UTG ALBUM PREMIERE: Goodbye Tiger – ‘The Pixelated Soul’

When four personalities cross paths and take a major leap in stepping away from the usual routine of building a musical style from the ground up, something truly magical can be born. This can be the case for New Jersey’s up-and-coming experimental outfit Goodbye Tiger.

After releasing their debut EP, Who Do You Call Home?, back in 2013, the band was put into the Asbury Park spotlight, showing poise in every show and leaving every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears on stage. Two years later, the band is set to release their debut full-length album, The Pixelated Soul, which we are proud to premiere today on UTG. Filled with pedal-induced effects, striking percussion fills, and both subtle and intense vocals, this release is that major leap Goodbye Tiger has taken. There is no turning back now.

We caught up with the band to talk about the transition from the EP to the album, the actual writing of The Pixelated Soul, and what it’s like to play in a town where famous music stars like “The Boss” got their start.

For an introduction, introduce yourselves and your duty in the band.

Matt Skiba – Drums
Michael “Mak” Pensabene – Guitar
Morgan Balog – Bass
Rob Talalai – Guitar / Vocals

How was Goodbye Tiger formed and what made you band together as a unit? Were there musical influences that helped achieve this?

Mak, Morgan, and Matt met in high school playing in various bands, and then Morgan met Rob in college through a mutual friend. In the winter of 2012, we started talking about jamming together, and after a couple of good sessions, we realized this was something we wanted to pursue. Our musical influences overlap a lot, so the primary ones that snuck into our music include Minus the Bear, Foals, Thrice, and Radiohead.

Your first release as a band came in the four-song EP, Who Do You Call Home?, released in 2013. When did you know, when writing for the EP, that your style of music was born?

The first song we ever wrote as a band was “Empty Plots,” and we still play it to this day. Playing it all the way through for the first time was when we knew we had something. That feeling was further solidified after writing “Call of the Void,” partially because it was the first song we had trouble navigating together as a unit.

You have your debut full-length album The Pixelated Soul coming out soon. What preparations did you make going into writing these songs?

For the LP, our preparation was mostly mental. We sat and talked about the song structures, vibe, and purpose of the songs before writing the parts. It was a much more focused effort to be cohesive, which made the recording process much easier.

Musically, what approach did you want to try to have a more versatile sound?

We tried to incorporate a couple different instruments — effects pedals, Rhodes & upright piano, Hammond organ, etc. — in the form the overdubs. We also focused on giving the record and individual songs a solid arc, including recurring musical and lyrical motifs. And when it comes down to it, we practiced a lot — individually and as a unit — to get better at playing our instruments, and we hope that came across in the performances.

How was the overall recording process for the record and how much different was it from the recording of the EP?

It was great! Recording at Lakehouse Studios in Asbury Park was a fantastic experience from the tracking and mixing down to the people we worked with every day. Everyone there rules. The biggest difference between recording the EP and LP is that we tracked most of the LP live, whereas we multi-tracked the EP. Also, working in an official studio versus a dance school was more than just a change in scenery, to say the least [laughs].

If you all had to pick one favorite song you like playing together off the record, which one would you choose and why?

It’s tough to say, considering we have 11 song babies on this record, but we’d probably stick with “New Nihilists.” We feel that it captures the emotional span of the record in 5 minutes. Not to mention this song has the biggest variation in dynamics. Every time we perform it live, it gets easier to lose ourselves in the performance.

The band is always playing shows either in New Jersey or New York City. Which region do you feel more comfortable playing? What other cities would you like to reach?

We feel most at home in New Jersey. The crowds in Asbury and New Brunswick are especially responsive. Plus, you can’t beat our diners.

You have a record release show coming up on release day at the famous Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park, NJ. How does it feel to headline in a town where Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi got their start?

If this bill was any other show, we definitely wouldn’t be headlining – it almost feels surreal. We’re so honored to be playing alongside these bands in a city with so much history.

What is the overall goal of Goodbye Tiger this year in 2015? How far do you want to see the band go?

We want to play as many shows as possible in front of as many new faces as possible. We’re coming for you, Wyoming! But really, as long as we can keep making music, everything else is icing on the cake.

Lastly, what is one record you cannot stop listening to that has come out this year?

We’re going to pretend you mean the last 12 months instead of just 2015. We couldn’t stop listening to Run The Jewels 2. It’s a goddamn banger.

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