THE BIRDHOUSE 182: Tiger Stripes Interview

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Mikael Nordgren, aka Tiger Stripes, is a producer and DJ who has consistently brought true innovation to house and techno throughout his years in the scene. Starting out as a member of an indie-band in his native Stockholm, his introduction to music via instruments and more traditional forms of music give him a different perspective than a lot of other artists. This perspective allows him to alter and morph his style into different genres and sounds with precision and grace.

With releases on some of the most infamous and diverse labels in the world including Drumcode, Get Physical, Knee Deep In Sound and Hot Creations, Tiger Stripes’ work speaks for itself. I was thrilled to get him on Dirtybird recently for his killer remix of BOT and Will Clarke’s new single “Feeling Good”, and now he brings that singular style to THE BIRDHOUSE with an exclusive guest mix as well as a questionnaire! Check them out below.

THE REAL

How did your music career get started in earnest?

After releasing a few records and touring Sweden with my Indie band as a teenager, I met some guys at a party that made house music together. They told me they needed someone who could play instruments and write songs and asked me if I was interested in joining them. I was already playing around with a cheap sampler I had at home but together with them, producing house music got serious. Calling ourselves Slippery People, we released an EP that featured NYC Disco legend Leroy Burgess on vocals. It really took off and gave use a lot of press in our hometown of Stockholm. And the track, ”Sweet thing” was something of a radio hit here in Sweden. As the writer of the track, Warner Music offered me a publishing deal. And that deal made it possible to quit my job as a graphic designer and try living from my music. I soon went solo and before  changing name to Tiger Stripes, I released a string of techno oriented EP’s on François Kevorkian’s label, Wave Music under the name D’Malicious. A few years later, Claude VonStroke helped me sign an EP to Get Physical and that record changed my life. That’s when I started to tour the world as a DJ, every weekend. 

Where are you from and does it have an influence on your music?

Being from Sweden I think there is a heritage from ABBA, that a song should have something catchy in it. A sound or a strong melody that will stay in your mind after hearing the track. I actually did my first house tracks in ABBA Benny’s old home. My friends parents had bought his house and we had our studio in the basement. His grand piano and some other ABBA related stuff was left there, setting the mood for us.

How many times did you want to quit trying to make this your career?

I never wanted to quit, but it certainly has been a struggle from time to time. I’m not sure I would recommend this life to my kids haha. I’m kind of hoping they will choose a more secure path. But I do love my job and have experienced so much from it.

What was one piece of equipment that helped define your sound early on?

For many years my Nordlead 3 was the only synth I used. And I still do. My ”Sisters Ep” on Desolat for example, is all Nordlead. 

When you were getting started, which artists did you try to emulate (both musically and careerwise)?

Starting out I was heavy influenced by US producers like Ron Trent & Chez Damier, Glenn Underground and Kerri Chandler. 

When you have a tough week or a rough tour, how do you get yourself back on track?

My kids do that for me. When the alarm clock rings, Monday morning, I’m a family man and not a DJ anymore. 

Where and when are you at your most content/happiest?

My favorite place in the world is our summer cabin, deep in the Swedish woods by a nice lite lake. We spend all summers there, just chilling out and swimming in the lake with the kids. And of course I love being in the studio. And I love landing at Arlanda Airport, after a successful and fun gig somewhere in the world. That’s a great feeling.

Do you have any secret hobbies or hidden talents?

I love Persian rugs. And after reading many books about them, looking at their patterns and at the warp underneath the rug, I can (most often) tell in what part of Iran they were made. That’s a nerdy hobby I don’t often bring up during my dinners with club promoters, or with anyone else for that matter.

THE REST

Favorite and least favorite colors? 

As a big fan of raw denim, I love a deep indigo blue. Least favorite? Cannot think of any circumstance when I would wear something lilac. Has to be the worst. 

Favorite and least favorite words? 

Solidarity is a nice word. I hate the Swedish word Bajskorv (meaning turd, but is more descriptive in Swedish). 

Favorite animal?

Oh Tiger of course!

Favorite board game?

Loved Mah Jong growing up, but now I prefer card games.

Favorite guilty pleasure food?

Greasy burgers at the no1 place in Stockholm: Flippin´ Burger.

Favorite guilty pleasure song?

SNAP! ”Rhythm Is a Dancer”

German or Detroit techno?

The D! 

Festival, club or illegal warehouse?

A Basement, A Red Light & A Feeling. 

Biggie or Tupac?

Tupac 

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Star Wars.

Exercise or Netflix?

I do  both, but prefer Netflix any night of the week.