Eight Bit Tiger was formed in 2011 in Chicago by the Widman brothers Erik and Kent who were at the time transitioning from their indie rock roots. Following great praise of their debut album, the band changed course when Erik moved to Stockholm, Sweden in 2012. Determined to keep the music alive, the brothers built two recording studios in their respective apartments 6888 kilometers apart (for American readers, that’s 75328 football fields).
Inspired by the funk band Chic and pop legend Michael Jackson, Eight Bit Tiger has taken a strong influence from the annals of music history. The band’s sound is a mixture of 70s funk and 80s inspired electropop combining signature bass lines with vintage synth sounds.
“We don’t do things the easy way” is somewhat of an understatement for the intercontinental electronic band Eight Bit Tiger. With their new record Move Dance Feel, the band has shown that making a great album is no longer constrained to physical proximity, but can be accomplished in the cloud.
The music had now left the physical plane and entered the digital cloud. Sonic experiments and song ideas were sent back and forth, like synapses between neurons, ultimately leading to the creation ofMove Dance Feel, three years in the making.
The new album harkens to an era of high tops, colorful leg warmers, and dreams where anything was possible. Simultaneously, the human factor is counterbalanced by a glimpse into the sonic future from an 80s perspective, where robots have taken over and created a sound of their own. While the band’s previous release Parallel Synchronized Randomness sounded more like a rock band wading into the shallow end of the electronic music pool, Move Dance Feel, is a synth-heavy swan dive into the deep end.
Armed with an arsenal of vintage analog synths, the band does not hesitate with their music ambitions. This record is made to make you dance! The music takes the listener on a journey to a sweaty dance floor with sounds ranging from funky slap bass to moments of eardrum-popping synthesized chaos.Tracks like “Move Dance Feel” get the summer party started, while the love song “Forever” tears on your heart until you can’t help singing along. Who knew triangle and square waves could trigger so many emotions? The band shows their pop diversity by composing washed out sonic landscapes like Lasso, where the listener falls into a rabbit hole of perpetual slow motion, then quickly transitions to a funky disco jam in “Don’t Stop the Music.”
So what is it that makes Eight Bit Tiger like no other band in the world? It’s the unexpected secrets of the band that makes them spectacular. The Widman brothers do not consider themselves rock stars. Behind the tiger’s mask is a web developer designing websites and a Ph.D. developing medical technology. It is in the brothers’ ability to transition between the physical world and the musical parallel universe that is magical. No other band defies the musician stereotype like this by virtually changing the definition of “artist”.
Growing up in northern Sweden, the brothers began playing music together at an early age. They moved to the US as teenagers and grew up playing in bands of various styles and sounds. The genres and instrumentation may have changed over the years, but a conscious pop sensibility has always been an underlying factor in their music. Ultimately, a musical semi-balance was struck when Kent mastered the funky bass, while Erik sang and wrote the melodies. This is the musical harmony that breaths life into the songs, makes you want to dance, and gives the band their unique sound.
By not doing things the easy way, the band is setting the standard of what is expected from two brothers with analog synths, laptops, and a Dropbox account. With the release of Move Dance Feel, Eight Bit Tiger takes you on a journey to an alternative future where man and machine are no longer separate entities. Where robots become human, humans become robots, and mankind and technology strikes a balance on the dance floor.