Interview: Goodbye Tiger

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This scene never ceases to amaze me. I’ve been involved in covering it since my unbearded days in college, seeing the then red hot New Brunswick explode with bands like Thursday, New Blood Revival, Little T & One-Track Mike and the like. Now, in the Asbury scene, each and every week I’m floored at the talent I stumble upon.

This week, I discovered Goodbye Tiger. I chose their name completely at random from this week’s line-up at Wonder Bar. I saw they were local and I figured I’d give them a shot. This was probably one of the my favorite musical discoveries in recent memory. The band has this majestic sound – deftly playing with the sonic landscape of the rock, alt and indie genres and creating an infectious and intoxicating sounds.

I recently caught up with the entire band to talk about their unique sound, how it separates them from the rest of the Asbury scene and Apocalypse Now as they prepare for their Happy Mondays show at Wonder Bar.

Goodbye Tiger is (Band Members & The Instruments They Play): Morgan Balog – Bass, Michael Pensabene – Guitar, Rob Talalai – Vocals/Guitar, Matt Skiba – Drums.

We’re based out of: Howell, NJ

The Story of Our Name: Our name is a reference to a scene from the movie Apocalypse Now, where one of the soldiers gets chased out of the woods by a tiger (or at least the hallucination of one) and starts screaming, “Bye, tiger! Bye!” He just goes insane, and it’s a pretty intense display of losing control of your emotions and your mind. The name also fits the ultimate “band-naming rule” in that you can yell “Goodbye Tiger” at a loud bar and the person you’re talking to won’t mistake those words for something else!

Any new music coming out: Yes! We just finished tracking our first full-length at Lakehouse Studios. We are super proud of it, and hope to have it out by next year!

You’ve seen us before [in other bands]: Nothing worth noting here! Our high school days were…less than awesome.

Our sound has been likened to: Foals, Minus the Bear and Thrice.

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Can you talk about the artists that have inspired you? Also, what people in your life have inspired you to create music?

Radiohead definitely comes up in conversation a lot. We really love the way they experiment with sonic space beyond what the instruments are doing,. We definitely want to harness that vibe more. We also try and bring a lot of energy to our songs and live performances with danceable sections that are no doubt influenced by Foals. And then there’s Thrice, who have always found a way to make the next record better than the last by always reinventing themselves; we definitely strive for that kind of constant improvement.

Without sounding too corny, we all look up to our families and to each other for inspiration. We’re not afraid to push each other, and that’s what makes our band sound the way it does more than anything.

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There are so many bands out there in the Jersey Shore scene to check out — what do you think separates Goodbye Tiger from everyone else?

The style of music we play is pretty unique in this scene because we experiment a lot with electronics and effects and form. The NJ scene is absolutely crazy now though, and we are just so pumped to be a part of it. There are so many good artists! It’s insane.

If someone read this interview and never heard you before, but decided to check you out, what song would you recommend they listen to in order to understand what Goodbye Tiger are all about?

The song that shows the spectrum of styles we play best would probably be “Call of the Void” off of our EP, Who Do You Call Home? But our most popular song from the EP is definitely “Empty Plots.”

A bit of more broad, sweeping question — what is it that you love about being in Goodbye Tiger?

It doesn’t happen all the time, but there are times when you can look around at a practice or a show and know that we reached the vibe we are going for. We’re all just jumping up and down and losing our minds and it’s not because we are trying to look cool; it’s because we are all feeding off each other and in our own world. That feeling is the best part by far.

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What can the people coming out to see you guys perform expect to see from you guys in terms of a live experience?

Hopefully, they can’t expect anything (laughs)! We try to not play the same set twice, we like to change up the arrangements of songs from their previous/recorded versions and we like to play interludes and connect songs that wouldn’t normally go together live. If you want to hear the recorded version of a song, you have the record for that. We want you to hear something different live, even if that means it’s us messing up because it makes that performance unique.

What do you have planned for the rest of 2014?

We have a few shows lined up, and we are just finishing up mixing and mastering our next record. We’ll also get the artwork, promos and new merch all set for the release next year.

Goodbye Tiger performs with Trophy Scars, House of Thieves and Control tonight at Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, N.J. There’s no cover charge.

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Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites