|The Eye of the Tiger|
|by Ashley Graham|
|Ready or not, here they come. Call them feminist, punk or opinionated, Le Tigre are ready to preach their philosophy to the willing ears with a new album, new tour, and new collection of politically charged tracks.
Their first release on a major label, October 19th's "This Island" may bring fresh techniques and a new awareness to the Le Tigre catalog, but it's clear the band hasn't lost focus of the issues that have concerned them from the beginning.
"It was a big goal of ours to get the record out before the presidential elections in November," said Johanna Fateman from a conference room in New York City, "and we actually hoped that it would come out sooner so we could use our promotional touring for the release to get people registered to vote and just as a kind of thank-you to like-minded people who are participating in cultures of resistance and alternative lifestyles to what is being projected as the norm."
And though the album won't be released in time for very much pre-election promotion, it no doubt includes the characteristic politics of past Le Tigre albums, with a slightly different perspective.
The band began the writing process at the start of the US war in Iraq and in a post 9/11 world. As Fateman said, injecting politics into the songs this time around was never a conscious decision because it came naturally to the music and their creative process.
"There was no way we couldn't address those things because that's what we were living," she said, "We were going to the marches and protests and we were reading the paper and feeling really freaked out."
Their experiences are shared on the track "New Kicks" which is a collection of protest speeches and voices unified against the war, featuring clips from many and the incessant underlying chant "Peace! Now!"
Not only was the climate different, the actual recording process for "This Island" differed from the band's previous work as well. Instead of their traditional eight-track recordings, the band used ProTools which allowed them to work collaboratively by swapping hard drives and sharing ideas with more conveniene.
"The new record for us was a big departure in terms of our working process. We have different aspirations for this record and we took a lot of time writing the songs and producing them."
Formed back in 1998 in New York City, Le Tigre, Fateman, former Bikini Kill-er Kathleen Hanna and JD Samson, began the band, with friend Sadie Benning, hoping to make a new brand of feminist pop music. And they still hold tight to that idea.
"I think that everybody makes art about what they feel strongly about. For us making music goes hand in hand with being part of a radical community and that's how we came to be artists."
"Being feminist is part of our politics, a major part of our politics," Fateman said, "We've always reached an audience of young women and people who feel strongly about women's issues and about radical politics, so that's really a part of our identity."
And that identity has always served Le Tigre well. They have built a career on sharing themselves and their opinions with their fans and they are in no way ready to slow down. With a tour planned from October through November, Le Tigre is currently working to create videos for all of the new material that the live show will feature and choreography for their on stage performance. And, as Fateman said, they are also "practicing the hell out of the songs trying to get them good."
"I think live performance is when a lot of the meaning of the music comes out. When I'm actually on stage feeling the music and performing that's a super-gratifying feeling where it comes to life and is living up to its potential to communicate with people."
"We really want to put together an amazing show and we want to tour the hell out of this record. We're really excited to share what we've done with the world."
"This Island" will be releasted on In Sound October 19th. Visit www.letigreworld.com for more information.