The Brooklyn duo open up on their creative process, music videos & more
Last time Impose spoke with Fetch Tiger, they had just released the second single off their first EP Preparation to Pretend. Bandmates Lorenzo Montali and Tanner Davis were in an ongoing bi-coastal situationship – Lorenzo in Brooklyn and Tanner in London – making music across time zones and Facetime calls. They were writing songs based on fictional characters, they had hardly yet played a live show together, and Tanner was mainly adding keys and synths while Lorenzo focused on the writing and other elements.
Now, almost a year later, Tanner is moving to Brooklyn where the band will be reunited to work in collaboration. Their second EP Flamethrower is out in the world today. Lorenzo and Tanner have both written intense and personal songs on this record, and they played a live show together last year which Lorenzo hails, “might have been their best one yet.”
And with time, Fetch Tiger has aged like fine wine. Flamethrower has sonically and lyrically presented the duo’s effervescent love for making music and desires to always go the next step. Likewise, their skills as musicians have settled, allowing both members to feel confident and comfortable testing new waters in both production and songwriting. Flamethrower touches on themes of isolation – both needing it in “Time Alone” and dreading it in “Strangers”. The contrast of these two highlights the dynamic balance between Tanner and Lorenzo. “Flamethrower” is one of Fetch Tiger’s best songs to date; much like indie legend M83’s “Wait,” the track starts in whispers before building into a cinematic burst. The finale “Best Design” is a tender and gentle farewell reminding listeners one last time what Fetch Tiger does best: turn any one feeling perfectly into a sound.
Fetch Tiger sat down with Impose again to talk about how their year has been, the creative process behind their newest music videos and what’s to come this year. The record release show will be on March 3 at Arlene’s Grocery in NYC (TIX).
Last time we talked it was over a year ago, and it’s been almost exactly a year since your debut EP, how are you guys? How has your year been? How have the live shows been?
Lorenzo: Up until next month, it’ll be two years of doing long distance. [Tanner is moving to Brooklyn]. But it actually has been really good, we’ve been recording more than we were when we were together. When Tanner comes over here to record in Brooklyn we have to make sure we have X songs ready to record by November – it’s a forcing function to push us more in terms of getting songs out there. On the live side, Tanner’s been able to join one show, I think it was our best one yet, that’s something we’re looking forward to and are trying to do a lot more touring this year.
I know in the past Lorenzo was in charge of lyrics and melodies while Tanner brought in a flare with keys and synths, but as time went on, you have both dappled into all sides of creation. How have things come to play since then in your roles?
Lorenzo: It feels weird talking about the EP, because now we’ve been working on an album too. During the album especially, the way that we work has started to change more. There are more songs that we each started independently and brought to one another, opposed to doing equal parts on every song. It’s less structured and more who wants to start something and then bring it to the table.
Tanner: This EP specifically had a bit more personal growth from my side in terms of songwriting that was inspired by Lorenzo’s ability to write and create songs. As we’ve been working together more as friends and bandmates, he’s really influenced my writing style and that’s definitely showing through on this EP more than the first one. It feels a bit more fluid and more like a co-owned project.
With your last EP Preparation to Pretend, you drew from a lot of fictional characters in your storylines, but this time with Flamethrower you’re drawing from deeply personal experiences. What is that like in comparison to using characters?
Lorenzo: For me I think it’s a lot harder in terms of tapping into emotion and being more vulnerable and even just crafting your voice or an angle on a topic. I think that’s why we gravitate more towards fictional characters because it’s really easy to tell a story through a character or a situation that could be in a short story or a book. But when you’re talking about yourself there’s a lot of emotions that we’ve gone through that a million other people have as well. We ask, “how do we bring our unique perspective to something?” I feel like there’s a couple songs on there – “Flamethrower” was written about my mom, and “Strangers” was written about Tanner’s experience with friends – where we’re writing to people in a way. I got advice that if you’re writing for someone or to someone that can be a good way of focusing your thoughts on a certain topic into something that carries emotion and that also shows what you’re going through personally.
Lorenzo: Tanner why are you smiling?
Tanner: I’m smiling only because I find it extraordinarily difficult to not write what I know. I really am that kind of person that when I feel some type of way, not to sound cheesy, it’s more fun and more real, to use my experiences as an anchor point to build a theme around. I think for me it’s a lot easier to write what I know, versus Lorenzo who finds it much easier to write fictional but I guess that’s why we’re bandmates.
I love the music video for “Sunroom“ and how you utilized not living in the same place to the best of its abilities. This record has very bright themes, Wes Anderson-style playful and thoughtfulness. What made you decide to go thematically down that route? Likewise, your video for “Surrounded by Strangers” goes down a much different narrative route. Can you tell us about the creative direction behind that video?
Tanner: “Strangers” almost feels like a sad anthem – it’s nostalgic, sad, anthemic, melancholic, and we knew we wanted a music video for it. It didn’t feel like it needed us playing instruments. We really wanted it to seem like a soundtrack to a movie. We worked with this amazing director Elijah Barry, he knew the vision of exactly what he wanted to bring and had these characters and this story arch and it just felt like he wanted to put this song in a particular way and had a very clear vision. It came to life in the perfect way.
That’s really special that you trusted someone’s judgment to visually make what they felt from what they heard.
Lorenzo: I met Elijah at a party through my sister and we started talking and he sent me his thesis short film from film school which was amazing, so we completely trusted him and sent the track list over and said “pick a song you resonate with most and let’s make a music video.”
Tanner: To your point about trusting someone’s judgment – I think the beautiful thing about this music video, is I’m glad we were able to see someone’s interpretation of it visually because I think that’s the whole point of writing sometimes. It’s interesting to see how other people will interpret what you’re saying. I found it amazing to see someone resonate with the way we intended to write it.
Lorenzo: [On “Sunroom”] We had talked a lot about different concepts for it. I forgot honestly what the concept was, but we were going to film it together when I was in London, and when I was there everyone we were going to stay with in London got COVID at the same time, so I decided to fly back early. So then we had this idea of a split screen and there’s some kind of battle in some ways. So we had this idea of a staring contest which made it pretty easy to film. It was more of a fun one.
Tanner: Also the song is about Lorenzo and his twin, so visually there are a lot of parallels between costuming and the fact that it’s split screen, so that really reflected the themes of the song in a way. And it does feel very Wes Anderson-like, which is one of Lorenzo’s visual inspirations. Lorenzo’s first love was making films and editing, which we didn’t edit but we trusted the two directors who edited this.
What are you most excited for this year? I know you’ve been recording a full-length album. How has that been?
Lorenzo: We’re in the process of finishing mixing and we’re keeping things under wraps for now. But we are excited that we worked with TOLEDO again for the album – they produced and mixed it – like this EP. I will say it’s an evolution of our sound that feels a bit more upbeat and punchy.
Any shows you’d like to plug?
March 3 – Fetch Tiger @ Arlene’s Grocery (purchase tix HERE)