Gabba Gabba Hey! Meet Italy’s Riot Punk Grrrls SMALLTOWN TIGERS…

Discover up and coming bands in 10 questions

21 May 2020

SMALLTOWN TIGERS is an up and coming all-female punk engine from Italy, formed in 2018. The riot grrls unleashed their lust for life debut album called FIVE THINGS last month. A rough rattlesnake record from the fired-up start to the bitchy end. No special effects, no arty-farty overdubs. Imagine The Stooges having a raw power fight with The Runaways while the Ramones are sniffing glue in the producer’s room. Final result: eight firecrackers, eight uppercuts, eight smoking guns, and lots of middle-fingers. I’m sure
you want to meet these tiger ladies. Before we start our chat let’s kick off with one of
the razor-sharp highlights of the album…

Gabba Gabba Hey! Here we go…

1. What triggered you girls to form a band and when/how did it happen?
“All of us have had – and still have, even though our involvement with them has been reduced – other bands prior to this one. We mostly played Ramones songs but we wanted to do something new. We’d wanted to try something more creative for a long time. In order for us to develop as musicians and escape the local live music scene that is mostly cover bands, in 2018 we started a new band, Smalltown Tigers. We dedicated ourselves to creating our own sound and transforming new riffs and melodies into original songs.
It’s been a blast since then.”

2. What’s the story behind the cool band name?
“There’s no real story to tell. A friend came up with it, for no particular reason. We liked it and we thought that the name reflected who we are and where we come from. We come from a small town in the northeast of Italy, Rimini, so… and why Tigers? Well, the tiger is a feline and we feel a bit like that. Of course we could have chosen cats, but Smalltown Cats would have sounded weird… great for a rockabilly band though! Maybe in our next life.”

3. Which track would you play as an introduction to your
music to people who never heard of you?

“Definitely, ‘Five Things’ is the perfect meeting point of what we
like to play and what we like to listen to. You know, every song from the album has a different style to us, but ‘Five Things’ represents the band more than any other track because it’s fast, loud, and pays its due to the Ramones style, like we always wanted to.”

4. Your excellent debut album is out now. On the cover, I see pieces of newspapers.
What’s the idea behind it?

Here’s Riccardo Bucchioni, the artist who designed the cover: “Well, actually there’s not a particular reason, I like doing collages for graphic practice, the first gig posters I ‘designed’ in the early 90s were made out of real ‘cut and paste’ parts taken from newspapers, photocopies and cut out text. I think collage is a very punk form of art. I thought it would have been a nice way to work around a picture and to wrap it up with a vibrant frame keeping the pic as the main part of the artwork. While listening to their songs I thought that a colourful collage might fit good with them: something ‘dirty’, but still pop and fresh, some kind of ‘orderly chaos’. I hope I was right.”

5. The LP is called FIVE THINGS. What are those 5 things?
‘Five Things’ is the name of the album but it all comes down to the song, our new single. From the main character standpoint, the lyrics talk about different moments in our life, when things don’t go exactly the way you have imagined them. Those five things are different for each one of us but most of all it means that there are more important matters for you to think about while dealing with another person than those you’re thinking in the very moment you’re speaking, so be careful when you do it.”

6. One of my favorite songs is GIRL with that great guitar riff. What’s the song about? Is the girl you’re singing about for real or a fictional one?
“Thank you! Well, the girl in the song is fictional but could be any of us. We talk about her in the third person, in a way that somehow reminds her (and so us as well) of all the people (mostly guys) that hurt her during her life.”

7. Is there a vivid punk scene in Italy?
“Despite appearances or stereotypes yes, the punk scene in Italy is still alive. It survived all the changes around the subculture communities that started in the early 80s and made it to these days. Although it’s not always supported by the alternative music scene which is most focused on what’s new or hyped by the media, there’s a large underground punk scene that still goes on strong with the help of musicians, internet radio and word of mouth.”

“We got a lot of punk rock bands in Italy, active since the early years of punk rock
like the Manges, SenzaBenza, Latte + and The Dirtiest, not to mention historical bands like Not Moving LTD and Negazione that were there since the mid-70s and played with the best international acts since then. All of them are great bands, with amazing live action so perfect to enjoy on stage.”

8. Which movie would you show on a big screen behind
the band when playing a concert?

“This is a really good question. Without thinking too much, we would say any Tarantino film, ‘Pulp Fiction’ in particular. We wrote this song, ‘Darling Please!’ and we always thought it had a Tarantino taste, don’t you think?. Or, we’re also thinking about the first images of ‘The Warriors’, the Wonder Wheel in the dark, the subway, the cold lights, so magical, so disturbing. Our whole record could go along with that movie.”

9. Favorite artist/band to do a world tour with?
“It would be a dream to do a world tour with Iggy Pop, CJ Ramone or Frank Carter. Iggy because he’s The Man, period. CJ Ramone because he was involved in the late Ramones and contributed to keep the band fresh throughout the 80s and more. So he’s a hero for us as Ramones fans. Frank Carter… well, he’s the one who plays the most lately on our hi-fi system, so it would be a great match, to be on the tour and to listen to one of your favorite artists at the same time.”

The Man

10. Next step for SMALLTOWN TIGERS?
“Due to the current situation, we had to postpone a mini record release tour in England but we hope to be able to resume it in November, if Boris Johnson allows us to do it… but it is still too early to say. We are still optimistic that when this crisis ends we can finally tour again and bring ‘Five Things’ to the stage in any country, any city, and any club that would want us to play. In the meantime, all we could do is continue to create new content on social media, rehearse in our own spaces and stay connected with music zines, radio stations, and our amazing fans.

“As soon as this lockdown will be over and we can meet again (we live in different towns, although not far from each other), we will surely find a way to put up a live gig from our rehearsal room. We have so much will to play together again that we don’t really care if it’s just in front of a mobile phone. Other than that, since we’re going to have plenty of time, this might be a good time to write some new stuff. Then there will sure be another single, a new video. You guys just stay tuned, and we’ll treat you right!”

Thank you for this cool Q & A, ladies.
May the road rise with SMALLTOWN TIGERS!

Put your leather jacket on, folks,
and go mad at home to FIVE THINGS


(band photos via PR-agent)

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