Based in the heart of Brooklyn, Brothertiger has been a staple of modern synth pop for the past 4 years. Since starting the musical endeavor in 2009 in his bedroom in Ohio, John Jagos has received unanimous acclaim for his material from notable press such as Pitchfork, XLR8R, FADER, and more. He has had the pleasure of remixing and being remixed by countless artists, including Keep Shelly in Athens, FLASH/LIGHTS, Teen Daze, Blackbird Blackbird, A Million Years, Teeel, and more. After releasing two EPs with crowd pleasing hits, Jagos signed to Mush Records in 2012 and released Golden Years, his first LP. With raving reviews from AllMusic, In Your Speakers, and Alternative Press, Brothertiger’s sound became known as “a chilled-out exploration of creator John Jagos’ lush, lo-fi dance world.” After touring across Europe and the U.S. in the summer of 2012, Jagos returned to the studio to begin work on his second LP, Future Splendors, a more futuristic take on the synth pop sound Brothertiger has become known for. With his second record on the horizon and with a new live band to increase the energy for his shows, the future looks bright for Brothertiger. With his sound ever-evolving into the future, there’s no question that Brothertiger’s music will be staying with us for a long while.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. My name’s John, and I’m an electronic musician and audio engineer based out of Brooklyn. I grew up in Ohio, and moved to New York in 2012 after graduating from college. When I’m not making or playing music as Brothertiger, I’m recording and mixing other bands in the city. I also do sound design and audio editing for films.
How has living in Brooklyn affected your music? It’s been a very positive move for my music, I think. In Ohio, where I wrote most of my material, I felt like I was only able to write it with my own performance in mind (I was a solo performer at the time.) Moving here, I’ve met so many people who I’ve collaborated with, and it’s really opened doors for my music. I turned Brothertiger into a full 4-piece band, which has made the live sound more dynamic and exciting. Brooklyn also has a vibe that caters to creativity, and I’ve definitely noticed a change in the way I write.
Describe your current studio or practice space. I record and mix out of my personal studio in my apartment in Bushwick. I have a room dedicated to all my gear and my computer, so it’s nice to have that isolation. I have a few hardware synths, guitars, amps, and other instruments around to use. I also have a bunch of rackmount gear I use to mix. As a band, we typically practice at a per-hour space in Brooklyn.
What kinds of things are influencing your music right now? It’s been a long winter in the northeast, and I think the material I’ve been writing has really attached to that season. It’s hard to keep motivated during that, for me at least. So I’ve definitely tried to put more energy in the material I’ve written recently to wake things up.
How did your interest in music begin? I learned how to play the piano when I was about 10, and then guitar when I was 14. I discovered Ableton in high school, and started recording myself and the bands I played in. I think my parents played a big role in shaping me out to be a musician. Though they didn’t play any instruments, music played a big role in my house. We were always listening to something.
Tell us about your work process and how it develops. Typically I make a beat first, add instruments/synths, then start working on vocal melodies. I never really have any lyrics written before I start a song. It’s usually the other way around. I let the instrumental take precedence, then let the lyrics follow. Once I get the basic skeleton of a song, I’ll re-record vocals in better quality and add more layers of things like guitars, percussion, etc. It has developed into more than just me going over and over on a song day after day. Now, I have others involved on the project, and they play their respective instruments and offer up suggestions on how things should be played. So I’ll make a demo, send it to them, and see where it goes. It’s a nice change.
What other musicians/bands are you interested in right now? Lately, I’ve really been into Tycho, Todd Terje, Jon Hopkins, Nils Frahm, Jagwar Ma, Touch Sensitive and more new electronic records that have come out. I’ve also really been listening to The War on Drugs and Real Estate.
What’s your absolute favorite place in the city/the world to be? That’s a tough question for me, because there are so many place I love to be. I was recently in Austin and Denver during a tour. I’ve been to both places a number of times, and I absolutely love being in each. Denver is very laid back, and you get to see the mountains everywhere you go. Austin is just beautiful, and even when SXSW isn’t happening, it’s a great musical town.
What are you reading right now? Currently, I’m reading The Silmarrillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. I finally read The Lord of the Rings trilogy (mostly on tour), and I’ve been putting this one off for awhile now.
What do you want a viewer to walk away with after hearing your music? A smile. I just want people to be happy after hearing the music or going to a show. That’s the main reason I do it.