INTERVIEW: Kiss The Tiger Talks (And Premieres) New Video For “Vicious Kid” + Album

Pic by Craig Otto

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been? Can you talk to us more about your latest single “I Miss You”? Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Hey! We’ve been well, all things considered. Very excited to release this new album and to start playing some live gigs again 🙂 Let’s jump in! “I Miss You” was written from the perspective of a mother who has lost her child. We decided to write this song around a time when 45 was president and attacks on reproductive rights were resurfacing. Because abortion in particular is such a hot-button political issue, we wanted to write a song that de-politicized it and focused on the complex human experience of having to make that decision. What I love about “I Miss You” is that it straddles the line between grief and acceptance, and how we as humans oscillate between complex emotions when it comes to loss. There is a longing and a sadness to the song, but I think it also strikes a lovely balance of acceptance and hope as well. We hope that it can serve as a balm for those
who are experiencing loss in any way.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

The video for “I Miss You” is an animated story that follows a bird-parent after their young one leaves home. When I approached Eleonore Dendy, the illustrator and animator of the video, about creating a visual piece for this song I wanted to make sure that we made something sweet. Instead of conceptualizing a video around what we specifically wrote the song about, we pivoted to an adjacent sort of loss which is the experience for parents when young ones leave home. This idea of being an “empty nester” led to the idea of having the video revolve around a bird-parent and bird-child. Eleonore took it from there. I think she really captures all of the emotions of the song in a really simple and playful way. The video took me on a journey and even met me with some surprises which I hope other viewers experience as well.

The single comes off your new album Vicious Kid – what’s the story behind the title?

“Vicious Kid” comes from a lyric of a song that was actually cut from the album. It goes:

“Your ma and dad
They think I’m a child
I’m a vicious kid, but a lover all the while”

We really loved the juxtaposition of these two words together. I think the title perfectly captures the essence of this album and our band as a whole. We have songs like “I Miss You” and “Ghost Song” that are more sentimental and internal, but then there are songs like “You Are The One” and “Weekend” that have a heavier, more ferocious and playful sound. I think the album encapsulates ferociousness and vulnerability in the way the title suggests.

How was the recording and writing process?

The process of writing really happened over the course of a few years. We tend to write things as we are gigging or touring and allow the ideas to expand and accumulate as time goes on. So, by the time we scheduled our recording session we started to take those ideas and structure them out more. Many of these songs started with verse or chorus parts musically and then the lyrics were inserted later. “I Miss You” is one of those songs where the “I miss you/And you miss me and/That’s just how it’s gonna be” part of the verse was written lyrically and musically and then we filled in the blanks and created the story around that.

To me it felt like these songs wrote themselves in a way. There was a feeling with a lot of them that they were already written and needed to be discovered, like dusting around the dinosaur bones to find the entire T-Rex. I’m trying to find some sort of archeological metaphor here… haha… Or like solving a puzzle… we could feel that the final product was there and that it had a life and the songs just needed to be mined and explored and that really came with just sitting with things musically for the most part and letting the stories and lyrics unfold from the music.

What role does Minneapolis play in your music?

Minneapolis is an incredible music city with so many different types of artists creating and thriving here. There’s a spirit of community and support that I think is unique to the Twin Cities. People are passionate and supportive and collaborative and it doesn’t feel cut throat. It feels like we’re all really excited about what other musicians and artists are creating and I think it’s really important to be in a community like that in order to thrive and grow in a positive way. So I feel that Minneapolis has given us a lot of space and support to grow and be the best version of ourselves.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Like I said before it felt like a lot of these songs were already written in a way and were just waiting to get revealed by our curiosity and exploration. The first track on the album for example is called “Motel Room” and the only lyrical thing we had initially with the riff we created was the last line which is “Motel, motel, motel room” and so I sort of worked backwards on this one and created a scene between two people in a motel room trying to work through a secret affair and the toll it is taking on their relationship. “Hold On To Love” is also a song that had a chorus first and we worked from there, creating a story around not taking the loving relationships we have in life for granted. “Grown Ass Woman” is a song about the resilience and strength of women and as a front person who is a woman and an Asian woman I’m always trying to find ways to connect with and reflect that experience back to the audience. “Out Of My Mind” is about struggling with crippling anxiety, “Ghost Song” about working through family dysfunction, “Talk To Me” about not being able to connect with the person you call home. So the songs really encompass a lot of struggle and conflict and try to bring levity or clarity to those specific experiences. Some of them are just plain fun, “Who Does Her Hair?”, about a barista that one of bandmates had a super big crush on!

What else is happening next in Kiss The Tiger’s world?

We’ve got a lot of fun stuff in the books. A sold out show at the Hook & Ladder on May 8th for an outdoor summer series they’re doing called “Under the Canopy”, a monthlong outdoor residency in June at a venue called Icehouse. Some more smatterings of outdoor gigs throughout the summer, but I think we’re most excited to play First Avenue’s main room again on November 13th opening for The Hold Steady. It’s the rescheduled show from last year’s 50th Anniversary Celebration at First Avenue.

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RJ Frometa
Author: RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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