Sledding with Tigers: an interview with the funny, irreverent, and passionate Dan Faughnder

In January, I had the chance to sit down with Dan Faughnder of Sledding with Tigers, or as I first came to know him, the funny dude on Twitter who put out a great body positive music video for his song, “Not So Body Posi After All.” Equal parts irreverent and passionate, Dan Faughnder has had a long history in music.

Like most of us, Faughnder views music “as an escape from bullshit.” In fact, he’s so passionate about music that he estimates that he saw about 400 bands in 2014 alone. It’s so refreshing to see a San Diegan actually care about the local music scene, enough so that they would go to that many shows—and actually stay for all the bands!

But even his passion for music was tested back when he was in school at the University of the Pacific, where he studied and practiced the timpani. He felt burnt out to the point that music was becoming the bullshit that he wanted to escape. Instead, he fought the burnout by picking up the guitar and ukulele, and that moment was the start of Sledding with Tigers.

Sledding with Tigers has always been a solo project for Faughnder, although people come and go to help with song arrangement and live performances. “I’ve been in a lot of bands,” he says. “It’s always stressful when everybody writes.” Now he doesn’t have to worry about that. Usually he starts brainstorming in his car. “I’ll start yelling… yelling-singing,” he says. Then comes the melody before he goes home to his guitar. “I’ll write the song, structure it, and record the basic song,” he says. “Then I bring in whoever I can con into playing with me.”

The con seems to be working. Now, Sledding with Tigers is six years old. The first two albums were joke albums. “I’ve tried to get rid of those,” Faughnder says, though he admits they’re probably around on the Internet somewhere if you look hard enough. (Does that sound like a dare?) But now his songs tend to the whimsical and folky, and sometimes as irreverent as his tweets. Listen to “A Floppy Disc Worth of a Song,” a short song that could theoretically fit in the space of a floppy disk. (And it does!)

The song can be found on their most recent release Not the Beatles Yet, released in vinyl and cassette by Antique Records. Antique Records started out as a cassette-only label, until their vinyl release of Sledding with Tigers’ A Necessary Bummer.

In an age of digital-only releases and a skydiving music industry, why even bother with vinyl and cassette releases, and in Sledding with Tigers’ case, a floppy disk release? “I’ve always wanted to do it,” Faughnder says. Plus, how can you beat the warm sound of nostalgia on physical media? However, his love doesn’t extend to CDs. “CDs are such a weird anomaly,” he says. Despite it being technically physical, it’s a compressed, digital experience. What’s the point if you’re just going to burn the CD to your computer anyway?

Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing what more comes out of Sledding with Tigers and Antique Records. You can check out his Bandcamp or order his physical releases through the Antique Records site.

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