We first became aware of Sequoyah Tiger with the release of “Paul Anka” from her debut for Morr Music “Ta-Ta-Ta-Time. She has since followed up with the unique and rather wonderful LP “Parabolabandit”. We were delighted when Leila Gharib (for she is the tiger), songwriter and singer from Verona, Italy answered some questions for us.
Hi Leila, thanks so much for answering our questions!
Why the name Sequoyah Tiger?
Hello Tom! Everything began in 2014 when I started collecting pictures and texts related to mainland explorations: Shackleton and Scott logbooks kept during their Antartic expeditions, John Muir description of Sierra Nevada’s flora and fauna, other books about expeditions to Russian Far East along the Ussuri and Amur River. Among these materials, I met these beautiful and evocative words: Sequoyah and Tiger that eventually would form the name of the project. These two elements have different characteristics, sometimes opposites, but in coexistence with each other. There’s this double-faced nature to which I then gave a sonic atmosphere and a voice, becoming slowly a music project.
Words are obviously extremely important to you, what do you try to achieve lyrically when writing a new song?
English is not my mother tongue and I find this distance so fascinating, I can easily focus on sounds and letters of the words. As soon as a word or a little sentence attracts me, I save it and use it as a trigger to start creating something around it, going with the flow of the music and letting other words emerge from it. When words turn to a melody I kind of forget their meaning: I guess I’m trying to go beyond it, where music is, even though there’s always a narrative level.
You remain hidden, blurred, obscured in your videos, perhaps revealing a little more of yourself with each new song. Is that a deliberate reflection of the music or a deliberate strategy?
It’s always a reflection of the music, it depends on which song we pick to make a video.
How did you come to the attention of Morr Music? Or how did they come to yours?
Morr Music was my very first thought because of its clear colourful aesthetic and hybrid world. I wrote an email to Thomas Morr presenting the project and hoping for feedback: he liked the music a lot!
I love the new record, I hear fifties American pop, sci-fi echoes, David Lynch-ian influences, how would you define your sound and what influences you?
Thank you, I really love all the influences you mentioned and I can recognize them for sure. I would describe my music as tigerish chant, parabolic sound and bandolero mood. Every little thing that strikes me is inspiring, everywhere: I can find inspiration in the doing, in the mistakes, often in the unexpected and also in what I don’t like. Then the process starts and step by step I reach the composition.
Is it very different to work solo rather than part of a group? Which do you prefer?
Both ways are great but working alone is something I wanted to try and it’s very different from sharing ideas with other people. I was kind of curious to see what the final shape of this solitary journey would be: no one tells you when to stop and no one if it works, I felt like I could focus on stuff more purely.
What is the first song that you loved?
As far as I remember, Bullet with butterfly wings by The Smashing Pumpkins. I was 12 years old and I saw the video on MTV, I bought the album the day after and wrote the world is a vampire in capital letters on my school backpack.
What outside of music influences your art?
Observing and reading about stuff like unknown territories’, old maps, explorers’ story, acrobatic sports, sites where sports take place, athletes’ uniforms, animals and all their incredible shapes and behaviours, mysteries of time…and many other things!
What is exciting you on the Italian music scene?
At the moment I really love Maple Death records, there’s something genuine in every release is coming up.
What’s in your fridge?
Lots of vegetables, lemons, bacon, eggs, mozzarella, parmesan, milk, strawberry jam, ajvar sauce, olives, a can of coke, butter…
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
What question would you like to be asked and what would your answer be?
I’m buried with questions and no answers 🙂
Leila has done a wonderful drawing for us as well, it will be joining our masterpiece gallery once we find just the right frame……