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Interview: Tycho

Muhammad Nuruzzaman chats with Tycho – aka Scott Hansen – about his lush electronica, working with sessionists and how he negotiates the relationship between music and design

‘I’ve been a visual artist my entire life, so translating music to imagery has always come naturally to me’

Why do you consider Awake to be the first true Tycho record, despite it being your fourth LP?
I just felt something was missing from my vision of what Tycho should eventually be. It took several years of learning new recording and production techniques to get to a point where I felt I could make a record like Awake. Working with Zac and Rory [his sessionists] opened up new sonic spaces and brought new perspectives that I feel helped push Awake in a direction I had been searching for since I started making music.

Do you see Tycho as a full live band or your solo project?
I think of the Tycho sound as something separate from the band. I think the methodology and approach to production I use on the Tycho records can be applied to a lot of things. But from a performance and songwriting perspective, yes, Tycho is a live band.

Your tracks sound rich and full. Is this due to your preference for analogue equipment?
I just tend toward more lush, full sounds in my productions. I don’t have any preference when it comes to analogue versus digital; I use what’s best for the application. Analogue synthesis is nice, but it’s just one tool among many and it has its place.

You’re also a visual artist under the moniker ISO50. How does music and design come together?
The music always comes first. I’ve been a visual artist my entire life, so translating music to imagery has always come naturally to me. Tycho is an audio-visual project in a lot of ways, so I don’t see a real separation between the visual and musical aspects; they are both just components of a larger vision.

Your label, Ghostly International, is similarly very design-forward. How is working with them like?
Ghostly has always been very supportive of my vision. They realise that when you free artists from external manipulation, the end product is better. They also understand the connection between aesthetics and music, so it’s been a great space to explore the interactions between the two.

Tell us about your art and design portal, blog.iso50.com.
I haven’t been involved in the blog for quite some time, so it has slowed considerably. I’d like to revive it as more of a content discovery platform and not so much a space to post things daily. We’ll see when I can get around to that.

What’s coming up next for you?
I’m still sort of working through that in my head, but the steps taken with each album never seem very deliberate or premeditated. It sort of just happens organically during the process of creating the album. That for me is the most exciting thing about making new music: seeing this new form evolve in front of you.

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