Tiga is the stage name of Canadian DJ/Producer Tiga James Sontag. Before producing music he was involved in the promotion of rave parties in his native city of Montreal, Quebec. In the mid-nineties he opened a record store, DNA Records and later he would found the Turbo Recordings imprint.
As a producer he's released two albums under the Tiga alias, and another with Zombie Nation under the 'ZZT' name. He has also worked with a huge array of talent that includes the likes of; Soulwax, Chilly Gonzales, Mateo Murphy and Jesper Dählback.
This month Tiga will release his mix compilation 'Tiga Non Stop' the first mix cd from him in over five years and he'll also be DJ'ing at Belgium's prestigious 'I Love Techno' event on November 10th. Seems like the perfect opportunity to catch-up with the man himself....
You are releasing 'Tiga Non Stop' this month, your first compilation cd in sometime. Could you tell me more about it, how did you select the tracks that are included and how you feel about the final product?
If I had to summarize. I have alot of music that I have thousands of tracks to choose from. If you have to narrow that down to say, 25-30 tracks, that's a challenge. But, it's an important challenge as that's what DJ'ing is all about. So, that was the selection process. Obviously, you have to decide on a overall feel and style of it too. However, once you've done that, that actual mixing it together part is pretty easy to do.
Was it hard not to be distracted by new material when you were making the compilation?
You could argue that the challenge for an artist for a mix cd is what not to use. There are always lots of options. It's like if you do a drawing, you don't try and grab every pen you have, you just use one. You've got the have the confidence to know what to leave behind. What I did with my mix cd was I had to tell myself and think of it as a 'snapshot' of where you were at that exact moment.
How would you describe the 'sound' of the compilation?
What some people do is when they make a mix cd, they focus on a specific sound. Like, I could have made the compilation very genre-specific. Like, an hour of Canadian Techno. I didn't do that, it's more an exploration of sound. More of a cross-section than a microscopic view.
On the compilation, there is new material from you. One of the tracks, 'Plush' is out as a single in December. Is this a one-off, or is it leading to another full-length album?
It's leading to another a full-length, it's just that it hasn't been made yet.. (laughs). I guess everything in my life is leading to making another full-length. But, yeah.. it's the first track from an album which isn't quite made yet.
There is a distinction to be made though, I did a record on Crosstown Rebels earlier on in the year. That isn't really related to an album or anything. 'Plush' is a little bit different as it has a slightly different sound. It feels to me, more like a Tiga record.
It was actually one of the reasons I did a real mix-cd, it was a good chance to showcase a few new songs and a few bits from Turbo.
How difficult is it to record new material when you are on tour?When do you find the time?
Um, I don't really. It's a big problem in all honesty. But, then again, 'you make your own bed, you sleep in it'. Maybe I'll have a day-off and I can go to a studio in Stockholm, it's that frantic internation lifestyle of wedging in projects between shows. It's always demanding, tiring and difficult. But, it can be productive. It's like with remixes, they work best with this schedule as they are short projects that can be finished quickly, you can do them in 2 or 3 days and they have a set deadline, so you just get it done.
The thing with bigger projects, like finishing an album... it's really difficult to do that and live a global DJ lifestyle. So, probably for the first time ever, I'll be taking a chunk of time-off next year. So, mentally I'll be in a place which is, "what happens when you don't have to be on an Aeroplane?" (laughs) I mean that it every sense of life, "what happens when you don't have to be at an Airport?".
Bit of a random question for you now, I'd like to talk about the movie you were in, 'Ivory Tower' where you acted alongside Chilly Gonzales as his brother. Are there any more plans to do more acting?
I'm not sure. But, I really, really enjoyed doing it. There were a few things about it which were really nice. It felt like a real team effort and it's completely different from I normally do. It's wasn't all about me and I wasn't making all the decisions. It was a really liberating experience. Whether the movie is good or bad, I do not know. However, when you finish it, there is a real comradery and that's a good feeling.
Would I act again? Maybe, yeah. I would like to do a talk show. That's something I'm potentially working on as I do enjoy writing dialogue and I'd like to explore that world some more.
How did Gonzales 'pitch' 'Ivory Tower' to you? Was he, "I'm making a film about a chess and sibling rivarly, I'd like you to play my brother"?
(Laughs) This is easy because we were playing chess, we used to play each other quite alot online. And... while I'm not taking credit for it. I sent him this old youtube video of Kaspirov playing chess. Some old Soviet match, it was super-cool, the camera work and style of the video was great. Then his album was finished and he had the idea for a movie to accompany it and he asked me, "Do you want to play my brother in the movie?" and I was like "Yeah, of course!". I know it's inconceivable that we could be brothers, but we kind of have a relationship which is a bit like that anyway
You've got 'I Love Techno' coming up soon, what does the event mean to you and are you excited to be playing it?
Well, um... (laughs). I 'Love Techno' is a good one because it's in Belgium and I have a lot of friends there. It's one of those events where you get together with alot of people that you know and have a good time. I like 'I Love Techno' because even though it's not all Techno that is on offer at the event, it's a Techno style party and I have the opportunity to play what I want and there is no compromise on my part.
I guess for me personally. When I play these big events in Belgium or Holland, it always reminds me of when I was really young and I was dreaming about being at one of these parties playing. So, there is a little bit of that at the back of your mind. Y'know, pride, you are where you want to be and it's a good feeling.
Do you ever find time to check out any other artists when you are at these events, anybody you are looking forward to seeing at the event?
I always try to, I always have these big intentions to go and check things out. But, it sometimes ends up being hard as you never have as much time as you want to. Sometimes the logistics can end up being a bit tricky. I'm trying to remember who is playing at I Love Techno... I think Boys Noize is doing his live show, which I haven't seen before and I'd really like to see that.
For me going to see dance music in this sort of enviroment is important. You can get all you want on the internet and look at peoples charts etc. Personally, seeing the reaction of the crowd and how a DJ is working it can lead to moments of clarity and inspiration for me.
Tiga is playing I Love Techno on November 10th.
Tiga Non Stop is released November 12th