Three Great Things: Brothertiger

John Jagos on what’s been inspiring him lately.

Three Great Things is Talkhouse’s series in which artists tell us about three things they absolutely love. To celebrate the release of his first album in ages, John Jagos — aka Brothertiger — shares some of the things that are inspiring him during quarantine. 
— Josh Modell, Talkhouse Executive Editor

1. Road Cycling

I’ve been an avid road cyclist for the past few years now. I haven’t owned a car since I moved to New York, so I invested in a nice road bike for my main form of exercise. I have a buddy who I go on longer rides with (he actually has the exact same bike as I do). Generally, I ride to Prospect Park here in Brooklyn, and I aim to do five to seven laps on the road circuit there. That equates to around 20-30 miles if I start at my apartment. But due to COVID, everybody and their mother seems to be using the park for its various benefits. It has become really crowded, full of bikers and runners. So, whenever I can, I ride out of the city and go on longer rides, away from the crowds.

My friend and I have a few routes we like to take, depending on how tired we want to be afterward. There’s a 30-mile there-and-back out to Rockaway Beach. It takes you over the bridge to the boardwalk, and you can ride the entire boardwalk until it ends at the northern tip of Rockaway. The big one we like to do is called Joe’s Donut Route, in tribute to our friend and bike shop owner Joe, who showed us the route a few years ago. It’s around 80 miles of riding, and it takes you up and out of the city over the George Washington Bridge and into Rockland County, NY. It’s a gorgeous, quiet ride, but it’s a lot. We usually leave at 6AM and make it back to Brooklyn by 1PM. 

Cycling is a form of meditation for me. If I’m pushing myself and really trying to get a workout in, I find myself focusing on my breath, working the air into the pockets of my body that are hurting in the climb. It’s a great excuse for me to be outside, and since my studio doesn’t have any natural light, I can surely use all the fresh air and sunlight I can get.

2. The Sopranos

For the third time in my life, I watched The Sopranos in full. My girlfriend had never seen it, and, like any avid fan of the series, I used this quarantine as an excuse to show her the wonders of the New Jersey organized crime scene. What a show. This time around, I noticed so many new details that I had missed on my previous two viewings. That’s what I love about shows like this. You can never really take them in 100%. There’s a lot going on.

My favorite character is Paulie. His way of interacting with people and going about his daily life is so strange. My favorite episode is when he thinks he is being haunted by the former associates he’s killed. He goes as far as attending a group meeting with a medium who communicates with the dead. I found myself laughing at a lot of scenes this time around. I think there was a lot of dark comedy written into this show that I really hadn’t noticed before. Tony Soprano is by far the most fascinating character in television.

3. Talk Talk’s Spirit of Eden

This is one of my favorite albums in general, but during this pandemic, I’ve listened to it almost religiously. I’ve used it as a sort-of “reset button” for my mind, allowing it to take me back to the start in a sense, calming me. The combination of jazz, ambient, dub, and other genres is so strange and beautiful. It’s hard to categorize this album, and I think that’s why I love it so much.

Mark Hollis is a personal hero of mine. I’ve admittedly modeled my singing voice after his, and I take a lot of inspiration from his lyrics. He writes in a very ambiguous sense, but you can still tell that each song is about something specific. I tend to write that way as well, referencing a specific memory or experience in a way that’s not overwhelmingly personal.

“I Believe in You” is an utter masterpiece, but I love the album as a whole. They sequenced it perfectly. It’s my favorite listening experience, front-to-back. It’s quite a short album, and I think that lends to it being a great “reset” record for me. This album was a giant inspiration for my latest material, and I consider it to be a hugely influential part of my life in general.

(Photo Credit: Alec Castillo)

Paradise Lost is the latest release from Brooklyn-based, Ohio-hailing 30-year-old electronic pop musician John Jagos. A lush journey through oceanic textures and gorgeous, tactile synths, Paradise Lost charts Jagos’ perspective of optimistic existentialism, his lovely cloud of a singing voice hovering over the proceedings and radiating emotional honesty.

(Photo Credit: Alec Castillo)