Artists Of The Year

CMU Artists Of The Year 2011: Three Trapped Tigers

By | Published on Thursday 1 December 2011

Three Trapped Tigers

Three Trapped Tigers could never be accused of rushing things. Formed in 2007, they released one EP per year from 2008 to 2010, before releasing their debut album, ‘Route One Or Die’, in May this year. That’s nineteen songs released over four years, just eight of which made up that album. When we interviewed him last year, the band’s keyboard player and occasional vocalist Tom Rogerson admitted that their songwriting process wasn’t a fast one, saying: “Matt [Calvert, guitar] and I will bash our heads against a brick wall for about six months until something happens”.

Speedy they may not be, but the results of all that head bashing are consistently incredible, and despite the technical complexity, the finished recordings (and indeed live performances) have an effortless quality to them that belies their possibly difficult origins.

Their sound is complex, and can be difficult to explain succinctly. Rogerson described it to us with a riddle, saying: “How do you play Aphex Twin live? Answer: make it sound a bit like Lightning Bolt”. But that description doesn’t get over how much they’ve created their own universe of music. Since that first EP, they’ve further and further carved out their own instantly recognisable sound, unlike any other band. True, there are other bands, such as Talons and Gallops, taking instrumental rock music in new directions, but TTT are streets ahead and always the band to beat.

With all three members coming from very different musical backgrounds, the sum of their disparate influences ranging between metal, hip hop, jazz and 80s movie themes (as shown in the playlist they put together for us earlier this year), explains that sound to some extent, but to merely focus on that ignores an originality and talent for songwriting (shown in this stripped back piano version of ‘Cramm’) that matches their technical ability.

Off the back of ‘Route One Or Die’ have also come two brilliant music videos for ‘Noise Trade’ and ‘Reset’, the latter (which you can see below) definitely a contender for my favourite video of the year, starring comedian Matt Berry as a would-be messiah.

Find more of CMU’s ten Artists Of The Year here.