Josephine Best

Photographer and music journalist based in South West London. Coffee, wine and music enthusiast.

As the countdown to Download Festival 2023 intensifies, anticipation and excitement fill the air for music enthusiasts throughout the UK. Recently I had the immense pleasure of catching up with Katy, the mesmerizing vocalist of Tigress, to delve into the world of music, share insights on touring, and explore the band’s upcoming performance at the highly anticipated festival.

Tigress, a powerhouse rock band known for their electrifying sound and captivating live shows, have been making waves in the music industry. Their fearless blend of rock, alternative, and pop sensibilities, led by Katy’s commanding vocals, has garnered a dedicated following and critical acclaim. With their unmistakable energy and a reputation for leaving audiences breathless, Tigress is poised to conquer the stages of Download Festival, making their mark on one of the most prestigious rock music events of the year.

Josephine: Oh my god hey!

Katy: Hey! How are you!

J: I’m good thanks how are you?

K: I am tireddddd

J: That seems to be the feel of the century, doesn’t it?! You guys released your debut album ‘Pura Vida‘ in 2021 so my first question is what have you been up to since then?

K: We released the album, and it was still a pretty weird time, we had plans but they didn’t work out. We were supposed to be doing loads of touring in 2021 for the album but then I broke myself and then I had covid, so I actually ended up being out of action for nearly 6 months, so we had a really slow year. It was frustrating to think “ugh we’ve released this album and haven’t been doing much since” but no one was really able to do anything still at that point so it has been a bit weird because we obviously wanted to do loads the year of the album release but couldn’t! But 2022 happened and we got a load of shows! So, everything just got really delayed but it has been so much fun. We had a crazy year we ended up supporting loads of bands that we all absolutely love.

J: I bet that was a surreal experience?

K: Oh my gosh so, it was so weird because we had gone from this absolute wreck of a year to doing shows with Feeder, Evanescence, Spiritbox, Billy Talent, Anti-Flag and then Evanescence again. I was only just like “what the hell is going on!” It was absolutely amazing and totally made up for the awful 2021 release year we’d had.

J: It was such a weird time; I feel like honestly loads of artists struggled being out of action and coming out of the depth of the pandemic, but you guys seem to really have just hit the ground running.

K: Luckily, we kind of managed to time it all well without trying to time it well? We’d recorded our album and did all the shoots before, everything was ready to be mixed and mastered, all that kind of stuff. We actually managed to finish all of that just before the first March Lockdown, so we really had timed it so well. I remember we were in Stornoway which is this tiny island off of Scotland and kept joking around like “how crazy would it be if we got stuck here” and then as soon as that looked like it would be a reality, we were desperate to get home.

J: No way! It’s totally different when you have the choice vs being forced to stay somewhere.

K: Yeah, it was crazy! Because we’d timed it so well throughout the pandemic, we actually had loads of stuff to release and we didn’t actually need to all be in the same room as each other so that worked out really well. But it definitely got to a point that after so long, I was thinking “are we ever going to be able to perform ever again?” We had to cancel so much, and it was honestly just the worst and it felt like it just wasn’t meant to be. But with every crazy opportunity we were given coming out of the pandemic even when I felt close to giving up, I just knew we had to do it and take it as it comes, and it has all worked out in the end.

J: 100%! One of the next opportunities you guys just so happen to have is Download Festival! It isn’t the first-time you guys have performed at this festival, but my question is, does it feel different performing this year with it being the fastest selling 20th Anniversary monster event it’s looking to be?

K: It does feel different, it feels really special, and I am so glad we get to be a part of it. The line-up is AMAZING and it’s really cool that this year is 4 days of music instead of just 3. We’ve been so many times and it is always a really special one for us because every time we go, we just have the best time. It’s always been my favourite crowd, there’s always been this misconception that rock and metal fans just go around punching each other or something.

J: We are the biggest softies! Couldn’t be further from the stereotype.

K: Right! Everyone is so friendly! If you want to take a kid to a festival take them to Download! We’ve played a load of festivals over the years and I have been absolutely terrified at quite a few of them but never at Download. The commercial ones seriously terrify me haha. These teenagers are so scary!

J: I can agree with you on that! Looking back to last time you guys performed at Download, what was the best moment?

K: Do you know what, for the first time I thought I’d be smart and took a camping chair, any festival goer knows that is a bag deal. We had just played our set, the weather was amazing and there were a bunch of people I knew that were there, it was so nice to actually be able to see people again. So because the weather was so amazing a bunch of us just decided to go and park ourselves in these chairs by the main stage and just totally soak it all up. I love watching other bands perform because I love to learn from other people and just be inspired by anyone who may have more experience than me, see how they work the crowd, seeing the crowds response and just being a witness to it all. Just being sat in the sun – which we all know is quite rare at Download – and watching the masters at work. It was a really great moment.

J: I love that! You’ve honestly made me 10x more excited now, this year is actually my first year at Download!

K: Aw man no way! You’re going to have the best time.

J: Thank you! I’m really looking forward to it! Back to you though… In terms of your set for Download, are there any songs you are particularly excited to play?

