Breaking Band Part 2: Tigertown Tries to Take CMJ

Tigertown perform at The Delancey for CMJ’s Aussie BBQ

Joe McCabe

This semester, Grace Harris and Sarah Segner, two students from New York University's undergraduate Music Business program within the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, are documenting their college course/indie record label Village Records as it works with CMJ to break the Australian band Tigertown. Read Part 1 and stay tuned for more updates from Harris and Segner as this story, class, and band develops.

Village Records hit the ground running for CMJ 2013, beginning its marathon week in the studio with Tigertown for CMJ Sessions@NYU. On October 14 and 15, the band recorded and mixed a revamped version of their song "What You Came Here For" at NYU Steinhardt's James L. Dolan Studio. The week continued with showcases at some of the Lower East Side's best clubs and concluded at the annual Aussie BBQ.

Tigertown in the studio

The studio was crackling with energy throughout the day on October 14. The session was lead by Paul Geluso, the former chief audio engineer at Harvestworks Digital Media Arts and a current NYU Music Technology professor, who was assisted by five of his students. As two separate film crews and a slew of guests arrived, the studio quickly filled to its capacity. The film crews included folks from Escape from Tape and Baeblemusic who are separately documenting Tigertown's experiences in the studio and around New York City. Among these guests were Joanne Abbot Green, the senior executive VP and executive producer of CMJ Music Marathon and a graduate of NYU's Music Business program.

Though the band was confident in their vision, engineer Paul Geluso expressed some initial hesitation. "I heard their demo and thought, 'Wow, this is really produced, polished stuff. How is this band going to be live?' I was a little cautious," said Geluso. "Speaking to Chris [Collins, lead guitarist] he said, 'We wanna play live; we can do it live.' Because it's very synth-based you just never know if it's someone in their basement making music versus a band playing together. It was a great surprise to see that they were so interested in recording this way, which is my favorite mode, to have everybody playing live and record an organic performance. And they had the chops to do it."

Their goal with the session was to create a new realization of an old composition. In only a few hours on October 15, Tigertown, Geluso, and the studio staff mixed and mastered the session. The two video production companies who documented the session will release their videos in subsequent weeks, with Escape from Tape's featuring the new track.

Tigertown in the studioGrace Harris

Tigertown's CMJ week continued with a full docket of activities. Andy Beam, Tigertown's publicist from Sneak Attack Media, commented that the band "was able to utilize their valuable time by recording with Village Records, filming music video and documentary footage, and engaging in appropriate brand partnerships -- all while playing endless showcases to maximize their visibility to the attending members of the press and industry. In an environment where it is easy to be overshadowed by the white noise of thousands of other acts, Tigertown was able to shine through by taking advantage of every worthwhile opportunity."

They performed at NYU's Rosenthal Pavilion for CMJ's College Day, at Pianos for the Planetary Group and The Great Escape showcase, at the Canadian Music Week showcase at Fat Baby, and ended their week at The Delancey for the annual Aussie BBQ. Amazingly, the band played one of the shows with no monitors, unable to hear themselves as an ensemble, and still sounded tight and energetic.

Village Records was on the ball keeping up with them. The product management team was in charge of creating flyers detailing all of Tigertown's showcase locations and times. A street team of Village Records students passed out hundreds of them early in the week around CMJ's home base at NYU's Kimmel Center. Team leader Zach Marks worked with co-managers Rowan Brand and Cath Haridy to keep the flyers consistent with Tigertown's branding.

Amended flyer of Tigertown’s CMJ showcases

The social media team was also on the ball, staying on top of the shifting shows and sharing the exciting events at CMJ. When Tigertown had a few last-minute changes to their show schedule, social media co-leader Camille Johnston noted that the team "altered all banners with dates, such as our Facebook cover photo and Tumblr header, to reflect the changes. We wanted to make sure all of Tigertown's followers knew the correct dates and times to see them. Social media is a vital way to communicate these last minute changes."

CMJ is an opportune time for talent scouting, so the Village Records A&R team was busy at work looking for bands the label could work with in the future. The team will soon issue a report to the label detailing what new bands they were most impressed by and how those groups and Village Records could mutually benefit from a relationship.

Tigertown enjoyed their time in the New York, knowing that the symbiotic relationship between the band, its management, and Village Records made CMJ an effective step in their march towards breaking in the US. The band received coverage from multiple press outlets, including the Denver Post and the AU Review. The Planetary Group has begun a US radio campaign for the band, and their new EP, "Wandering Eyes," is now available for download on iTunes and to stream on Spotify.

Members of Tigertown and Village Records at CMJ College Day from Village Records -- Front row, from left: Camille Johnston, Elodie Crowe, Carly Tieu, Grace Harris -- Back row, from left: Kevin Johnson, Charlie Collins, Chris Collins, Kurt Bailey

Village Records, too, is planning for the future. The label is gathering all of its coverage of CMJ to develop a release schedule and is brainstorming ways to promote Tigertown's new single from CMJ Sessions@NYU with the Escape from Tape video.

Exhausted due to the fact that CMJ falls at the same time as NYU's midterms, Village Records students are looking forward to continuing their partnership with Tigertown as the new single and videos will be released. Student and current Harry Fox Agency intern Brittany Holloway said that Village Records "benefited by spending time with the band and by honing skills applicable to our future careers in the music industry, while Tigertown benefited from our insider knowledge of the US and NYC markets." She continued, "Frankly, we're all happy to be this close to great music."

Grace Harris is a senior in NYU's Music Business Program. She currently interns at Nasty Little Man (Feb 2013-present) and Mick Management (Aug 2013-present). 

Sarah Segner is a junior in NYU's Music Business Program. She is an active freelance violinist and has interned with Play On Philly, Weathervane Music, and is currently working with Brooklyn-based chamber orchestra The Knights.