarist leads us from a country upbringing to his first acoustic fumblings, through to admiration for Grinderman and a cathartic moment at a Dirty Three set at Meredith two years ago.

“I fooled around for quite a few years playing acoustic stuff, country and folk,” he explains. “Then I went overseas for a couple of months in early 2010, to the States, and bought a little Fender amp. I'd never known much about amps or how to pull a good sound, but I always wanted to. I played this tiny little Fender amp in a shop in Reno and as soon as plugged it in I knew I'd found it. I thought it had every good sound I could ever use… You know, it's not even a very good amp and I don't use it anymore, but at the time I lugged this amp all the way around the States and brought it home.”

Nick recruited his brother Bates (bass) and friend Mick (drums) to join him in his blues rock reinvention, although neither of them had ever played their chosen instrument before. For the aesthetic he was going for, a raw beginning was preferable to recruiting seasoned blues players.

“I don't think we started out intending to play blues rock or… maybe we didn't know what we were going to play at all,” Tyger wonders aloud. “We always found we were lagging behind the beat a bit and our sound got bluesy from that, I think. The good thing about playing with people who hadn't played before is that we could build from a really good, simple groove with nothing too technical going on. I had found in the past when playing with session guys that they overplayed stuff too much. What I like is quite simple – as long as it's in time and has got feeling, it's cool, and we've stuck with that.”

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

When asked whether his sound follows the classic blues formula or the dirtier, grungier rock sound pioneered by bands such as Beasts Of Bourbon and Nick Cave, the penny drops for Tyger – it all comes back to Warren Ellis.

“I do like Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and that Grinderman sound – we're trying to be more blues rock than blues, definitely. And The Dirty Three… I'd never seen them play until the Meredith festival the year before last, and I think they're the best band I've ever seen live. They had that bluesy groove and drops, that ebb/flow. Ever since I've been following anything Warren Ellis does – I really dig his sound…” he trails off, and then concludes uncertainly, “I guess we are influenced by them. They're definitely a Melbourne band but they're also very worldly.”

Although they're both from Melbourne technically, what Tyger feels he shares with Ellis is that strange, dark spookiness that comes not from Australia's cities, but its empty spaces.

“I'm from the country and I know Warren Ellis is as well. I feel the country is far spookier and dark than the city, than Melbourne. I've never felt a massive connection with cities to be honest. I live here and play music here, but I think I'm more influenced by going back to the country. I get a lot of my imagery from the scenery down there. The landscapes… maybe that's something that influences my songs, that barren-ness. I've been hanging out in a place called Eurack; it's flat, fairly treeless, sheep-breeding country half an hour off the Princess Highway. It's barren, wind-blown, with a rickety old graveyard. I think those environments make my songs darkish: it always feels like night in my music.”