This Friday (11th November) London’s 93 Feet East play’s host to one of the best ElectroPop line-ups of the year. Brought to us by Human Error, Friday’s event will see Fear Of Tigers, Visitor, The Sound Of Arrows and Queen Of Hearts share the stage in one amazing night of the best electronic music London has to offer. This week, to build your anticipation, electronic rumors will be talking to each of the four acts involved…
Ben Berry, A.K.A. Mr. Tigers A.K.A. Fear Of Tigers is one of the most constantly awesome producers in the UK. The words ‘(Fear Of Tigers reMix)’ after a song title is pretty much as good a stamp of quality as you can want. Again and again Fear Of Tigers has wowed us with his reworkings of some of the hottest ElectroPop tracks around. Taking cues from everything, from old school Electro, to ‘90’s House, to Trance, to Disco and hammering them into the prefect Pop package, Mr. Tigers can take any track and make it a dancefloor monster that appeals to both the feet and the emotions. His original work is no different, his début album ‘Cossus Snufsigalonica’ (which he gave away free BTW!) was ten tracks of the finest big room tunes loaded with retro sounds and catchy hooks. ‘The Adventures Of Pippi Longstrump’ has become a modern classic and an inspiration to all of the Nu-Disco and Dreamwave scenes. In a short four years Fear Of Tigers has become one of the biggest names in our little corner of the music world with a reputation that lead to him reMixing some of the top names in Pop, including Kylie and Ellie.
On top of all that he also hosts a weekly podcast, ‘The Guestlist’ that has become many people first stop for new music.
Despite the fact that all that sounded like I’m about to hand Ben a lifetime achievement award, I’m not. What we are going to do, though, is give you a brief glimpse into the world of Mr. Tigers as Ben took the time to share with you guys.
ER: Hey Ben, thanks a lot of doing this.
FOT: Thanks Clive, it’s great to be here
ER: So, Ben, where did the music come from? What’s your background with production? How did you get into it and was it always this style of music?
FOT: My older brother was in an indie band so I was always playing around with his bits of gear. I started off making ambient techno when I was about 14 or so. I was also in a terrible covers band. We toured the working men’s clubs of Leeds and Bradford playing eye watering covers of tracks like Bobby Brown’s ‘Two Can Play That Game’ and Tasmin Archer’s ‘Sleeping Satellite’.
From there I got into house music made a few records and became a full time DJ (6 nights a week for 3 years) in Spain.
ER: And where did Fear of Tigers come from, both as a name and as a concept?
FOT: I quit music. I thought it was forever. It had been a few years and I didn’t really miss production to be honest. I went to work at a record label and then as a journalist. Someone at work lent me a copy of Logic, I put it on the computer just to see what it was like and I ended up remixing the Infidels which came out on Wall of Sound. It rekindled my passion.
♫ Fear Of Tigers – The Adventures Of Pippi Longstrump
ER: What influences you and your sound, not just musically?
FOT: For me I have the most fun naming my tracks and the inspiration usually come from the things I like reading about outside music: Languages, Tove Jansson, Zen, M Theory, Mythology, Cooking. I also love thinking about what music will sound like in the future. When I was a kid I used to be able to compose crazy music in my head but I could never express it as I didn’t know how. Now I can express myself better but I’d love to be able to dream of some sounds that don’t exist yet so I’ve tried some hypnotic techniques to try and get me into a new way of thinking.
ER: What prompted you go release your first album for free? Did you expect it to become such a classic and do you regret it being free based on how popular it was?
FOT: I’d do it all again. For sure. It helped me build a bit of a profile and in general I was really pleased with the result. I’d love to think that it had some impact even if just a small one.
♫ Fear Of Tigers – Study Hard Drugs School
ER: How did The Guestlist come about?
FOT: I’ve wanted to do a podcast for about 5 years but never had the balls (something about hearing my own voice I think). Then one afternoon in April, I don’t know what came over me, I just thought – let’s do it. I recorded it pretty quickly and loved every minute of it. I much prefer speaking and playing music than writing!
ER: In the last few years you’ve dropped a string of amazing reMixes, what’s the reMix you’ve done that your most proud of?
FOT: I love the Infidels remix, it was so easy and was the genesis of Fear Of Tigers really. More recently I actually love hearing the Studio Killers remix. I must admit I had some reservations about the track but it was really really fun to do.
♫ Fear Of Tigers – Please Don’t Leave
ER: So you’ve played around a few places. Any crazy rock ‘n’ roll stories from your adventures?
FOT: Being busted by the police several times in Spain. Pretending to be Jeremy Healy and getting mobbed for autographs at the end of the set. Mostly falling down drunk whilst the club’s in full swing. That’s my party trick.
ER: So what’s in Fear Of Tigers’s studio? Do you have a favourite bit of kit?
FOT: I think the whole analogue Vs. digital is a load of baloney. I’m more into what I’d call the cutting edge of sound generation such as harmonic content morphing and binaural recording.
ER: If money was no object, what piece of studio gear would be your dream to own?
FOT: A grand piano. Of course I’d need the space for it but I’d love to spend £50,000 on a good one. I really doubt I’d ever buy an analog synth. I’m just not a fan. They’re nice to look at but that’s as far as it goes for me. I would like a Theremin though.
ER: The show in Friday is billed as Fear Of Tigers live, how does that work? What’s the live setup?
FOT: I’m going to be on stage with The Sound of Arrows and Visitor, they’re going to do the vocals for some of my tracks and we’ll play some of theirs and of course a few live renditions of the remixes. Don’t worry, there’s no drummer!
ER: Do you prefer to perform as a DJ or as a musician?
FOT: I’m a DJ at heart. I hate being in bands to be honest.
♫ Fear Of Tigers – Calling Your Name
ER: How Fridays show going to be? Who else are you most looking forward to seeing?
FOT: Really looking forward to the Queen Of Hearts set.
ER: Is Fear Of Tigers a Cereal or a Full English Breakfast kinda’ act? Would your answer change the day after a show?
FOT: Yes I love a meat free Full English. So it’s hash browns, quorn sausage, grilled tomatoes, poached egg, fried mushrooms, baked beans (just a few) piece of toast, cup of queens English tea (PG Tips pyramids).
I also do a mean meat free bacon roll. Which is homemade bread, rocket, fried haloumi and a slice of meat free bacon.
Visitor will be playing as part of this Fridays phenomenal Human Error line up at 93 Feet East in London. Full details can be found here.
Buy Fear Of Tigers’ music from: