Emerging as two mysterious characters hidden behind a leopard of a logo, Tiger & Woods who caught the world's attention with their epic disco and funk-tinged edits which they like to call 'future boogie', have long gone under secretive aliases to release what have already become iconic club classics. Audibly influenced by early Janet Jackson, Prince, and white labels in the 80s, the duo's debut release featuring raunchy lyrics was rather well-timed, and somewhat hilariously just before the big scandal.
Besides running their own label, Editainment, releasing the likes of equally elusive artists Cleo & Patra, and Pop & Eye (who they claim are definitely not them), their long-awaited debut album on Running Back has also just emerged. Dazed, (stunned and excited), met the duo as they arrived at Sonar, matching sunglasses and black hats in tow, as part of the prestigious Red Bull Music Academy's alumni this year.
Dazed Digital: Having vocals often featuring heavily in your songs, are there any dream vocalists you'd like to work with now?
Tiger & Woods: We actually are working with one - she's called 'Em', and is also under a secret moniker... she's from the same place where we come from, which we won't tell you of course! She's amazing, like the kind of singer for a new 'future boogie'. That's what we do, we don't call it edits really, we're trying to go somewhere else now - with these obsessive loops, a boogie flavour, somewhere in between sampled house and edits, 'new boogie'.
DD: Where do you draw the line between edits/tracks as obviously House is so sample-heavy anyway, is there a point in calling it an edit or do you choose to say that to simply restructure them?
Tiger & Woods: I think what we do is something in-between [just using] samples and edits - we just focus on like, this one bit and focus on certain parts, where you have a song, and there's some parts you just want to listen to forever, like a bridge that you go back and forth to listen to. To relive that bassline, that point, we're obsessed with this kind of thing - we love loops. We believe for most people it's the same thing, to underscore the things you love, and yeah we change and restructure to bring an emphasis to it. It's like fixing the beat, extending the break, if we just love the point from 0:35 - 0:38 and just mess with those few seconds.
DD: Am I allowed to ask, how long have you been making music for?
Tiger & Woods: ... A long time. Really long. The first record was in 1993.
DD: What are the pros/cons of anonymity now you've come this far? Does it still help or does it detract from the music? (Like now?)
Tiger & Woods: We didn't choose to be anonymous to be cool or anything, there was no strategy plan about it. It's just more entertaining and fun, nowadays, there's no mystery, it's all clear to everyone - if I told you about someone you could secretly Google it in your hand and know everything I'm talking about. Before, when I was like 17, you'd buy all these white labels and didn't know anything about it, it was so fascinating. With us, sometimes we believe we don't even know each other, it's the focus on music.
If you see me you might recognise me, it's like a game, but we're not wearing masks and we're like not putting on anything, we just play. If we can ask for darkness that's great, we love the darkness. A club where it's dark, sweaty and the music is really loud. It's not about the haircut, it's about if you sweat to the music, that's the secrecy thing we love. So, Sonar By Day will be difficult but we'll keep the hats really low!
DD: What's with the name? Was this before or after the scandal?
Tiger & Woods: It happened one year before. The first record is one year before. It's really funny, because in the second record, the names of the songs are quite sexual, and it actually came out the same week of the scandal! It's just pure luck! The name of Tiger & Woods, rhythmically, it just sounds so good - like Mr Tiger & Mr Woods, two big fat guys in the back behind the decks - like Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
DD: Like Cleo & Patra, Pop & Eye?
Tiger & Woods: That's not us! I know you won't believe us but seriously that's not us! We know them, and we said to them you know if you do this no-one will believe you, but they said they'd do it anyway.
DD: Did you start out as DJs or producers? What's your production process together like?
Tiger & Woods: It's both... but it depends on the period, we miss DJing as we used to a lot more. Once I started DJing then almost immediately started producing as well - it goes together most of the time. With the live performances, it feels like a band but we miss DJing at the moment. We try to be in the studio together as much as we can but then one of us was leaving for a time, so we worked separately for a project, but before we used to be in the studio just jamming till we find those seconds we freak out for.
DD: this is what you were listening to growing up? boogie sound?
Tiger & Woods: I would say it is partly, it's all this Minneapolis sound. In my youth, I was working in a record store, where these older guys were playing Evelyn Champagne King, early Janet Jackson, Alexander O'Neal, anything Prince-related, and André Cymone - it was an obsession when we were kids, before we got into House.
DD: What are you most excited about next?
Tiger & Woods: Well the album came out this week... but there's a lot to expect, a really big surprise for people who have supported us. It's a really big gift from us, we want to share with people, we can't tell you more but that's quite exciting. Anyway we hope this will make the supporters happy; another project is for our singer, we actually produce and work for her. Working on a new podcast as well which will hit the 'net at the end of August.
Relive the glorious moments as they closed the Red Bull Stage at Sonar last fateful weekend with the full RBMA stream here:
Follow Flora Yin-Wong on Twitter here @petitflo