K: Well… There are songs that I’m terrified to play because we have been playing the same set for a little while now and we have just changed it up. We’ve added in a big belter that I haven’t sung in like 5 years or something. At first, I thought “oh it will be fine, it’s my voice,” but what a mistake that was, so I’m actually terrified to sing part of our set now. It’s all cool though, I’m a hard worker, I’ve been practicing every day and working it all out. Don’t get me wrong I’m looking forward to it, it’s certainly going to get my adrenaline going.

J: So, you’ve just touched on practicing of course but is there anything else that going into preparing for a set like this?

K: We treat all of our sets the same. We have designed this set differently because we have been around long enough to know what people want from a band, especially a band you may have never even seen or heard of before, which is often the case with us. We support a lot of bigger bands and play a lot of festivals and people see our name on the line-up and think “let’s go check them out” so we are planning on showcasing our best bits I guess you could say. I know that seems obvious, but we all sit down, and I might sit down with the guys and say a song I really want to sing because it will be epic and then we all try and think of different moments, different songs to make an audience feel different things throughout the set so it’s not just one note the whole way through. The prep is insane to be honest with you, I haven’t had a life for quite a while haha. We know how lucky we are, so we try and treat every show like it’s our last and then make it the best that we possibly can. It’s got to be party or epic vibes for a festival for sure.

J: I agree with you there. One of my favourite things to do at festivals is to float around different stages when maybe there is no one on you planned to see and discover new acts because they just have this crazy energy, and they end up becoming some of your new favourite artists.

K: Yes! I have done that so many times and I still do! Even when we play at festivals, once our set and any press is over, I just love to go and wander.

J: For someone who has never seen you guys live, what would say people could expect from your set at Download 2023?

K: Big vocals, epic guitars, and hopefully you will leave with lots of ear worms. That’s the vibes we are going for.

J: For people who may want to check you guys out for the first time, what would you say is the top 3 Tigress songs for them to check out to give someone a really good feel for what you are all about?

K: Definitely ‘Alive’, everyone loves that one and it is so us, we love our melodic vibes and big vocals which that song has. And to be honest with you I would just tell them to check out our whole last album! But if I had to choose 2 others from the album it would have to be ‘Choke’ and ‘Disconnect’ because they are high energy which is the best introduction into who we are.

J: What is it about Download for you that sets it apart from other festivals?

K: Download are just the only ones doing what they do, bringing together all these amazing rock and roll or metal bands in the UK and doing it the way they do. There are loads of other festivals that will solely focus on just rock, or just pop punk or just metal but no one brings it all together like Download. It’s the place where you can see iconic bands you’ve never gotten round to seeing and in this years case you can even see Metallica twice! They always have insane headliners, and the vibes are always just amazing. It really is the best place for rock and metal fans to be.

J: How many people can say they’ve seen Metallica twice in one weekend, it’s crazy! After your set on Thursday at the Avalanche Stage, do you guys have plans on sticking around for the rest of the weekend?

K: No unfortunately not this year. We actually have to leave because we are playing another festival in the Czech Republic!

J: No way that’s crazy! When are you meant to be performing there?

K: I know! That will be the Sunday, so we have to get all the way to the Czech Republic. We are a DIY band so we have to hop in the van and drive there with all our gear! It’s nothing new for us, it is looking like 20+ hours of driving. The day before Download we are actually in France with Evanescence and 2 days before that we are in Warsaw so it’s definitely a very busy week for us, but we can never say no because we love it.

J: I bet! Couldn’t have it any other way.

K: Absolutely not!

J: Right to end things off, some questions we’ve been asking all the bands we are interviewing before Download are: what is your favourite festival food and best festival memory?

K:BURRITOS. Always. It’s so easy, it’s a full meal inside a wrap and you can usually pick your own toppings, it’s healthy-ish.

J: You’re the second person to say that! I’m definitely going to have to get myself one at Download now, aren’t I.

K: It’s just so good! I do also love some noodles, but I am very much sticking with my first answer. In terms of my favourite memories there was this really funny time once, for context I hate camping. I hate being a sweaty mess, there’s no air in a tent, I absolutely hate it and if I have to perform it is certainly not happening because, you know, I want to look and feel good. But this one time the guys were insistent on going the day before and camping.

Now I did what anyone would do and asked them not to have too heavy of a night because we were performing the next day, go to bed early whatever and naturally they promised me they wouldn’t. Well, I turned up the next day and of course they did have a heavy night which somehow involved lots of cereal and beer in sleeping bags. The guitarist Tom had been on a ferris wheel and lost all of his belongings from his pockets, so he was frantically trying to sort all his important documents and whatnot out whilst also trying to act like they hadn’t all had a heavy night and disobeyed my orders haha.

J: Wow so it’s a great memory for you to look back on for sure.

K: They were absolutely hanging. Still not sure why there was so much cereal everywhere…

J: Did you guys at least have a good show after?

I certainly did, not sure about the others haha.

J: I’m really excited to catch your set on Thursday at Download on the Avalanche Stage. Thank you so much for taking your time to chat with me and hopefully I’ll see you at Download!

Be sure to check out Tigress as they take to the Avalanche Stage at the hallowed grounds of Download Festival on Thursday at 15:30.