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Getting To Know: Rose Tiger

1. "The End Forever" is your debut album, and it's described as having influences ranging from 70's glam-rock to early 2000's house. Can you tell us about the creative process behind the album and how you blended these diverse influences into a cohesive work?

(Cyprien) Of course. I don’t know where the early 2000s house came from, possibly misinformed on the internet, or misinterpreted as it wasn’t made on purpose. I grew up listening to a lot of glam rock and 70s music and so did Domi here, she’s very rock herself. The creative process has been a long time coming, as I started this as a solo project in 2016. I then released two EPs in around the same time. I moved to London and really wanted to do a video, as I had a story that I came up with for a previous record and wanted to bring it to life. The idea was rock opera as I love musical theatre, and Irene enjoys it also.

(Irene) I used to sing in musical theatre in London.

(Cyprien) So she gets the vibe of what I wanted to do. I went from Paris to a small flat in London to focus on writing. I met Irene through an ad I posted online, which is very random, and we started writing.

2. The album is presented in "three acts" and tells the story of a world where humans coexist with robots and dinosaurs. What inspired this unique and imaginative concept for the album, and how does it shape the overall narrative?

(Cyprien) So as I said before, I had this story in my mind before I wrote the song. Maybe I’m too shy to write about my own life, but I find it easier to write about made up stories. Video games are a big influence for me, like the Final Fantasy Story, which is a big inspiration. 

3. 'The End Forever' has been released in parts, with Act I and Act II coming out as EPs in 2022. How did this episodic approach contribute to the storytelling and the overall experience of the album?

(Cyprien) It wasn’t made on purpose. When I first wrote the album, it was just the album on its own. But then I signed with a label in France, and we were trying to find ways to extend the duration of the releases, so instead of just releasing 2 singles then the album, we tried to extend with what we had. And then I realised it was very easy to cut it into 3 parts with the storyline, so we could release 2 EPs and then the album, so it worked out well.

4. Cyprien Jacquet, your vision for the album has finally become a reality after forming Rose Tiger with Domi Hawken and Irene Gonzalez in 2020. Can you share more about how this collaboration came about and how it influenced the album's development?

(Cyprien) So when I wrote the story there were 2 female parts, so I really wanted female vocalists. I thought about doing features, but it would be a lot cooler to have two girls to join the band. That’s why I called Domi.

(Domi) Myself and Cyprien actually met 11 years ago. I used to live in Paris, and that’s how we met as I knew Cyprien’s band, but I actually knew him the least out of all of them. Cyprien one day reached out and told me about the idea. I said to him I’d do it, but actually didn’t want to sing, only play guitar, but that only lasted about a month! Cyp got me singing all about dinosaurs and that was that!

(Irene) We met on GumTree, which I didn’t even know what that was, but I had googled bands looking for a keys player and replied to Cyprien’s advert. I sent him a couple videos of me singing that I had from music school, and we started talking on Facebook, for the longest time I thought his real name was actually Wendy! But then learnt that was the characters name from his story. We met up for a coffee, he told me about the project, so I learnt a couple of his songs so we could test it, and the day after we got booked for a gig, so I had to learn like 7/8 songs in 2 weeks!

5. The album contains 14 songs that vary in tempo and mood, yet they come together to tell a complete story. How did you manage to maintain a cohesive narrative while exploring different musical styles and emotions?

(Cyprien) For the narrative part of the question, it was quite easy as the story was already written. When I write a song I start with the melody and chords, then the lyrics come after. So I had to adapt this, to get the story into the music, which was a bit hard, to make it work in the right order. So I changed some parts of the story so it would work better. When I was creating this, I decided to do whatever I wanted and not care about what others thought, as I used to doubt my work, think it’s not good or catchy enough, but I decided to change this mindset. And funnily enough that’s how I got the record label, they just reached out to me and the rest was history.

6. "The End Forever" has contagious hooks and tracks that stand alone. Could you highlight a couple of songs from the album that hold special meaning for you or that you believe best represent the essence of Rose Tiger?

(Cyprien) Well for sure Domi hates ‘Scarlet Eye’! 

(Domi) That’s true!

(Cyprien) I think my favourite is a song called ‘I Won’t Go Back’ which is one of the last I wrote, so it closer to what I currently like, as I started the album so long ago. I also like ‘When You’re Here’ what Domi sings, as its perfect for Domi’s vocals and shows off her vocal abilities. 

(Domi) We all really like ‘Could Be A Fantasy’ as it’s really fun to play, we all sings harmonies in the chorus and I remember Cyprien said one day ‘do you want to come to the studio, let’s practice something’ and it was the first time we really rehearsed together. I remember really liking it but also thinking ‘why are we singing about dinosaurs?!’

