Stephen Lyons admits that his band, Vancouver-based experimental instro dynamos Fond of Tigers, doesn't tour as much as he likes. Their upcoming stop at the Tranzac tonight (Thursday, September 4) with Off World (Sandro Perri) is a rare outing, so don't sleep on it.
You were supposed to leave for a retreat today. Where are you going?
We're going to Mission (an hour east of Vancouver) to try to make new music. I'm trying to get them all in one place with nowhere to go. Then I'm going to run experiments on them.
Orchestrating everything must be daunting.
I don't enjoy it; it's often really frustrating. I spend huge chunks of the year in abject frustration cuz it's difficult to get things going. And we don't spend much time rehearsing.
Does that add to the music's improvisational nature?
We're not going to be practising weekly. That's our reality. That kind of monogamous music relationship doesn't exist. So I accept it and realize how it (free improv) can be written into the music. But sometimes I think maybe I've cursed myself with this approach.
Is it physically exhausting, given the length of the songs and the intensity with which you play them?
Yeah, it is, especially the better shows. But the more we play, the more our rock fitness level goes up. It also becomes part of the sick pleasure. You're panting, your arms feel like they're going to fall off, you can't play another note, and then we push even harder on the next song.