Hoe gaat get ladies and gents! Pucho here!
This is my first post since my move to the Netherlands and might I add that I am particular excited about this one. I had the unique opportunity yesterday to speak with Scott Hansen of Tycho, a talented aural architect and San Francisco-based graphic designer who is signed to the likes of Ghostly International, a label of worldwide acclaim whose artist pool reads like a roll of honor.
The music Tycho makes is the kind of stuff dreams are made of. From nostalgic Boards of Canadaesque soundscapes to folk-influenced, electronic surf rock, listening to him gives you a sense of calm while activating your visual cortex. If you like things like the sky, waves, and sunny days outside, Tycho is right down your alley.
This interview is particularly important to me because not only is Tycho on his first Trans-Atlantic live tour, but he is also one of my favorite contemporary American electronic musicians, graphic designers and the creator of the ISO50 blog, a seamlessly executed music, culture and design blog that is the only blog I turn to on a daily basis besides Nightdrive (of course ).
I skyped down with Scott as he was driving through the highways and byways of swampy central Florida with the hopes of gleaning some insights from the auteur.
You seem to be a jack of all trades. Apart from Tycho you are also a graphic designer and the creator of a blog with the same name, ISO50. What is ISO50 and what was your reasoning for creating it?
I mainly wanted to have a way to update often about my new design and music projects. Jakub, my manager suggested a transition into in a music and culture blog and it slowly became an opportunity to be more than just a platform for my expression but also a way to present the work of other artists and aspects of culture that tie into our aesthetic.
Though you are touring as a musician, via your blog posts on ISO 50 you really get sense that design and form really drive your artistry. How do your two passions, music and graphic design, tie into each other?
I wouldn’t say they are separate things. My work in design and music grew out of each other. Although they are different they are not a separate projects. Both ISO50 and Tycho are moving toward a single vision, kind of like a movie, you wouldn’t watch a it with only the sound on.
Talk a little bit about the A/V aspect of your show, as it seems to be the synthesis both your musical and visual capacities.
I created the visuals myself but I am working with Charles Bergquist, a director who is also a contributor to the ISO50 blog. We are redoing it all in HD to incorporate different posters and design elements you see in the blog. It will be similar to our old A/V show but I want it to have more of a real narrative. We actually showed the rough cut of the HD visuals but I think by the time we get the Europe the live show will be in its true form.
I use VDMX for all A/V sequencing. It gives us the ability to manipulate and render the video you see at our live shows in real time via the instruments. We have triggers on the snares and kick drums so when we can manipulate everything you see on the fly.
Eventually, I want the music to be a soundtrack to a visual experience where both the audio and the visual aspects of the live show are equally important to the audience.
Tycho A/V test footage:
This is your first tour with a live band. Listening to Dive you can still feel the Tycho sound but there seems to be a more organic approach to it. Was there any major difference in the recording ethos between Dive and your previous efforts?
Yes. It was not a conscious decision but there was a natural progression in the sound. When Science of Patterns came out back in 2002 I just knew keyboard. I learned guitar about five or six years ago and then I started working with acoustic drums and electric bass.
Current technology allows us to do a lot of awesome things while producing near studio quality sound live. I like to use a lot of analogue in the studio but that kind of equipment tends to be impractical for long tours because it is heavy and their age tends to lead to reliability issues. Thankfully the emulation software we use on the road, though not perfect, works great live.
How did you start producing music? Did you start out in electronic music and move to bands or vice versa?
I didn’t make music until I was 20 or 21. I never was in a band and was just messing around until Science of Patterns came out when I was 23. I started only with keys and computers and slowly progressed.
What is your opinion of the current trend in the music scene where blogs — though a useful way for artists disseminate their craft and individuals to share the things they like— are leading to the “pitchforkification” of music? In the past music lovers would pick up albums, enjoy them as complete pieces of art, and listen to them years later with the same passion. In the present it seems that some people are obsessed with listening to the hottest bands/producers/DJs that are being hyped then moving on to the next ‘cool’ band one month later
I grew up in a world where physical media was still dominate so I definitely see what you call the “pitchforkification” of music. Blogs have become the dominate way many people understand and consume music.
Definitely, it really seems people can’t seem to remember anymore and are outsourcing certain brain functions to the cloud, allowing computers and technology to remember and choose for them
That is just the way things are now, for some music has become a disposable art. The idea behind what I am doing is trying to create music that steps outside of that boundary and fits in the moment, giving it a little bit more longevity so people can have more of a personal attachment to it.
And finally, how has the tour been so far? has the live band and new A/V format been getting a good response from audiences?
Definitely, it has really been amazing. To be honest this is our first long term tour as as a live band after doing a stint with Little Dragon earlier last year. Starting in Chicago, moving towards Montreal and down the east coast, we are now we are in Florida and enjoying the scenery so…it’s going to be nice.
Tycho will be playing at Bardot in Miami this Saturday January 28th, you can buy tickets here. He will be
continuing his tour to Europe throughout February and will be doing at least SEVEN showcases at
SXSW this year so, all you Austin kids better be there or be square!
Little Dragon- Little Man (Tycho Remix)
Posted By: Laurence “Pucho” Henriquez