I Invite you to the party in my mind…
So says Tythe’s in depth Soundcloud biog. Careless Woman turned our heads at R$N Towers and we wanted to find out a little bit more about Mr Tythe. He also dropped us an exclusive mix for our ears going live next week. Let’s find out what’s going on in his world. Enjoy-ness.
Hi Tythe. Listening to your music, its quite complex and layered – how do you plan on transferring this into a live setting, whats the setup?
Many of my current idols perform solo shows on a laptop/controller setup, seamlessly blending elements of all their tracks together into one glorious, complex collage. I initially dreamt of doing that myself, but I have accepted now that my tracks are a bit too Enya to pull that off.
So, after grappling with many different ideas of how to do it live, Ive settled on the one option I thought was least likely to ever happen; Ive assembled a band. I have a singer [Su, who recorded a lot of the vocal sessions on the LP], a guitarist [my brother Chris] and a percussionist [the wonderfully talented Ric Eslworth]. Im playing some of the synth bits, triggering samples, playing some guitar, token effect wiggling Its all quite new to me, so until I have spent 10,000 hours rehearsing and finally transmute into one giant spirituo-technical entity, we are all playing over the top of a backing track. I neednt pretend otherwise. The joy of the liveness comes through the new layers of sound / vocals / counter melodies that are not featured on the record.
The sound of your music is ethereal and natural, do you play instruments or is your approach more sample based?
Well, in terms of organic elements, I do play guitar and bass on the record, and did the vocals on Totem Poles too, which are quite ethereal. I also recorded sounds like music-box, some percussion instruments, and other found sounds, which I then mapped out onto keyboard/drum machine and replayed, for a more natural / live sound, but mostly the record consists of me programming midi instruments/samplers. As every producer will have said on this subject, the challenge is always making something computery sound not computery, and that has been a lot of the enjoyment for me. As Im not an expert at any instrument in particular, I enjoy finding combinations of sound, melody and effects that disguise how unskilled I am. If I could have my time again, Id happily substitute my piecemeal production / instrument knowledge to be an amazing pianist. Piano is THE instrument!
In many instances in my music, it is a sample that either forms the starting point to make a track / idea happen quickly, or instead acts as a catalyst to create the instant atmosphere that then quickly defines the track. Where the artificial successfully creates the ethereal is probably best exemplified through Sus vocals; they sound very natural and eerie, but they actually came about through a very cynical process. My original vocal tracks were made by me sampling young girls singing acapella in their bedrooms, on their mobile phones [via youtube], then me chopping / reversing / repitching them and creating new vocal melodies out of it all. Su then had to imitate those vocals. I then had to reverse engineer her vocals to sound like the ropey samples from Youtube! Hahaha.
Fortunately, rather than her just yawning out wig-outs on every track we did together, on Careless Woman we worked harder to interpret what semi-intelligible new words / phrases were hidden in my trippy reconstituted youtube vocals. Something one-off happens there. Though I distorted those voice sounds to an unrecognizable state, I could never have consciously devised the Careless Woman vocal myself without that original sample the genesis moment – yet it still sounds like Su was always supposed to sing it like that in the track. Its cool.
Your debut album is due out in August. In the process of putting it together did you map it out as an album proper, or is it a selection of tracks from over time that youve found work well as a unit, after the fact?
In truth, Id been imagining making an album for about 6 years or more. The first album was very different! It was much more guitary/live and instrumental. I kind of let it slide because my musical tastes were changing a lot over that period, and so were trends in music production. The geeky fact is that it wasnt until I got Ableton that THIS record suddenly clicked into place. I was very intimidated by Ableton, and had been ignoring it for a long time, but my friend showed me the ropes one day and I instantly became fervent, messing with sounds in a way that Id only dreamt of before. So, though there are one or two tracks on the LP whose early incarnations do stretch back almost six years, it was mostly over a recent period of about two years where I finally felt my sound had become coherent enough to unify all these particular tracks in a full-length record.
The last track I made for the record was actually the first track on it, Alpine Dawn. Ive always loved intros and outros. Motorik made sense as the dreamy goodbye track at the end of the LP, so I needed a suitable welcome track too. Despite it still being quite eclectic, hopefully the And Also With You LP is coherent as an album and recognizable as me. You can never tell, yourself, when its you.
How did the hook up with Sunday Best come about?
