Michael Oliver Tighe is making music again. His upcoming EP, The Garageband Sessions, is set to be released late summer or early fall and will contain between 4 to 6 songs on it. His first single and video, “Party Up In My House,” is a simple tune shot in black and white in his New York City apartment. You can hear his own special concoction of lo-fi blues mixed with a touch of pop. If you didn’t already know, Tighe played guitar in Jeff Buckley’s band back in the 90s before Jeff’s tragic and untimely death in 1997. He also played in The A.M. alongside Parker Kindred and Andrew Wyatt ( a.k.a., Miike Snow.) Below, Tighe discusses his new EP, what he’s been listening to lately and some of his favorite memories of Jeff.
Q: What’s the theme or inspiration behind your new EP?
A: At the moment, the EP is turning out to be kind of an ode to New York City. I’ve lived here pretty much all my life, minus one dark year on Cape Cod, and recently the songs I’ve been writing seem to feel like direct or indirect love songs to New York or at least reflections of city life and the beautiful and insane characters I’ve met here. Topically, I’m kind of limited as a songwriter. I usually just write about girls or New York.
Q: Why did you record in a kitchen and not a studio?
A: It’s cheap, convenient, immediate and also I’m a big fan of old lo-fi field recordings and what not and I thought it might be cool to do a New York City apartment field recording type thing without the field I guess. I thought it might be cool to hear the apartment and the surroundings a little bit.
Q: I may have spied on your Instagram… I saw that you like Blood Orange, Drake and The Weeknd, good choices. Who else have you been listening to?
A: Yeah I think Drake and The Weeknd are two of the most exciting artists in music right now. Both so innovative. I’ve been listening to a lot of Pharrell, Elliot Smith, Vampire Weekend, Bee Gees. My friend, Mark Ronson, did a song called “Feel Right” that has a groove that makes me cry it’s so good. I always wait with bated breath for the next Alicia Keys album cause’ she’s a master.
Q: I know you and Jeff met when you were both fairly young, but could you paint the scene when you first met him?
A: I was 17 and he was 25. I was friends with his girlfriend at the time and she was in a performance piece at St. Marks Church in the East Village. I met him outside the church before the performance. He was very Californian but also wiry like a New Yorker. I liked him right off the bat.
Q: Does he inspire your music at all?
A: Yeah Jeff is a constant source of inspiration for me. He was such a beautiful friend and gifted singer and musician. He introduced me to so much great music and taught me so much about performing,how to stay calm on tour, cool guitar licks, so much. He was really a role model and like an older brother in so many ways. He was extremely generous, humanitarian, not an elitist and seemed very in touch with some kind of transcendental innocence. He also had a wicked sense of humor.
Q: What is your favorite memory of Jeff?
A: Probably listening to the Beastie Boys, Elton John and James Brown in the back of our tour bus after shows. We had so much fun doing that. Then we’d all devour some roadside breakfast together.
Q: Tell me about your recent signing with Downtown Music Publishing.
A: I recently signed a publishing deal with Downtown Music Publishing and have been collaborating with a lot of writers and artists trying to place songs and write cool shit. Downtown’s a classy company and they’ve introduced me to a lot of very talented people. I love collaborating. It’s probably my favorite thing on earth.
Q: Who in particular have you been collaborating with?
A: I recently helped write lyrics for a song with Niia called “Body” which appeared on her Generation Blue EP.
Q: Is there any new material in the works for The A.M.?
A: I still write a lot of music with Andrew Wyatt. He’s a badass and I feel very connected to him musically. So I guess there is a continuation of that element of The A.M.
Q: Last question, what are some of your favorite spots in New York City?
A: Some spots I go to these days? La Caridad, Wah Fung #1, The Smile, Odeon, my corner store for potato chips. I usually make coffee at home but after tasting Saturday Surf’s blend, I sometimes walk over there. I like to take jogs around Columbus Park in Chinatown down by the courts. As far as bars and clubs and stuff, I usually just go wherever my friends take me and hope they have a decent gin drink.