Brianna Collins (Tigers Jaw)

Brianna Collins, Tigers Jaw

Musician, artist, photographer, lyricist, video editor - Brianna Collins does it all. As the keyboardist and co-lead vocalist (Ben Walsh being the other lead vocalist), Brianna has established herself as an integral part of the band Tiger’s Jaw. With an impressive background in art, Brianna has designed, painted and photographed merch and album covers for Tigers Jaw, as well as edited their most recent livestream for Hopeless Records.

TJ’s newest album, I Won’t Care How You Remember Me (which dropped on March 5, 2021), is quickly establishing itself as Tiger’s Jaw’s most effortless and exciting release to date.

We were fortunate enough to sit down and chat with Brianna, who discussed a myriad of subjects, including her upbringing in Scranton, her background in art and music, dealing with procrastination, as well as their new album, I Won't Care How You Remember Me.

Can you tell us about your childhood and how you initially got involved in music?

My mother always appreciated music. There was always music on in the house and if I wanted to sing in the car or whatever it was, she encouraged it. For example, there used to be a way to order CDs in the mail and you’d get like 10 CDs for 20 dollars. Whenever we got those, she’d choose three and would let me choose the remaining seven and this was happening at an early age. Between things like that and taking piano lessons from a young age, my mom really let me develop my own taste and musical interests growing up which was really great.

How did you join Tigers Jaw?

It was pretty random, I wasn’t trying to be in a band or anything like that. I love music and I love going to shows. Tigers Jaw had already had one record out and I was friends with Adam more so than Ben at the time, but we were all talking on AIM and he had said that their keyboard player just quit and he needed someone to fill in. I’ve taken piano lessons, but I’ve never been in a band but just put myself out there and offered to fill in if they needed it. I feel very lucky for my experience and how it all worked out. The more I look back on it and reflect I just couldn’t see it for what it was at the time. But now after all of these years it’s just so crazy how I ended up here and I feel very lucky.

You recently signed to Hopeless Records in 2020, which houses bands such as New Found Glory, Doll Skin, and Sincere Engineer. What was the process like in signing to the label?

They actually came to a show in LA in like 2015 and we had made this great connection and knew they were down to earth people at the time. They were interested in putting out Spin, but we ended up going in a different direction, which I’m glad we did. Everything has led to us being here now and we’re very lucky that they were still interested in us. They’ve always believed in us as a band and how we operate because we’re very self-managed. It’s so important for us to have a label where we feel understood and connect with the team we’re working with and every label we’ve worked with has been that for us. We feel very fortunate to be where we are and be in a place where we have a good dynamic.

You’ve talked in the past about being a fan of Paramore. Hayley Williams has been vocal about overcompensating for the fact that she was a female in a male-dominated band and industry. As someone who is in the same position as with a lot of women in the music industry, do you ever find yourself needing to be that way too?

I don’t think I’ve felt that way with the people who are immediately around me, but there’s definitely a different feeling within the culture of the music scene itself. We as a band try and do things where I don’t feel like the only non-male. I want to have diversity in the type of people around me and it can feel isolating at times, like I’m misunderstood or part of a joke I didn’t get. I’m just glad now in general how the culture has shifted and there’s so much more awareness and people are being more conscious of having that diversity. There shouldn’t be that immediate misogyny if there’s a female sound person or whatever it is, and I think of Hayley as an inspiration for me personally. Maybe you’re figuring yourself out and trying to fit in and maybe acting in certain ways that aren’t necessarily who you are, but you realize in the end who your authentic self is because you realize you don’t need to overcompensate for anything.

Tigers Jaw just put out I Won’t Care How You Remember Me this year, how was the process in putting that together? Did the pandemic affect its release?

Absolutely, my idea of 2020 was a lot different than what it played out to be. I thought we were going to put out this record and tour and do all of these things, and then this chain reaction started happening and we weren’t sure what we were going to do. We hadn’t put out a record since 2017 and there was this buildup and excitement over having this burst of energy and playing these new songs live. I had just photographed the album art March 5th of 2020 and we were moving along with our timeline and then a week later we were questioning what was going to happen. Everything was up in the air, our tour that was supposed to start in April had gotten canceled and there was this pivotal moment where we had to decide when the record was going to come out. This was the longest rollout we’ve ever had for an album but we’re so happy that it’s out and it’s done.

Your songs talk on things a lot of people experience and relate to. On your new album, I Won’t Care How You Remember Me, you have a song called “Lemon Mouth” that talks about procrastination and self-acceptance in things we may look at negatively. Can you talk about the message in that?

Writing that song probably felt more cathartic than any other song I’ve ever written. Lyrically it’s so simple and it feels like this stream of consciousness in a way I haven’t let myself before. It started out as me feeling bad about myself and feeling sorry for myself and this frustration that I had been feeling at the time that I think a lot of people were feeling. As I was writing, it had turned into this self-reflection about how I need to be kind to myself and look at things that I might see negatively as things that aren’t necessarily bad. They’re things that can be a struggle at times, but also so intrinsic to who I am and that’s why the end of the song feels a little more positive than the rest of the song.

Looking back on the journey of Tigers Jaw and your personal journey as a musician, what type of reflection do you have on everything you’ve accomplished thus far?

Tigers Jaw has always been an outlet for me. I think if I weren’t doing this and I wasn’t able to devote my time to music and art I don’t know what I’d be doing. I’m just so thankful for everything and the fact that our music gets to live forever, I’m proud of all of it. We’ve been able to work with our friends over the years and even with this latest album and having to push it back due to the pandemic, we’re so appreciative of everyone who has been with us on our journey and we’re happy people can listen to our music and feel happy.

Follow Brianna Collins and Tigers Jaw on Instagram at @brnncllns / @tigersjaw, @tigersjaw on Twitter, and Tigers Jaw on Facebook. You can purchase “I Won’t Care How You Remember Me” here.