Tiger Army’s Cover of Lana Del Rey Embraces a Dark Paradise

Courtesy of Tiger Army

Nick 13 knows what’s expected of him and the rest of Tiger Army, and although he’s generally happy with it, he likes to surprise people sometimes. So when the band was approached about putting out a quick EP featuring a cover song, the songwriter knew he wanted to take things in an unexpected direction. This Friday, the three-song Dark Paradise releases to the world riding the strength of their titular Lana Del Rey cover.

“We obviously have a lot of influences from the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s punk, and that’s the territory we would usually mine for a cover,” the vocalist and guitarist says. “I got exposed to [Lana Del Rey’s] music about a year-and-a-half ago, and I kind of dove into the entire catalog around the time our last record came out. There was something about that song that I really dug melody-wise and lyric-wise. It felt like a song I could’ve written, which is always something you appreciate as a songwriter. I thought we could bring a unique twist to it.”

While the trio’s psychobilly and punk rock fans may not be Lana Del Rey aficionados — although former tourmate Davey Havok of AFI certainly is at the very least — the track fits perfectly with the lighter surf-sounding vibes of the new EP. Rooted in Nick 13’s love for mid-century rock, surf, and tiki culture, each of the three tunes still sound decisively like Tiger Army, but how fans might imagine them during a day at the beach rather than remaining underground until nightfall.

“We’re always looking to have an evolving vibe with each release, but it’s also a function of what some of those musical influences were,” Nick says of the EP’s surfy sound. “We’re a Southern California band, so even though we’re associated with dark imagery, we’re definitely influenced by that beach culture as well.”

Of course, there’s no saying whether or not the new vibe will carry on to the next full-length (which the bandleader says should be arriving next year). As much fun as the group had throwing a few songs together for their first EP since 2004, Dark Paradise was more about providing some new material for their fans and allowing Nick to continue his “electric guitar kick” than previewing or leading into whatever the official name of Tiger Army VI ends up being.

“It takes me a while to write a full album, and we just wrapped up two full years of touring the last record, so we wanted to put a little something out there for fun to tide people over for the time we’re gone,” Nick says. “It’s cool, because it’s been such a long time since we did just an EP. It’s a big artistic statement when you make an album, so this was a fun chance to just try a few things.”

Along with the release, Tiger Army’s only planned shows of 2018 take place inside of the Ace Hotel in LA this Friday and Saturday nights. Although that might mean Orange County fans won’t get their annual dose of Octoberflame for the 10th time, the band’s diehards know that any local show means some form of full-blown spectacle in addition to the musical performance. This time around, the vintage blazer-wearing frontman is happy to play into the theater’s long history and classy vibes to create a much more formal experience for their many returning customers.

“I moved to Southern California in 2000, and this is the place we’ve played more than anywhere else,” Nick says. “There are a lot of people who have seen us 10 or 15 or even more times, and we’re always looking for something fun that’s new for them and for ourselves. The concept behind these shows at the Ace Theatre is first of all that it’s all seated — which is surprising for some people — and that it’s a 1923 very beautiful, ornate venue. We started kicking some ideas around and decided that we’re going to do two sets with a half-hour intermission between the two sets, and it’s more like an evening party than a show. We’re encouraging people to dress up if they want to with suits or vintage, or to go another direction and dress in a tiki fashion with Hawaiian shirts and dresses.”

Tiger Army will be at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles on June 22 and 23. Tickets start at $30 and are only still available for the second show.

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