Interview: Tiger House’s Bill Scharmann

After shaking the 'stand in January 2010 alongside Asteroid M and releasing Tiger House Live from the Banana Stand, the gentleman of Tiger House will once again grace us with their presence on March 26 with Bombs Into You. Lead vocalist Bill Scharmann explained to us what's been keeping the band busy, how to confuse the local indie rags, and what happens when your dad does the sound for your shows.

Banana Stand: How long has the band been together in its current form?

Bill Scharmann: A little over a year.

BS: How did it come together?

BSch: Carl and I have been writing music together since late 2007 or early 2008. I had just got my B.A. at Portland State and wanted to start my first band. He was the only guy I knew who played guitar in Portland (yeah, for real) — but I hadn't seen him since high school. I thought he was the greasy dude that always brought his guitar to school. I was the theatre nerd he thought was pulling straight A's. We both had a passion for Silverchair (yeah, for real.) I e-mailed him and then we toyed around for awhile playing with various drummers and bassists. Tiger House was the natural progression for both of us.

BS: How would you describe your sound?

BSch: This question can never be avoided and it's always hard to answer, but the only answer I can give you is: We don't want one. It drives the local alternative papers nuts. They call us 'genre-bending,' frankenstien indie rock, or tell us we have yet to 'find' our sound. All we know is that we don't want our audience (or ourselves) to sit through a 45 minute set of the same song over and over. I am pretty sure it stems from sitting through too many story-teller coffee shop shows, ADHD, and my restless leg syndrome.

BS: What are your key influences?

BSch: Education, [redacted] and 80's romanticism.

BS: Tell us your thoughts about recording live. What makes you interested in recording live?

BSch: I love the challenge of recording a band live. It is so incredibly hard to do. I love what the Banana Stand is doing in Portland. I wish there was more of that– capturing Portland in its natural environment— in its basement.

BS: What's your favorite memory of a live show? Least favorite?

BSch: Can I take a moment to talk about what a 'real night' is? I heard this from our friend Alex, who, I think heard it from the Jogger's (former Shaky Hands) drummer. A 'real night' is many things. It could be playing to your girlfriends on a Monday at the Red Room on 82nd. It could be walking into a venue to set up your equipment, promptly greeted by a medieval flute band who has taken over your stage and then the sound guy has 'left for the night' so the bassist of Nu Shooz and your Dad have to do the sound for your show, and then your Dad discovers the light board and thinks the lights need to come down dramatically after you finish every song. A 'real night' is getting your show moved to another venue and now you're playing at what looks to be a Family Pizzeria in St. Johns. And yes, that 13-year-old is playing whack a-mole during your set. A 'real night' is your least favorite show ever while being your favorite show. Yes, every single one of those happened to us.

BS: What are your favorite live albums?

BSch: Right now I am really into these VHS heavy metal tapes I got at various thrift stores. I don't care if this counts as a live album or if I sound like I am trying to be a kistch record snob. But everyone needs to check out Def Leppard's In The Round LIVE, Hard 'n' Heavy volumes 1-10 (They're on Hulu, seriously), Anthrax's N.F.V. Live at Hammersmith Odeon, and Armored Saint's Trip Thru Red Times. Go ahead and judge me, but it will be the best thing you ever watch.

BS: What other projects are you all involved with?

BSch: Carl and I work solely on Tiger House, but right now my mistress is graduate school and Carl's will be his child when it comes in August. Both Dustin (drummer) and George (bassist) are in other bands. Dustin fronts Mere Mention (a wonderful shoe-gaze band) and George is probably in a million other bands I don't know about… the ones I do know about are Handcheck and Salty Blackness.

BS: What are you working on lately?

BSch: We just played our EP release show at Doug Fir for our Doom Pop EP (which we recorded this last summer). We are currently finishing writing the last songs for our full-length debut album tentatively called “Top 40 Mornings & Underground Nights” which will more than likely be full half dance songs and half indie pop foot tappers. We don't know what the hell we're doing, we're just having a really good time doing it.

Thanks to Tiger House's Bill Scharmann for participating in our interview. The band will be recording live at the Banana Stand on Saturday, March 26 with Bombs Into You.


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