Who Is Sky White Tiger?
Multi-instrumentalist and producer Louis Schwadron has spent a remarkable decade-long career as a member of the Polyphonic Spree and Rufus Wainwright’s backing band and a session artist for Radiohead and Elton John, while also touring alongside St. Vincent, Grizzly Bear and more. With such a robust resume under his belt, it was only a matter of time before Schwadron took the center stage himself, and he did just that under the moniker Sky White Tiger. With the arrival of his Child of Fire EP earlier this year, Sky White Tiger's spacey brand of pscyh-pop is sure to be on heavy rotation in our playlists for quite a while to come.
Following a two-year stint in the Polyphonic Spree and working with the long list of aforementioned distinguished acts, Schwadron made his debut as Sky White Tiger in 2009.
“After years of collaborating with a number of amazing artists, it became clear to me that it was my time to make albums and tour as my own entity,” Schwadron tells Diffuser. “Lyrics arrived from some other place, as if they were ‘rules to live by’ coming from some unseen figure in the shadows of my mind. At that time, I was visited in dreams by a constellation of a tiger; I had already started collecting white instruments – the name Sky White Tiger basically chose me.”
With the help of a five-piece band to build a collection of striking, electronic-driven songs, Sky White Tiger made their debut with 2013’s Electra. The Brooklyn-based artist immediately established himself as a force to be reckoned with, mixing influences from the very artists who helped him get his start.
The result is 10 captivating tracks that blend dreamy, soaring indie-rock with a distinct Radiohead-esque quality. Standout tracks like album opener “Awaiting Instruction” saw Schwadron adopting a Billy Corgan-like wail while the stormy and haunting “Time” lingers upon first listen, with its painstakingly meticulous pacing that turns into a sprawling, mesmerizing and nearly seven-minute cut.
Child of Fire -- which arrived in early February of this year -- builds upon the momentum established with Sky White Tiger's first full-length, but it also sees Schwadron somewhat shedding his past work and the corresponding influences, instead announcing his own singular voice and vision for Sky White Tiger. It also found the singer-songwriter performing on his own as an impressive one-man act, juggling loops, synths and guitar on stage.
The seven-track effort is committed to its mission of “blurring fantasy and reality” while sourcing inspiration from astrological mythology. As a result, Schwadron settles on a sci-fi version of his psych-pop on the EP, this time wielding a soulful croon over a bed of lush, synth-heavy soundscapes.
The record’s lead single, “Don’t Matter Much,” is a subdued piano ballad that transforms after two minutes, taking off with the help of Sky White Tigers now-signature chaotic yet hypnotic arrangements.
“‘Don’t Matter Much’ was one of those songs that came very quickly and speaks on a couple levels,” Schwadron says, “both as a minimal electronic soul jam and as a dance with our own duality.”
As such, the song’s corresponding music video explores those same sci-fi and fantastical themes heard on the song. Director Frank DeLeon-Jones even described it as an “alien ritual which is a dance of light and dark and the union of male and female energy.”
“If we are truly a balance of light and dark, masculine and femine, yin and yang, then we are in constant struggle to find balance within ourselves,” Schwadron adds. “We then project this upon every one we draw into our spider web. ‘Don’t Matter Much’ dances with the daily struggle within all relationships -- inner and outer.”
Sky White Tiger will soon regroup with a full backing band for an upcoming U.S. and European tour and sophomore full-length slated to arrive later this year. Stay current on new music and tour dates by visiting the band’s website and Facebook.