(Irene) similar to Domi’s answer, I think it’s a really special song. Every time we play it live, everyone sings their hearts out. Its truly special. In terms of the new stuff, my favourite is ‘I Won’t Go Back’, it’s really dynamic and fun to play.

7. In terms of live performances, you mention the album can take on various forms, from a core three-piece to a larger band. Could you describe how you adapt the music for different live settings, and what can audiences expect from your live shows?

(Cyprien) I wish we could do the full live band all the time, but budget limits us. So sometimes just the 3 of us play the songs acoustic, which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just different. We enjoy mixing it up. 

(Domi) we played once in Paris. I had lost my voice, but the crowd were really great, really invested in the performance, like they really just wanted to hear music. 

(Irene) I thought that was really cool, as a lot of the time when you’re playing as a support, there doesn’t seem to be much attention on the musicians, and people usually use the support to get a drink etc. But in this scenario, the room was full, everyone was really engaged and supportive. Some even reached out after the show!

8. Looking forward, do you have any plans to bring 'The End Forever' to life in a larger theatre production or other visual mediums to enhance the storytelling aspect of the album?

(Cyprien) Well that would be a dream for sure! A theatre production or movie would be crazy, but it’s not in the books. At one point I thought maybe in Paris to play the album start to finish and in between each song find an actor to read the story, so maybe one day.

(Domi) Next stop, Broadway!

(Cyprien) well the reason the album is called ‘The End Forever’ is because I truly thought I wouldn’t finish it. I didn’t have money or label at the time. 

(Irene) however that wasn’t the case as you recorded and added more songs! So it’s not the end forever!

9. As a trio with diverse backgrounds, how do each of you contribute to the creative process, and what strengths do you believe each member brings to Rose Tiger?

(Cyprien) On the album, the girls really took it one step further with their vocals. It went from ok to amazing, I couldn’t stop listening to their harmonies. Each of them have a very different vibe and the energy they bring to the project is very different. 

(Domi) Irene is very positive. I have been doing this for years, and when we first met Irene hadn’t been in a band or anything. So our first rehearsal Irene was very excited! She’s so happy all the time.

(Cyprien) Yes Irene definitely gave me the energy to keep on going.

(Irene) Yes it was my dream to do something with music, I studied when I was younger so was happy to be with these guys and rehearsing the songs. I feel really lucky to be a part of this band.

(Cyprien) Domi has as darker vibe. She’s great at performing and really delivers. 

(Irene) Domi is such a goof guitarist, in the acoustic set she plays a 12 string guitar which sounds super cool. She never says so and always picks things up super quickly.

(Cyprien) the interesting thing is the characters from the story are very similar to Irene and Domi in real life. 

(Domi) my character is a super cool biker girl, so I asked Cyp if I could wear my leather jacket to which he said yes, so I said ‘sweet! I’m in!’

(Irene) and my character wears sparkles, so I definitely fit!’

10. 'The End Forever' is set to release through Upton Park on October 13th. What message or emotions do you hope listeners take away from this album, and what do you envision for Rose Tiger's future as you continue to evolve as a band?

(Cyprien) I think when you create a band or a record, you want to create something that you feel is missing. So when people hear my album I want them to feel like ‘yes, this is it, he’s done what he exactly wanted’. I want people to feel what I feel. And that there are still bands delivering music in this genre. It’s definitely my take on 70s glam rock. There’s also some influences from folk music and rock and roll.

(Irene) As a future goal I would still love to do the Rose Tiger Musical!

(Domi) So at a gig in Paris, I actually did my solo thing as the support for rose tiger as ‘Domi Hawken’ which Cyp assisted me on. Then we got changed into suits to perform with Irene and the rest of the full band as Rose Tiger. It’s obviously a lot, but it was really cool,  and I’d love to do that again. 

(Irene) I recently took a song writing course so I have been doing a lot of writing. But I think we could still do a lot with this album. Cyp has done an excellent job at directing this project, and I’m sure there’s still a lot more we can offer, like more live performances, supporting artists. The Rose Tiger Tour with support from Domi Hawken would be even better, we would have a lot more control, so for me that’s the next logical step.

love to do that again. 

All photography by: Felicity Bearfoot-Fallon

(Irene) I recently took a song writing course so I have been doing a lot of writing. But I think we could still do a lot with this album. Cyp has done an excellent job at directing this project, and I’m sure there’s still a lot more we can offer, like more live performances, supporting artists. The Rose Tiger Tour with support from Domi Hawken would be even better, we would have a lot more control, so for me that’s the next logical step.

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