LAST year was very kind to Tigercub.

After six years of honing their fearsome rock sound to very little fanfare, the Brighton-based trio made a big breakthrough in 2017.

Their debut album Abstract Figures in the Dark went down a storm with alternative music fans and heightened their profile not just in Brighton but further afield. Now, after releasing a pleasingly eclectic EP in November, they are gearing up to play their biggest shows to date – at Concorde 2 and The Scala in London.

“We were never a band that sold a lot of tickets,” admits singer and guitarist Jamie Hall. “But something about putting out an album legitimised us in the eyes of a lot of people and set off a chain reaction. Before we were just thought of a local band with potential, but having an album really established us and now we’re getting a lot more opportunities. It all started to happen this year.”

Hall, originally from Sunderland, met his bandmates Jimi Wheelwright (bass) and James Allix (drums) while studying at BIMM Brighton. Speaking to The Argus in 2016 the frontman said Tigercub were a “slow-burning” band, but that was before their star began to rise.

We took so long to get to the starting block,” says the singer. “We’ve come further in nine months than we did in six years. We had nothing for so long that now to have this traction and appreciation feels really good. We’re trying to stay humble.”

There doesn’t seem much danger of Tigercub becoming big-headed. Hall is very down to earth and has the gratified air of a man who has had to work hard for his reward. As well as boosting their profile, the release of Abstract Figures in the Dark and the subsequent touring taught Tigercub a thing or two about the state of the music industry – and specifically rock music.

While most of Tigercub’s work up to that point could be filed under that genre, their recent EP Evolve or Die showcases a much more experimental side to the band. Their single The Divided States of Us in particular exemplifies a new electronic edge, with bold programmed drum beats and vocal distortion. Hall has been taking inspiration from musicians far outside the world of rock and roll.

“Making a record opened my eyes to what is selling and what isn’t” says the singer. “I turned from a passive consumer to an active one. We’re really into hip-hop – people like Kendrick Lamar are reclaiming the idea of the rock star. They’re taking risks, they’re unpredictable and interesting to follow. You can see how that kind of music is influencing people like Noel Gallagher and Jack White; a lot of people seem to be saying, ‘rock’s so boring, let’s so try something new"'.

It’s not as if Tigercub are completely turning their back on their musical roots, more that they’re trying to inject elements from different genres into their sound. Hall cites electronic acts The Prodigy and Chemical Brothers as examples as bands whose hard-hitting, chopped-up sound is more relevant to the digital age than “those guys who just keep making analogue stuff”. The singer is insightful and eloquent on the problems facing rock. In a way, he says, it’s a victim of its own legacy.

“I’ve reflected on the genre and where it’s at – subconsciously, it comes from a very conservative place. Rock is very, very old and it’s difficult to breathe new air into it. It’s entirely held back by its past and obsessed with its heyday rather than pushing forward and being progressive.”

That’s not to say rock ‘n’ roll is a lost cause, though. “It’s still such an expressive genre and I feel like it just needs to be improved and built upon,” adds Hall. “I thought the best way to do that would be to have an EP that made no apologies for its content.”

Hall admits that Evolve or Die was met with a mixed response, especially from those who loves the more orthodox sound of Abstract Figures in the Dark. Far from being downhearted by the negative verdicts, though, the frontman saw it as an inevitable side-effect of the band’s progression.

“It seems to have got us some new fans, but then there are others who said, ‘no, this isn’t good, I hate this’. The reviews weren’t all good, either. Some people said ‘this is ******* garbage’ but other said it was amazing. I guess it’s hard to be objective when you’ve made it. I’ll always put a positive spin on it but we knew it wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste. I’d rather have people saying we’re **** than not saying anything.”

While Tigercub have become one of Brighton’s buzz bands, Hall – like singer Mike Kerr of Royal Blood – says he is rarely recognised in public in his adopted hometown. And if he is, it’s not for the reason you’d expect. “I’m seven foot tall so I tend to get spoken to more about that when I leave the house,” he jokes. “I’m very much a hermit – I sit in my pants and write songs.”

Looking ahead, the singer is optimistic about the future of the music industry. Having broken even with sales of their record, God forbid Tigercub might actually start making money from their work at some point. At the moment Hall supplements his band income with freelance graphic design work.

“The industry seems a lot more solvent than it did a few years back,” he says. “I moved to Brighton in 2009 and it seemed hopeless. It was that weird crossover time between physical and digital music. The way things are going it feels like you could maybe make music your sole career in the future, but not now. Maybe that’s a good thing, though, because it only leaves the people who really want to do art.”

The Concorde 2 show marks the endpoint of a long journey – and maybe the start of something very special. The last Brighton gig Tigercub played was at The Haunt, so their show next Friday is a significant step up.

“It’s by far the biggest show we’ve done,” says Hall before praising the support acts on the night; Our Girl, Sick Joy and Glum. They’ve brewed their own beer for the occasion, too, called Safe Mode Ale.

“Because we’ve got so many friends in Brighton I’m hoping it’s going to be a real party,” says Hall. “It should be a great night.”

TIGERCUB Concorde 2, Brighton, January 19,