The Kansas City-based quintet’s Chop Shop Records debut featured an array of styles – spanning future folk, high-spirited rock, and candy-colored pop – melded into a truly original and ingenious sound. “It’s a sound that’s half organic and half synthetic, kind of like how all our lives are now,” says singer/multi-instrumentalist Kenn Jankowski. “It’s the common theme throughout all of the songs and we tried to approach it audibly as well.” The band started to come together in 2006 after Jankowski’s former band, the Golden Republic, split and he exchanged demos with fellow musician friend Adam McGill. “‘The Republic Tiger’ was my high-school mascot,” Jankowski says of the moniker, “and the name always rang to me in a nice way. I don’t like band names very much and I don’t like thinking about them either, so I just took something that I knew was timeless to me, and big enough that we could color it with our music and create its meaning with our songs.” The line-up quickly expanded over the following months, with guitarist/pianist Ryan Pinkston, bassist Marc Pepperman, and drummer Justin Tricomi each bringing a new color to the paintbox. “It was what we’d all always dreamed of,” Jankowski says, “which was to work with other people kind of like us.”
Over the next year, The Republic Tigers recorded a series of demos, with each member working individually on home-recordings which were then enmeshed into a single unified whole. The goal from the start was to incorporate elements of indie, electronica, pop, and even classical music into something distinctive and idiosyncratically their own. Jankowski was determined to bring “a different approach to each song. I wanted each song to be a story in its own world, like a little book.” The band self-released an EP in 2007, but it wasn’t until 2008 when The Republic Tigers released the Keep Color album that they finally started to emerge on the music scene.
While Keep Color was born of The Republic Tigers’ passion for inventive recording, the band followed it by making their bones as an inventive and resourceful live band. They spent much of 2008 and 2009 on the road, both headlining and sharing stages with Travis, Weezer, and Nada Surf. What’s more, the band performed on such high-profile programs as CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman and The WB.com’s Rockville CA, with their songs featured on an array of shows including Gossip Girl, Chuck, Grey’s Anatomy, and Supernatural. No Land’s Man heralds the upcoming release of The Republic Tigers’ much-anticipated, as-yet-untitled second album. While reluctant to give away too many of its secrets, Jankowski confirms that he and his fellow musical explorers remain on their own idiosyncratic path, fervently committed to the creation of The Republic Tigers’ singular sonic magic.
By: Elizabeth Stene | Beat-Play Ambassador South Africa | @LizMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC