When we caught up with dubstep DJs, radio presenters and producers True Tiger for an interview at the secret location which currently hides their new recording studio we didn’t realise that it would be concealed in one of London’s historic listed buildings – a mere stone’s throw from bustling Oxford Street.
‘We like it here,’ says Stanza, opening the door to his lair ‘,cos it’s close to Radio 1xtra – where we do our show’. He goes on to tell me that their previous studio was in an old testing site for British Telecom, now redundant as the phone technology it used to test has become digital. Ironic then, that singles True Tiger recorded on that very site helped shape the sound of the UK grime and dubstep scene over the last 18 months!
The Tiger pack: Stanza, Blue Bear, Sukh Knight, Stenchman and MC Chunky were signed to Virgin after growing a cult following from their independent releases and their DJ sets. But with three major label releases under their belts – including ‘Jungle’ their collaboration with Professor Green – somehow True Tiger have maintained their wild streak.
‘We’re lucky that we’re still seen as an underground act,’ Stanza nods, from behind his Rayban glasses ‘,and we try to keep our live set unpredictable by playing tracks that sound good, regardless of the hype, plus you never know who might turn up and guest at one of our shows!’
Indeed – True Tiger’s extended crew reaches out to the likes of P Money, Maverick Sabre and Enter Shikari – all of whom have stepped up to the mic at shows. Recently True Tiger have pioneered performing live dubstep; playing the basslines and drum parts, adding some technical wizardry from two Maschines and two Novation keyboards and topping this off with a live sitar player! ‘We always said we wanted to play live, it was only a matter of time. We wanted to give our fans something special…’
The Tigers are hotly sought after as remixers and producers too – having worked with a plethora of mainstream artists ranging from Tinie Tempah to Kelly Rowland to Ed Sheeran (who was so impressed with their remix of his track that he came to the studio and re-sang the vocals). Last year even Snoop Dogg wanted a piece of the action. ‘Mistajam gave our beats to Snoop,’ confirms Stanza ‘, and he created the track – next thing it was all over the internet…’
These days the pack are selective though: ‘We’ve actually taken a break from remixing,’ says Stenchman ‘,Major labels know that dubstep is big and think every single now needs a dubstep remix. The song often suffers from a genre transplant!’
1xtra – the UK’s leading urban radio station – was swift to offer them a presenting slot, before they had even signed their record deal. Now you’ll find them on the ‘Daily Dose of Dubstep’ pushing new artists to a captive young audience – as well as their own singles, which cross over from the 1xtra playlist to sister station Radio 1.
Professor Green described his experience with them ‘,When I first signed to Virgin I knew I had to work with these guys on my album and it has shown me that they are one of the best production teams in the UK right now. Tigers run the jungle!’ Tinie Tempah said simply ‘, the hits speak for themselves…’
Last year True Tiger ventured into the UK festival scene; ‘We’d never even been to Glastonbury,’ laughs Stanza ‘, we had no idea what to expect – we all had to go out and buy Wellingtons!’
They’ve been DJing abroad for a while though; Outlook Festival is a particular favourite. Their exclusive 300 capacity boat party, which takes revellers from the festival site into the beautiful Adriatic Sea, sells out every year.
Recently Adidas asked them to provide the soundtrack to an advert for a new football boot. To date, this viral, titled ‘The Hunt for Fast’ has had 185,000 views on YouTube.
New True Tiger single ‘Eye to Eye; is out this week and they plan to tour Canada in April. Look out for the debut album this summer also.
More at www.truetiger.org