This is a band that impressed the hell outta me the first time I heard them. An interview had to happen with TIGERSCLAW. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
How hard was it to come up with a band name and how does the name fit the music?
Elena: The band name’s upcoming wasn’t hard at all. We make symphonic powermetal but our style is mainly influenced by the guitars. Alexander’s nickname is since decades “Tiger” and his fingers/claws running across the fretboard inspired us to choose this name. Pretty simple!
As I am new to your band perhaps a short introduction might be in order?
Alexander: Our Lineup is pretty short. Our beloved frontwoman and fantastic voice, Elena Minina, based in Moscow, Russia, then on Drums Ralf Neumann (Reutlingen, Germany), a good friend of mine for a long time and finally me, Alexander Baier (Tuebingen, Germany), I am responsible for all music, composition, lyrics and instruments.
Elena is working at Moscow’s theater “Gradsky hall” as soprano and was finalist of “Voice of Russia” 2015. It is a bit weird how we all came together, force of destiny, fate, something like that. Randomly chosen by fortune maybe. Fact is that Elena has liked an instagram photo which I’ve taken in Wacken 2016 and without knowing her, knowing who she is, what she is doing I asked her if she’d like to sing on my material. I had really no clue. All I’ve seen were 3 photos of her singing on stage. I sent her a message and asked her if she is free and interested. Never heard a single tune, knowing absolutely nothing. It was a shot in the dark. And here we are! Our album has been released in July, we made different radio shows in the USA, CAN, NOR, GER etc, we have entered rank 21 in Australian iTunes metal charts, had airplay in Europe, Chile, America, our CD is out worldwide, Japan wherever. And we do this interview for a Swedish Fanzine. Crazy world.
As I am no musician I have no idea how it works, but how do you make your own music based on what influences you? What parts do you pick?
Alexander: Well, mainly inspired us the female fronted bands you hear all over like Nightwish, Tarja, Epica, Evanescence, Within Temptation and others of this Genre of course. But we do not pick a part of Tarja, combine it with a bit of Epica or whoever. I simply take my guitar or sit at the piano and start playing something. Don’t ask my why and how, sometimes melodies arise, if they are cool, if they rock, if they are bringing any emotions to the surface I record them and much much later a song is finished. Same is with lyrics. Anything what is going through my mind, what is in my thoughts floats into a verse line, chorus, wherever. I can’t exactly describe the birth of a song. Sometimes I am sad, then maybe a ballad arises or I am angry and I make a song like “Storm of Steel”. Depends on my emotional state and condition.
When you are in a band does it feel like you are a part of a worldwide movement?
Alexander: We all are rockers, aren’t we? It is a matter of identification. I have been for example two times in Wacken, the biggest metal open air festival I know so far. If you walk there and if you see all the weird, black clothed freaks, everyone is cool and makes party, the bands are cool, it is like a big family. And it is absolutely peaceful even if there are ten thousands of people. In this case I would say yes, it is a worldwide movement.
How important is it that you look the part in promo shots and stuff? How important is the graphic side of the band?
Elena: Optically the audience/listeners should get an impression of course. It is an important part of the business. That’s the reason why we post photos, short videos on instagram and Facebook and why we made three fine videos on YouTube. You can listen to our music of course but if you see who is performing, how we look like and who stands behind the name Tigersclaw you get better in touch. And the people are curious 😉
What would you say influences your lyrics? How important are they?
Alexander: Like I responded before, it depends completely on my emotional condition. When you’re in love or someone broke your heart it is easier to make a soulful ballad.
If you had a bad day at work or anyone offended you or simply you had a day when everything went wrong your music and lyrics will be tendentially more aggressive. In simple words: Life influences our lyrics. Importance of them? Well, sometimes, especially in a soulful ballad when you think of a beloved person the lyrics can get very important.
Is the album as relevant today as it was in the 70s and 80s? Is digital killing the album?
Elena: I think each decade had its warrant and its special charme. In the past it was for sure much easier for artists. If you had a record contract you went to studio, made some recordings, album release, tour, radio shows, everything has been prepared by the company.
Today it’s much more intense. Preproduction, rehearsal, photo and video shootings, interviews, promotion, handling with all these social networks. Lots of requests, direct, by phone, magazines, newspapers, chat, website, Facebook, YouTube etc. And today there is much more variety, lots of good bands, lots of competition.
In past days the artists had a fair and mainly good income. Today in the century of streaming, downloads, hard competition, artists do not earn that much, especially on streaming platforms. You get worldwide publicity of course, that’s great, if we take a look on spotify for example we can see that we have been played in Montevideo, in Buenos Aires, Rio, somewhere in the north of Sweden, Australia, Colorado, Indonesia, all over the world. But we do not benefit that much. There are always two sides of a coin.
Where will the future of format end – digital verses physical verses whatever?
Alexander: I had a discussion with Hans Derer, the boss of our label 7hard about this. Greetings from here by the way, Hans keep on rocking! He told me that the amount of selling physical CD’s is decreasing more and more. In the USA for example meanwhile more than 80% of sale is digital. Stream, MP3’s. In Europe and in Germany especially we sell more than 50% physical CD’s but the rate is decreasing here, too. Sooner or later digital will win. You can by Vinyl of course but me personally I do not have a record player. I listen mainly digital, too. But I love it to buy a physical CD, to have a booklet and read the lyrics, watch the cover, Inlay photos and all this stuff. But you need time for it. In my car I take an USB stick or my cellphone and listen digital, too.
How much of a touring entity are you guys? What is a live experience witch you like?
Elena: Tigersclaw live has not happened yet. The burning question that depends on how much interest will be showed to the album and to our music in general, and it depends not only on us but also of course on our listeners. I hope that it will cause really serious resonance because doing live performances is a big dream. All in good time and we hope on your help, dear fans. Your interest depends are we going to come finally on a real live stage. We have such a desire – we want to share with you our energy, and our music live.
What lies in the future?
Elena: We are already preparing the next album. Alex has already written all tracks and I heard some of them. Album will be absolutely divine. I re-fell in love with this music. I started recordings, vocals of two songs are done but first main work is doing Ralf now on the drums. The work is bloody, because the tracks are fast, energetic. Two ballads will be on album as well, but mainly Ralf has to sweat a lot.
We want finally to please the fans with new songs.
Alexander: We’re working really hard on it. It will be fantastic. Writings are completed and recordings have begun. My part is mainly done, recording of all instruments, guitars, bass, piano etc is complete. Now Ralf is performing and recording the drums and Elena started with her recording parts in the studio in Moscow. I guess in spring 2018 Tigersclaw’s next album will be released. And you will love it! Like Elena loves to say: It will be a blast!