Track By Track: My Tiger My Timing’s Guide to ‘Celeste’
Dive into an exclusive track by track guide to My Tiger My Timing's debut album 'Celeste' - which is out on 2 July via Snakes and Ladders. The record's preceded by single 'The Gold Rush', out 25th June...
We liked this song as an album opener because it goes from small and floaty to big and bouncy and shows the different sides of what we do musically, a bit like an overture. The song is about spending your whole life trying to get to something or somewhere, and then finally arriving and finding out it's not what you'd expected - "your heaven is a wasteland". The main refrain of the song says "I want to go to that place..." - I wrote those lines listening to music late at night and realising that actually, the place I wanted to be wasn't anywhere physical, it was actually inside the sound.
2. Written in Red
We released this as our fourth single last autumn - it was actually a much older song we used to knock around in practice, kind of chilled out and baggy, but we revved it up and gave it a bit of a new wave feel. The song is about the promises you make to someone you love, and I was also thinking about love as a kind of cold war between two opposing sides - can you love and hate at the same time? The song was partly inspired by a story I read about the "Romeo and Juliet of Sarajevo" who were lovers from opposing sides killed as they tried to escape together during the Bosnian war in the 90s.
3. The Gold Rush
This is going to be our next single and I think it's maybe the most expansive and ambitious song we've done so far. It's a similar theme to Wasteland - the idea of dedicating all your life to something and journeying so far only to get there and find it all gone. In the Gold Rush in America in the 1850s, people would leave their homes and loved ones and make the dangerous journey across the country to try and find gold in California, but often the mines were already bare by the time they arrived. But the real message of the song is that sometimes you already have the gold - be that your sound, your happiness, a girl, a boy - and you don't even know it. You can be so intent on looking for the prize that you actually let it slip through your fingers.
4. Let Me Go
This is one of the oldest songs on the album but still one of my favourites. I wrote this around a kind of dancehall drum beat, just singing the kind of schoolyard melody over bare drums, and I like the call and response feel. We slowed this right down for the album version and wanted to get this sort of swaggering Happy Mondays in Scandinavia feel! As with a lot of our songs, it's about always being in love with the wrong person, trying to escape from the destructive tendencies of your own heart - "I am just a prisoner locked inside a ribcage". Plus it has my favourite tuned toms all over it.
5. After School
Continuing on the school theme - this is one of the more delicate moments on the album, initially at least until it drops in with a big old dubstep dive! The best thing about writing an album is having space to explore different sides of your sound, rather than just having to be direct and to the point as with a single. It's about that dream we all have from time to time where you're back at school - I had the idea that I actually knew more then than I know now, that in growing up I have somehow lost the ability to see the world in a pure light. This track nearly drove me mad when I was producing and mixing the album and we can't yet fully play it live - there's a lot happening in a small period of time!
6. On My Record Player
This is another of the older songs on the album, and we have actually recorded this a couple of times (there's a demo version of it floating around which you can probably still find somewhere out in the dark recesses of the internet). This version is pure pop really, which we felt was fitting given that it's all about the power of pop music to get you through a tough time, to remind you that those things you're feeling have been felt by another person too, that you're not alone in the universe. It's full of imagery to do with music and records, and I liked the idea that the hole in the middle of a vinyl record was like a black hole in space, and that there's life and music on the other side. But it's also about looking into the black holes of someone's eyes and knowing that your love is over.
7. Endless Summer
This was our third single released almost a year ago now, and I still love it so much. It's poppy but also sticks to our rhythmic kinda post-punk roots - it was just going to be a bit of a work-out album track but then I had this great moment on a hot summer night where the whole melody and lyrics just came to me and I was singing them over and over for hours, it was pure joy. The song is pretty simple really, just about wanting to get back to the seemingly endless carefree summers of yesteryear, about wanting to shake off the grey worries of the city and get drunk in the sunshine - "the world belongs to us tonight, I'll meet you on the road outside".
I think this song definitely links to our first single 'This is Not the Fire' in terms of sound - it's got these off-beat dancehall rhythms that we love, but in a gentler almost calypso context here. It's a sunny sounding song, but as with all our lyrics, it's quite melancholy and downbeat in its theme. There comes a point in a relationship when you've just run out of sweet things to say to each other, and you're worn down to bare honesty. But the first line of the song is a reminder not to falter or let sadness consume you - "misery's no way to go when you're out there on your own". When I sing that line I think of the five of us in this band - it has sometimes been a tough journey doing this all by ourselves, but we're the tightest friends and we always pull each other up when we're down.
9. Memories of Earth
This is the gentlest moment on the album, and probably our most natural, stripped down sounding song, mainly being guitar-led (although like with 'After School' is was deceptively difficult to produce and mix). The song is about floating in space after the end of the world and looking down on everything, remembering your life on Earth. I guess it's about making the most of your time here, trying to do something worthwhile - "you can never tell how much time, you can only choose what you leave behind". It's a pretty simple idea but sometimes it's good to be direct. The outro section is one of my favourite things on the album - a big rousing gang vocal sing along, it goes down really well live too.
10. Your Way
This song came out of some really early sessions with Andy Spence who produced our first two singles, and it's the only track on the album that we didn't produce ourselves, but we always loved the feel and atmosphere of this and we were really keen to have it close the album. It's the most ambient piece of the ten songs and I guess it's our shoegazey moment, although I like to think it's more of a modern take on this sound rather than being pure pastiche. It acts as a coda to the rest of the album, and I like its weary defiance - even at the end, when all is said and done, when all our hearts and money and time and energy are spent, and we're still standing here on our own, we'll always be able to say that we did things our way.