Tiga James Sontag, one of the symbols of the electronic music genre, electroclash, makes his first visit to Israel on Independence Day. Asked what took him so long to perform here, the Canadian-born artist recalls the years he spent in Goa, India and quips: "I saw so many crazy Israelis there that that's probably why I didn't get to Israel until now."
But on April 26, the DJ and singer, known simply as Tiga, will spin at a party at Tel Aviv's Haoman 17 Club.
Tiga's childhood helped turn him into an artist of electroclash - a style of music that fuses New Wave and electronic dance music.
His parents are a hippie couple who were active in the revelers' scene that began to emerge in India during the 1980s. His DJ father used to travel there many times a year to spin. The young Tiga would accompany his parents, spending lots of time at parties in Goa, which was not yet a trance powerhouse.
In the 1990s, when he was 17, he started spinning at techno raves and acid parties in his native Montreal. Since then, he has released two albums: "Sexor," in 2006, was a big hit and included club music in a pop song format with a glam esthetic, which was frequently intentionally trashy. Three years later, "Ciao!" appeared and continued the artistic style of its predecessor. In addition to his studio albums, where he was discovered to be an excellent singer, Tiga became famous as a talented remix artist; Da Knife, Scissor Sisters, The Gossip and Peaches are just a few of the bands lucky enough to get his remixes of their works. Tiga is also the man behind the remix of one of the greatest anthems of electroclash of the last decade, Felix Da Housecat's "Madame Hollywood," and "Miss Kittin."
In a phone interview ahead of his visit here, Tiga reflected on the impact of spending some of his formative years in India. "How did Goa affect what I do? I was exposed at a young age and from very close up to the whole lifestyle of dance music and I liked the concept of it - of dancing all night, which is now considered totally mainstream."
It seems that electro music has always been associated with the gay community. What do you think is the basis for this connection between the musical genre and sexual orientation?
"First of all, dance music in general, and not just electro, started off as a phenomenon among gays. One of the main reasons is that this music was a refuge for people looking to get away. What happened specifically with electroclash is that it came to add a little color to the techno rave scene where everyone stared at the floor or the ceiling while they danced. Compared to that, electro was glamorous and more playful with a strong element of fashion and extravagant dress."
Are you already working on a third album or are you spending most of your time producing new remixes of other people's songs?
"Over the last month I started working on my next album and I'll continue working on it the whole summer. I also have new remixes, one of a song by a Canadian band called Footprintz; they are really good artists and they now have an excellent album being released on Vision Quest. But I'm mostly planning to focus on finishing the work on my album and making lots of new music for myself."
What are you planning for the next album that is different from what you've done in previous years?
"I don't think there'll be a radical change in my philosophy or anything; it's still dance music with a pop edge, but maybe it'll be more sophisticated than its predecessors because I'm more of a man these days," he says and chuckles. "The feeling while working on the first album was one of joy that I'm even taking part in this party. I had very few expectations of myself."
Tiga may feel like "more of a man," but he hasn't cast aside his youthful spirit, which he defines as: "Writing the song anyway, even if you're not sure, releasing the album in spite of everything, because the passion for and need to be doing so is greater than the fear of how it will be received. That, in my opinion, is the meaning of what it is to be young."
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