Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
FTTM: Alright Pete, how’s it going? So – My name is Harry Sullivan and From the Tiger’s Mouth is a new solo project that I started in 2022. Honestly, the best way to describe the vibe would be if Foals, Everything Everything and a load of folk-artists got in a pub brawl and started hugging it out afterwards. Indie singer-song writer tracks with a twist.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
FTTM: I’ve been in the game for quite some time now – I was in a band, Bengal Lancers, for the past 10 years and a couple of ill-fated Slipknot cover bands when I was a kid. I started taking things a bit more seriously when I was 18 and discovered that I had a reasonable sounding voice and could play the guitar at the same time. From there I met the rest of the Lancer lads at university, and we grew up playing together – touring the UK and having a decent amount of success.
After lockdown, we had a very adult discussion and realised that a change would be best for all of us as life was getting in the way. The nice thing is that with this new project the guys are still part of it when they can be – Whether that’s performing live or helping reign in some of my more awful ideas. But there’s nothing but love there which is impressive given the amount of time we spent together!
This new project is very much a departure and has always been there – I used to play acoustic shows under the FTTM moniker when the rest of the band wasn’t available so it’s a natural progression in some ways whilst being brand new.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
FTTM: Great Question and a hard one to answer! Honestly, my influences are here, there, and everywhere. I’d be a liar if I didn’t say that indie-guitar rock is a staple. Particularly the Scottish rock scene – Bands such as Frightened Rabbit, We Were Promised Jetpacks, and The Twilight Sad will be on regular repeat. However, I make a playlist every month and currently I’ve gotten really into Viking war chants, the new Kendrick Lamar album, and a bit of Jamie T so I wouldn’t say I’m stuck in one spot.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
FTTM: I mean, playing Glastonbury’s got to be the one, hasn’t it? A festival like that would be an absolute dream. Any festival would be fantastic though – promoters hit me up!
Asides from that, I’m a modest guy – knowing that someone outside of myself likes my music is more of a victory than I could have asked for, so I’m already winning there. However, if someone wants to pay me a grotesque amount of money to continue doing it, I won’t complain.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
FTTM: That would be me! I’ve always seen song writing has always been a cathartic process. It’s my way of processing the world around me and I think growing up listening to a lot of folk and story-driven music made a mark in that I feel a song needs to be personal for me to give it justice. A lot of the tracks from my upcoming EP were written during lockdown and no matter how much that I tried to separate myself from the insanity of the world, it’s obvious how much of an impact it made.
My entire song writing process had to change – I was used to preparing ideas with space for 4 musicians but then lockdown meant we couldn’t continue in that way, so I ended up buying a small synth/mixer and just going mad with it. It changed my perception of what elements are needed for something to work and the mantra “less is more” has really played into how this record came together. There’s much less guitar in this music as a result. Previously, I would send my producer a demo and it would sound like something bloc party had released in 2003 but now I’ve stepped away from that and I’m proud of the result.
That minimalism of things has come out lyrically as well. I’ve been really influenced by bands like IDLES who manage to say so much at times without using far too many words. Sometimes the emotion is clear enough and the message is there.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
FTTM: In all the new-age ways. I’m on all the social channels under @fromthetigersmouth or something similar so please give me a follow – I even started a TikTok, however I’m terrible at using it. Never before this point did being 31 feel so very old. I’m also in the process of finalising some merch. My good friend Joey Gurdon is an incredible artist who has designed all my artwork and it’s screaming to be worn on some tees.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
FTTM: It’s a fact of life these days. I was part of the LimeWire generation when illegally streaming something put you at risk of melting the family computer and streaming was the logical next step. There are loads of benefits of course, you can access pretty much anything from anywhere and that isn’t just music, it’s all media. But on the flipside, it can be overwhelming. From a professional standpoint it means that it’s much harder to “break-through.” Even the concept of being successful in music has had to change – it’s great that you’ve got 10K streams on Spotify but that will only buy you a Happy Meal. I accept it as a necessary evil in that people all over the world can listen to what I’ve made, but it would be great if there was more to give back to artists who are dependent on these incomes to survive. I feel the industry needs to change – the growth of Bandcamp and subscription models might change that, but I don’t know if it’s the answer.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
FTTM: The Midnight Organ Fight by Frightened Rabbit is the best album ever written and I wish I had one ounce of the song writing ability that Scott Hutchison had. I love covering Good Arms Vs. Bad Arms but every song on that album is simply perfect.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
FTTM: People taking their shoes off on public transport. Certified sociopaths. Oh, and people who walk with phones. Following on from that train of thought – people who film an entire gig via their phones. Scratch that, I think I don’t like phones.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
FTTM: I once had a reviewer contact me to say that one of my tracks had helped them get through a rough patch in their life. The fact that my music had made a positive impact like that on someone left me speechless.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
FTTM: I’m just making final touches to the EP that Wall of Sound is part of, and I really cannot wait to share it with the world. Outside of that I’m playing some solo shows throughout London to support the release – my next gig is on the 16th of August at the Bedford. It’ll be a special show as it’s where my Mum was born and raised so I’m imagining it’ll turn into a bit of a knees up.
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
FTTM: My first two singles are available on all streaming services and you can buy tracks and more via my Bandcamp (https://fromthetigersmouth.bandcamp.com/releases). Cheers for all the support – hopefully see you at a show! FTTM x