What started as an innocent hoax played on my former fiancé — now wife, don’t worry — turned into a pretty amazing post-wedding gift when British math-rock band TTNG dedicated a song on stage to us newlyweds.
“I would like to dedicate this to a dog we met yesterday, who was very gracious about letting us bother him,” said Henry ‘Hank’ Tremain as he introduced their closing song for the night.
It wasn’t the first dedication the TTNG bassist/vocalist had made, as every song the band played was peppered with a shout-out to someone they’ve encountered since landing with Mylets in Manila two days before their show.
I’m stood backstage at ArcTanGent Festival with math-rock heroes TTNG and – first question in – rather than using words to express his feelings following their performance on Thursday evening, drummer Chris Collis highlights the Birthday Cake For Breakfast smiling dog (above) as a visual representation. Vocalist and bassist Henry Tremain and guitarist Tim Collis erupt in laughter, Tim adding further explanation. “For the listener – Picture is dog with Birthday Cake, looking gleeful.”
Having had time to adjust (with Henry suggesting that TTNG would be the dog in the situation, the cake being the audience), Tim reflects further on their performance – commenting at one point that it was likely their best ArcTanGent set to date. “No, it was great. Really great to play in the UK again, ‘cus I guess it’s been a while.” He says. “Yesterday’s response was fucking incredible, like seriously.” Adds Henry. “One of the new songs we have this quiet build up and everyone was clapping along. It was pretty amazing.”
It’s fair to say that ArcTanGent is becoming a regular entry in the social calendars of those with a penchant for math/post/alt-rock and everything in-between. Growing in size year upon year, the organisers outdo themselves when curating incredible line-ups every time. TTNG have become a staple of the festival, having appeared at three of its four outings, matching the likes of And So I Watch You From Afar and Maybeshewill. “We had a break, caught our breath and then we came back to eat some more audience members.” Laughs Henry.
TTNG has just been confirmed to perform at next year’s Forever Alone Fest 2k17 along with Sargent House labelmate Mylets and other great acts to be announced soon. This is the first time TTNG and Mylets will play…
“Tina Turner’s Nipple Gravy!” all three members of TTNG respond enthusiastically when asked what their favorite fake name is for one of the UK’s biggest math rock bands.
Henry Tremain, Tim Collis and Chris Collis used to be known as This Town Needs Guns, but the ironic humor in the band’s name was lost as the trio became more famous, and they didn’t want to be confused for a decidedly pro-firearm group. Rather than switching gears entirely, the band’s well-known abbreviation became their official moniker.
“There are some legit rivals for the name on social media, like The Three Nice Girls and The Travel Network Group,” guitarist Tim Collis says with a smirk. “We get tagged in all sorts of stuff on social media. That’s the real reason we changed it: to do better on social media and to confuse our fans. Beside that, there’s a big chat and spiel we can go on, but it’s not a big deal.”
But that was almost four years and a pair of releases ago. These days, TTNG’s touring the world in support of July’s Disappointment Island and has built a fanbase spanning continents. But today, they’re still shaking off the jet lag and tracking down their instruments as they stroll into L.A.’s Mohawk Bend for a bit of lunch before their U.S. tour kicks off in two days. Of course, it’s a lot cheaper for TTNG to go out to eat on tour these days than it was for the first couple of tours.
“When we first started, there were five people,” Tim says as he bites into one of the four seared ahi tuna sandwiches at the table. “Then there were four, and then when we did 126.96.36.199.0 it was a transitional period. This is the first time we’ve been comfortable and written as three for the whole record.”
“I’m just looking forward to the next record as a two-piece,” jokes vocalist and bassist Henry Tremain. “We’re going to have to draw straws to see who gets cut.”