tyDi (Part 2)
Fans of tyDi for a while, we were stoked to meet him back at RISE Boston in 2012 and fit in a quick interview behind the booth. We met up again at Shrine Foxwoods, three years later, and had time for a more in-depth interview. Read this one and you’ll hear a bunch of things we bet you didn’t know about him: what he’d like to be doing, his favorite films, getting into the wrong car in Russia, and why his style has changed.
We feel like dance music is a really political environment, especially now when people hate one genre, then they love that genre… Forget what you’re doing right now. If you could go into any genre and that be it, what would you do? Even if it’s something that isn’t popular now, or is considered old.
►Film score, because there’s so much raw emotion you can bring out in what you would call a genre. Just now, I think you pigeonholed me into choosing a genre like deep house or techno or dubstep. If I had to choose ssomething, I would choose film score music because it can stir emotion. It can be everything from just straight percussive, to a string quartet, to an entire 120-piece orchestra.
Is that what you originally set out to do? Did you go to school for that?
►I did go to school for that; I have a degree in classical music, but it’s not what I set out to do. Obviously it turned out my passion is for electronic music, but if you ask me where I want to go, I would say a genre – if you call it that – that allows me to be the best musician I possibly can. If I answered the first question with deep house, how far can I really take that? A kick drum, a bassline, and some hi-hats. If I answered with techno, how far can I take that? Not further than what I just said with deep house. If I said trance, how far can I take that besides some big synths, a 138 BPM kick drum, and a bassline? But how far can I take film score music? That seems endless to me. There are no rules to that.
A lot of people who read this will probably be confused and think [film score music] is some out there thing.
►I would tell them it’s not out there at all. I’d say to think of the last time they went to the movies and to imagine watching that film without music. Would it have the same emotions? Fuck no. Try to imagine it with no score – no sound, no words, nothing and watch the movement on screen and see if you feel the same. Then turn the sound on. The sound is what gives it the emotion.
What are your favorite films? Is there one you’d recommend someone go pick up?
►There’s an infinite amount of films with incredible scores to them… classics like American Beauty, or anything Hans Zimmer touches. The Age of Adaline, which just came out, has a score that is incredible and beautifully made.
Unrelated to its score, what’s your favorite movie?
►Lost in Translation. It’s an incredible piece of art. It’s a movie that doesn’t have to go into crazy lengths of effort to portray emotion. You just feel it from very small amounts of what’s visually on screen. You can really relate to the characters. I personally relate to the character Bill Murray plays; he plays this character who travels to Kyoto to do a TV commercial he got paid a lot of money to do. As silly as that sounds, I have had to do that in the past when being sent to Asia to play a show and had a week in a particular country over there. I’ve had no one to talk to for a entire week. When I say no one, the best person I could speak to was a translator who could just get my point across. Besides that, I was completely alone in this strange world. I’ve been to places like South Korea and Malaysia where it’s beautiful, amazing, and the culture is totally different. You know, they want me to do TV commercials over there for particular companies and it’s so relatable to the film. I’ve sat in that place alone at the bar, thinking, “Where am I? Where are my friends? Why am I here? Why have I chosen to be here on the other side of the planet with none of my family and friends around?” That film is very close to me.
In the movie, his family and home relationship sort of fall apart. Traveling so much and having to be a road warrior, have you experienced the same thing? How have you dealt with that?
►I have, and probably not in the best ways. I’ve literally had to travel the world for my job and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve played everywhere from Russia to India to Miami to Hawaii to Abu Dhabi. It’s hard being separated from everyone you love, all your friends and family. There is no way to deal with it than to accept you have a lifestyle like no other. I’m using the cliché phrase, “You only live once,” but it’s actually true. I only have a certain amount of days to wake up and enjoy life so I do it to the maximum and appreciate every moment I have. There’s no better way for me than to wake up in a different city every single day and play to a new crowd and meet new people. And to meet new people who have heard my album? That’s crazy. People who are excited about my music; they’re not there just because I’m a random person from another city. They’re there because they’ve heard my music before and they want me to be there. There’s nothing like that in the world.
We’re sure you’ve had tons of positive experiences, but have you ever felt in danger while traveling?
Tell us about that.
►There was a time I had a show in Russia. I had landed in this city and it was snowing and I saw a guy holding a sign that said tyDi. I walked toward him and he didn’t speak English, but he said, “Hey Tyson, tyDi, come to the car.” I get in the car with him, put my bag in, and just before he drove off, two guys came running and started banging on the car window. I was freaking out and cracked the door open. I don’t know why I had this instinct but I rolled out the door. The other two guys had another sign with tyDi and a different hotel name on it. The guy in the car just drove off with my bags and everything and these two guys could speak perfect English and asked why I got in that car. I have no idea why that other guy wanted to pick me up, but in literally in a minute or less, I avoided a situation that could have been rather dangerous.
You’re always busy traveling, playing, and doing your thing, but you’re remarkably good at personally responding to fans on social media. How do you find time to do that?
►Honestly, I don’t have much else to do in the breaks between shows. I play shows every night but in between them, I’m in transit between airports, cars, and hotels and I have my phone sitting there. I could stand in line at airport TSA doing nothing, or I could stand there replying to fans. I don’t get to everybody, but I try my best. It’s not because I feel like I have to or I’m told to, but I legitimately love to hear what my fans have to say about everything I write. it’s like a personal conversation with the world and it’s beautiful. I get to hear the options of people around the world about what I do.
Back to music, we ask everyone to describe their sound with three words.
►Passionate, emotion, progressive.
How would you say your style has changed over the past few years?
►My stye of music has changed in the sense of what I have learned. When I started electronic music 10 years ago, I was doing pretty much all trance. Now I still have the same emotions and feelings for that genre, but you wouldn’t hear it completely in my set; you’ll hear it more toward the end of my show, slightly trancey. I’ve developed, instead of a taste for genres, a taste for songwriting. It’s become less about the synths and the production and the drums and everything that makes a song. It’s become more about the lyrical content and the actual song itself. It’s become more about the verse, the chorus, the bridge. If you listen to my album Redefined, every single song has a verse, a chorus, and a bridge. I’ve become more about storytelling than I ever was before. I’m more of a storyteller and less of “Let’s put these simple words in there because people catch on to them.” I’ve started to become a lot more careful, planned, intuitive, and creative about the way I describe how I feel about certain things, and that can be anything from raw emotions to wordplay. Actual songwriting means more to be than ever before, and I think that comes out in my tracks. That’s what Redefined is about and I think everything for me in the future will be less about genres and more about songs. I can make you a folk song, or a house or a dubstep track, but if you want it in that style, I can still make it with the same songwriting that’s true to my heart. I feel like songwriting is what really happened to me in the last 5 years and that’s changed everything for me.