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Interview: Tycho – ‘San Francisco can be a pretty rainy place’

Electronic musician Scott Hansen talks about the importance of symbiosis in his art and why there are actually more important things in life.
Norman Fleischer April 9, 2014

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Scott Hansen is one of those people you wouldn’t normally mistake for a internationally celebrated composer when he walks across you on a street. He’s the man behind dreamy electronica project TYCHO. And it was actually never about him in general. TYCHO is about something more. A audiovisual symbiosis between music, art and performance. With every record Hansen and his fellow musicians brought that idea a bit closer to its perfection. Awake, the just released new album, marks the latest step in this evolution. But it’s clearly not the finish line for this gentle California musician.

On a warm spring day in Berlin NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION sat down with Hansen on a bench in the sun. We talked about the new album, the evolution of TYCHO itself and why everything – not just the music – in life is a learning process.

 

You obviously can’t look at TYCHO and detach your music and the visuals. They are an important element of the live show. Can you explain the relationship between them, your performance and the audience?
Indeed. In its core TYCHO is an audiovisual project. I’ve always been a designer and had the idea to combine these two things. As graphic designer I was never able to fully express all my ideas. Music allows me to express a deeper idea ’cause it’s in motion and has more movement. The visuals are the perfect element to bring the design aspect into the live show. It’s very tightly synced with the performance. And I’d like to see it as more than just a backdrop. This live show with all the elements – it’s the fullest expression of what this project is all about.

But what came first? Music or design?
It went a bit hand in hand. I’ve started messing around with it when I was 21 or 22. I started doing covers for mixtapes I made, you know.

 

I think the concept of synaesthesia, the merging of senses, might apply to you. Do you see certain colours behind instruments and the other way around?
Yeah, definitely. But I usually see it more in a cinematic way. You know, I’ve got certain scenes in my head. And I try to create the visuals out of it.

Actual filmmaking might be the next step in this evolution. How is this making progress?
I would love to but as you said… it’s a bit like the third act of this all. I did design for about ten years, I wanna make music for about ten years and I wanna do the whole film thing afterwards. It’s just not enough time during a day to do all things properly. I’m currently keeping it with the production of the live visuals. They can be a bit rawer and don’t need to be a full featured film. I have some concepts for screenplays but this will take a while.

What sort of film would that be?
The things I currently have are more for an animated, short type thing. And I got a few ideas but they still need development. It’s like a whole new world for me. (laughs)

 

I think we can agree on the fact that each album of TYCHO marked a certain progress. I can imagine that a lot of people expect the next step to be actual singing on your album. But is there even space for words in your music or would it corrupt your concept?
There isn’t space for it right now and I’m really not sure about the future. I just don’t think in terms of vocals since I’m not a vocalist. If I would do this it would feel a bit forced. But never say never. I mean, I didn’t play guitar for a long time as well. (laughs) I’ve worked with vocals before. I remixed a track for LITTLE DRAGON and I’ve been working on some songs for GARDENS & VILLA. But this was more from a producer’s perspective. Not in a songwriter’s way. Maybe further down the road.

But this wouldn’t be TYCHO anymore…
Exactly. That’s what I meant. TYCHO as it stands should be like it currently is.

And lyrics might also ‘force’ the people to interpret the songs in a certain direction.
That’s not what I originally set up to do. But, yes, over the years I recognized that this is what instrumental music is supposed to do. Everybody has its own thoughts on the sounds and songs. And I really like this. It’s open for everything.

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