by Joanna Orland & Isla MC
A band that almost called themselves “Hot Sweater”, or “Monitor”, but opted for something more, je ne sais quoi…French? Formidable electro-punk band Le Tigre is comprised of Kathleen, Johanna and JD, who met each other on the field in the thriving feminist art / music scene of New York City. Issues surrounding feminism are integral to the band’s ethos and message, but it’s also about the music. “We have tons of influences. There are specific musical influences for each song. We like hip-hop, electronic music, sixties girl groups… but there are more conceptual art ideas that we borrow from and are influenced by.”
Describing their song-writing process, Le Tigre usually start with a beat, and then will work separately on a track, passing it around, each leaving their own idiosyncratic mark. “In three or four days everyone will have gone as far as they can on a track, and then we’ll work together for a couple of days. We’ll have a kind of show and tell, listening to everything, deciding what’s working and what’s not. “ They very much encourage other young musicians to set up their own home studios – “It definitely makes sense when you’re working with electronic music. It allows people to work cheaply, and whenever they want to, in the comfort of their own space.”
Here the interview was paused as JD experienced the full horror of the Scandinaian candy which had been provided for them. Her exact words were, “This is weird. I thought it would be liquorice inside, but it’s brown. Kind of minty and chocolatey… and salty. It’s straaaaange.” Yes, she had experienced Swedish salty liquorice. Ugh… my personal non-favourite.
Anyways, as we mentioned earlier, Le Tigre use their music as a means to express their political and social beliefs, one of which is obviously feminism. “Feminism encompasses a lot of different things for us, but our music also has a lot to do with being anti-Bush and being upset with the political climate right now. That’s one of the things we’ve ended up talking about along with other things like gay rights and racism. It was really interesting that when the record came out, people were saying they were glad we had moved away from feminism and stopped being so single-issue. But we think that war is a feminist issue. Over half the world is women, so who do you think is cleaning up the mess and weeping over the dead?”
So, there you have it people. Le Tigre – formidable, articulate, fiercely political. And their set was without a doubt our favourite of all we saw at Roskilde 2005. It was tight, raw, exciting, and the crowd went pretty damn crazy for it. One word to sum up Le Tigre? “Grrrrr.”