Ive worked with Sunday Best in different ways over the years. I love them all as people but also for what they represent; they are independent and they often take risks on the underdog. Rob da Banks always supported my music and encouraged me since he played a few of my first ever tracks on Radio 1 years ago, under a throwaway alter ego. Little did we know wed end up here? We make music together sometimes these days too, he and I. My relationship with the whole Sunday Best family doesnt require much TLC. I just know they will be in my life indefinitely, and I hope vice-versa. I shouldnt think there are many labels like that, out there.
Were featuring a mix of yours on R$N, can you tell us a bit about it and what your DJ setup consists of?
Yeah, this mix is a good example of the variety of stuff Im into, I guess. When I play out I just use CDJs, but when I make these online mixes, I use Ableton. I used to love the Global Underground compilation series [and Sashas Involver mixes], where great focus was put on melding the tracks together as seamlessly as possible; thats not happening between every track in my mix, but Id still rather produce something harmonic and flowing than rudimentarily cobble together a CDJ mix and spend 48 hours trying to make it airtight. In truth, I dont actually own CDJs. Shhhh.
My DJ sets will quite often change energy levels and feel, up and down and all round the houses its probably a hangover from going to Bedrock when I was younger and getting lost in the middle of a beatless, dramatic breakdown for about 4 minutes thats still in me. So I dont mind a bit of standing around and collecting my thoughts whilst a DJs playing. I hope other people feel the same, when Im playing.
Though I have loved DJing quite a few more party party house sets out and about recently, I find warm up sets really enjoyable for the above reason, that build up towards something bigger, creating a bit of stifled anticipation. This mix is representative of that kind of set for me. There are some nice remixes in there from Casino Times, Time & Space Machine, DJ Harvey and Joel Hood I never play my own tunes when I DJ out, but Joels mix of my tune Totem Poles is truly beautiful so I stuck that in. And the single Careless Woman. I mean, this is strictly business, right?
Your Dad rowed the Atlantic? Is that right? Any plans to follow in his footsteps?
I would like to think Ive inherited my dads patience and resilience, but hes an ox. Hes rowed from London to Paris, climbed the Mountains of the Moon in Uganda, Himalayas too, run in Namibian ultra-marathons, the Marathon Des Sables, etc. all in the latter years of his life. I, instead, sit at my computer and try my hardest not to write endless Simply Red b-sides. Im not going to try to compete with him But you never know, he was a late starter. I might be too.
I see youve been remixed by Throwing Snow, who are some of the artists of the moment whos music your most excited by?
Well apart from Throwing Snow, whom I adore, recently Vinyl Williams has been exciting me greatly, Gold Panda [always], Dauwd, Applescal, Lauer, Boska, Cholombian, Mount Kimbie, Bibio, Lorca, Samoyed and others.
In a previous interview I read that you were obsessed with heroin but had never tried it. Where does this obsession derive from – its pretty morbid?
Its one of those things man, you make a pariah or taboo of something, and it becomes more fascinating. I think the act of injecting something straight into your blood stream is about as dramatic as it gets, in terms of seeking pleasure, comfort and happiness. Its just so extreme. You watch these guys eyes roll back and start slurring their words until they rock off to sleep. Its tragic really, of course. But I take solace in the fact that the joke is on us – and they are having the fucking best time one could ever imagine
Is there much of a scene in your native Essex of people making (or appreciating) the type of music youre making?
Well Gold Panda spent much time growing up in Chelmsford. Lapalux is from Essex too, so its not entirely a barren wasteland, but dont get me wrong, we dont all meet up over an almond croissant, then go and make a beat together. They dont know who I am. If there IS an Essex music producer foodchain, Im about as low down it as it gets, Im sure. Im the bluebottle man. Buzzing around the melted ice cream, trying to be part of the gang.
Aside from your live set at Bestival, what else have you got in store for the summer ahead?
Ive got some DJ dates over the summer:
Dilation [Dalston Rooftop Gardens]: Sat 13th July [5-7pm opening set]
Secret Garden Party [Feral Fever Woodland]: Thurs 25th/ Fri 26th July
Camp Bestival [Bollywood tent]: Sun 4 Aug
Space Ibiza [Premier Etage]: Tuesday 6 Aug
Bestival [Wishing Tree]: Sun 8th Sept
And Im putting on a FREE all-day party at The Lock Tavern on Sunday August 11th, with my music pals Joel Hood, Channel Swimmer, Chris Coco, Mark Ryan [Amazing Radio] and [DJ] Mojo Filter. The partys called SUN. We all like, and in most cases produce, sunny music and we are going to shower people with it from 3pm-11pm. Please come along dude! x
Check Tythe’s Careless Woman below and check out his Soundcloud in full here.