Interfew with: IO e la TIGRE

IO e la TIGRE are an amazing Italian duo that produce beautiful, distinctive pop songs with a punk edge. They have become one of my favourite bands since I heard them first when we started FEW last year. I was delighted when they agreed to answer some questions for this feature. They come across as honest, funny and touching, much like their music. They say “I am deeply convinced that first comes their welfare and their friendship, and only because of this, their music can make sense.” They’ve just released their lovely new single “io e il mio cane”** on Garrincha Dischi.

How long have you been playing together?

We have been playing together, in IO e la TIGRE, since the 1st April 2013. We played in another band for a couple of years, in the early 2000s, but IO did not feel at ease with that band and so she left it.

Your name, the masks, and the way you write about the band – you have a very strong image and ideal – It’s obviously important to you – what does it mean to you now and do you think that will change in the future?

We arrived from an agonizing past of playing together. The mask of the tiger is a metaphor, it represents our fears, you know; the “daemons” you have to face, sooner or later, if you do not want to be their slave.
During the live concert we emphasize the metaphor of subjectivity that faces its own daemon, and in this way we exercise our deeper fears. As the proverb says: You must enter the tiger’s den to catch his cubs. The same fears that we had to face in order to build up our “new” friendship in music, stronger and deeper than in the past. This is a strong act of strength and love, in never-ending movement, day by day.

How does the dynamic work between you in the group?

We are friends first of all and our rehearsal room is our chatting room too 🙂
Playing together is our way to grow our friendship and the songs are like stories which a friend tells you. Singing and playing guitar IO tells her stories to la TIGRE and she answers by drumming. It is our way to feel good, to enjoy the time we spend together and our love.

Do you always agree on musical direction?

Never! 🙂 That is why we called our sound Tigroso  🙂 IO was brought up with her mother’s music, especially from the sixties, so she likes listening to pop music. La TIGRE comes from punk, grunge and hardcore music, so our practice room works like a blender! We put our influences in it, we turn on, we let them stir properly, we taste and… our Tigroso-recipe is made!

What was the first piece of music you loved, and why?

The first song which made la TIGRE fall in love, was Blitzkrieg Bop by The Ramones because it was the first fastest melody in the fastest song she had ever listened to. She discovered punk rock and she had been captivated by it for such a long time.
IO fell in love with Papa Don’t Preach by Madonna. She was just 7 when it was on TV and she ran into Madonna’s live concert in Turin. She raved about that concert and those songs. It was the first time she had chosen to listen to an artist her mum did not like.

What is your favorite song that you’ve written and why?

It is “Il lago dei Ciliegi” because it was the first song we had played together. IO started playing and singing and la TIGRE followed her by playing drum and… we felt like it was not such a long time since we had played together. It seems to us that the lyric talks about our story: our separation and our reunion even though it actually tells a story about someone else.

How important are your videos in relation to the music?

They are very important because we consider videos as an important vehicle of our symbolic imaginary.

Do you enjoy making them?

Yes, we do but maybe the video makers do not  because we are not sure that it is easy for them to work with two like us!

How do you know when a song you’ve working on is complete?

When we feel good by playing and listening to it. The songs communicate with us in a weird way, we are not able to explain how but they do. Whenever we play a new song, when it makes us feel better, we understand it is done.

Do you usually start with the music or the words?

At the beginning with the words, but now words and music start together.

Do your songs change much when played on front of a live audience?

Not so much but our emotions play an important role. When we are on stage, in front of the audience, we need to recreate our perfect balance made of synchronicity and harmony. We need to keep in touch our mutual emotions and feelings, much more than we do in our practice room.The result is a more powerful concert because we play harder 🙂


What song by another artist do you wish you had written and why?

IO: Across the Universe by The Beatles because it is simply perfect in melody, structure and words.
La TIGRE: I would have composed and played the drum part of Kashmir by Led Zeppelin (its 4/4 drumming is unique!) and the one of My Generation by The Who which is like a revolution made by drumming.

What artist(s) has been your biggest influence and in what way?

La TIGRE has been influenced by John Bonham, by Keith Moon and by Dave Grohl because she has been astonished by their drumming: powerful, coloured and… unique. They could make the drum sings.
Cristina Donà, Patti Smith and Carmen Consoli have represented for IO a lighthouse during a long storm.

Name a song that makes you happy and why does it have that effect?

“Change” by Mikal Cronin because it is “our song”. We listened to it at his concert in Bologna; it was our first concert together, after 10 years of a distant separation. It represents our reunion, our change towards something new and better: our friendship like a driving force of our music, leaving the past and fears behind. That is why.

What is the best new band that you’ve heard recently?

The Coathangers.

What’s your favourite radio station?

La TIGRE: Radio 2

What song would you like to have played at your funeral?

IO: “Nel blu dipinto di blu” by Domenico Modugno.
La TIGRE: “I Don’t Wanna Be Buried In A Pet Cemetery” by The Ramones. You know, I am a weirdo 🙂

Do you collect anything?

La TIGRE: I collect my cats’ whiskers. They lose them as people lose their hair. When I sweep I sometime seek whiskers out and I keep them in a metal box. Guess why! The whiskers of my mask are those of my cats 🙂
IO: I collect embarrassing situations.

What question would you like to be asked that you never are? (And what would be your answer?)

What did you dream to become when you were young?
IO dreamt about becoming a Vet and la TIGRE a breeder or something like that because she dreamt about buying a big farm, with her friend, and taking care of animals: cats, dogs, donkeys and sheep.


**”Io e il mio cane” è un racconto che rapisce lo sguardo e che si fa portavoce di un tema a cui tutti siamo sensibili: l’adozione dei cani costretti, purtroppo, nei canili. Il Cerca Padrone Onlus è un’associazione che dal 2007 si occupa di promuovere l’adozione dei cani più sfortunati, di contrastare il problema del randagismo e di supportare e monitorare le strutture comunali.
Donare il 5×1000 significa aiutare a trasformare i problemi degli animali in storie a lieto fine.
Diamogli una zampa, è semplice dona il tuo 5×1000 a “Il Cerca Padrone ONLUS” C.F. 97474410152.

**Il Cerca Padrone Onlus is an Italian association that is dedicated to promoting proper animal welfare,  the adoption of stray and abandoned dogs and to support and monitor municipal facilities. You can donate by clicking the link in the video. In Italy you can make a tax-free donation via your tax return (due in the next six weeks or so(this was posted on 21.05.2016)). It’s simple –  give your 5×1000 to a “Il Cerca Padrone ONLUS” C.F. 97474410152.