Los Angeles-based solo project Tiger Kid is following up his cover of ‘Square Hammer' by Ghost with the video for his catchy and melodic Rock song, “Ever On.” The brainchild of vocalist/instrumentalist Michael Canton, Tiger kid was dead set on making visuals that showed the inner workings of his brain during the writing and recording of the “Tiger Kid” EP.
With an edgy force field of amplified resonance, the smoldering effect of “Ever On,” pairs seamlessly with the impactful approach the cinematic component of this sonic and visual pairing offers up. Dipping listeners into the bolstering essence of their virtuoso, the grunge-esque environment that “Ever On,” is filmed within has you fixated on ominous hues of duality with tapping into two personas this solo project embraces.
Infiltrating your screens with a powerful performance held in a dimly lit underground, the series of close-up and zoomed-out scenes allow you to fixate on the love and passion that Tiger Kid has poured into his craft. Playing into the various artists and bands that helped shape Tiger Kid’s vision of how “Ever On,” would be perceived, you see him play into the solitary nature of this project and the influences that led them to this stand-out moment. We admire the homage that’s paid throughout the extensive range of footage in the cinematic approach to this boisterous record.
Utilizing raw talents in a way that has the colossal percussion hits, vibrant bassline, sustaining guitar riffs, and of course, the smoldering vocal layers elevate the entire production of “Ever On,” we immerse ourselves in the intensity that comes to life in this musical arrangement.
The brilliance of a concept that plays into various sides of your persona has us on the edge of our seats. Besides the reference tracks that helped to shape the song, what led you to take this approach to the cinematic component of “Ever On?"
Thank you so much for that. I wanted to make a video that showed the inner workings of my brain during the writing and recording of the Tiger Kid EP. Creating and fleshing out a solo project is a very interesting process, not only because there is no one else to hide behind, but also because your influences tend to show upfront and center. We used many reference songs during the mixing stage, and it was there that I saw how many people and bands influenced these particular songs and my writing overall. We actually had working titles for most of the songs that referenced which bands the riffs sounded like they could have come from. One was the "Jimmy Eat World" lick or the "Metric" riff. The pre-chorus to "Ever On" definitely has a "Rage Against the Machine" feel, but it goes in a completely different direction. It was a fun time in the studio. When we decided to put a video out for "Ever On", I wanted there to be a play between the solitary nature of this project and the influences that led me here and pop out occasionally once the music starts. Every kid pretends they're Slash when they start playing guitar, or Les Claypool when they slap and pick a bass. We all channel our influences when we perform, whether we know it or not. I just really wanted to explore the idea.
Could you please share what it was like working on the set of “Ever On?" Did your vision come to life how you had planned?
It was amazing working and collaborating with my director Oliver Defilippo to bring this whole concept to life. He and I started working together on the video concept a few months before the shoot, mid-pandemic, and really tried to dial in every shot we wanted, knowing that we only had a single day to get everything filmed. I had a loose idea in my head of me transforming into different characters, and after some back and forth, the video started to take shape. Thanks to Oliver's professionalism and vast experience, we were able to show up on set with a solid vision of what we wanted and what shots we needed to get. The day of the shoot was a bit insane. It was October of last year, and Covid restrictions had just been rolled back here in LA, allowing us a brief window to get this done. We were able to put together an unbelievable crew for the day, and thanks to our rather meticulous pre-planning, we got everything shot within our 12-hour window. There are so many good memories from the shoot, and I'm very grateful for how hard everyone pushed to get an entire video finished in a single day. All the way from the amazing lighting guys, to our 1st AD running around trying to keep us all on track, to having a blast on set with my good buddies Keith Erikson and Desi Felix, who played my background doubles. It was a mad dash to the finish and so many costume changes between the three of us that it's all a bit of a blur. A good blur though.
As a solo project, what does a glimpse into your creative process look like?
When I first envisioned Tiger Kid, it was to be straightforward, radio-ready rock, but with an interesting twist. I wanted something that could appeal to the masses in terms of form and progression, but without sacrificing the musicianship. It's a hard balance to strike. Ever On is an interesting song. It started with the Intro riff, which, like many guitarists, I've had in my "Riff Collection" for some time now. As it started to flesh out I saw the direction the song was going, but it took a while to find the right chorus to fit in. "Ever On" is a bit more "Prog Rock" in form than the other songs on the EP, and because I didn't want it to veer too far in that direction, I gave it probably the most straightforward and poppy choruses on the record. Even my 7-year-old hums it to himself when he's playing, so I know we found something catchy there. Lyrically, I wanted to go big with this one, as the music is pretty epic on its own. I wrote this poem a couple of years back that talked about how the universe is always expanding and how we should be doing the same, and used that as the basis for these lyrics. It's easy to get stuck in our own little world or in our own heads, but when you look at the big picture, everything in existence is moving and expanding outward. We should try to do the same and not allow ourselves and our lives to become stagnant. Trust me, that's not an easy concept to write lyrics around, but it ended up working out pretty well.
Do you find that the theme of “Ever On,” transfers into the 'Tiger Kid,' EP? What can you tell us about that project?
The best way to describe the music of the Tiger Kid EP is "Late 90s-Early 2000s Radio Rock". I wanted to bring back that style of rock of almost Early Lollapalooza bands: catchy riffs, epic choruses, and lyrics that make you want to sing along with and feel good. I also wanted a sense of familiarity with the music, so that it immediately sounded comforting and nostalgic. Especially in the modern musical landscape, Hard Guitar Rock without full-on Screamo vocals isn't easy to find, so I decided to create something that was missing. Every song deals with some sort of issue or uncertainty, but then explains how we are big enough to handle all of those issues and doubts. I felt like there are enough negative and Emo-ish songs out there, but not nearly enough positive and empowering music. I wanted Tiger Kid to basically be that pep talk in the mirror before dealing with a stressful situation, or that self-actualization that we need on a daily basis. We are strong, we are capable, and we are enough. It doesn't hurt to remind ourselves every now and then.