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Tycho: ‘Most Grateful for Being Able to Quit My Job and Pursue Music’

American ambient music producer Scott Hansen says he’s lucky that his form of music won’t ever get dated; to perform tonight in Mumbai

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Nirmika Singh Dec 12, 2015
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Tycho will perform tonight at the third edition Johnnie Walker – The Journey. Photo: Sana Waris

Tycho is a staunch realist. And he demonstrates his realism in two casual statements. First, while it is not uncommon for artists to weave stories about the ideas and concepts that led to a creation of a record, Scott Hansen is blunt when he says that his music is more about the time spent in working on it. He says, “I don’t think there is truly an underlying idea that sparks the thing; it’s more of working around all the iterations and permutations till it feels right, till it feels that the vision had been fulfilled in some way. For me, maybe that’s what sets my music apart ”“ the fact that it is less about the underlying idea but more about the process and the finished product.”

Second, although he does attribute a little bit of “luck and intangible things that you have no control over” for the success of any venture, his own work life has been more determined by hard work. “In my experience, everything that I ever had as a goal was achieved almost a 100 percent just by time and pressure, just keeping at it, building brick by brick and finding a way, through till the end of it,” says Hansen. It’s strangely reassuring to know that he doesn’t invoke vaporous things like ”˜vibe’ and ”˜mood’ when he talks about making music, which is nothing but serious work for him. Hansen has five albums, two EPs and many singles to his name. He says, “I am most thankful for doing this for a living, to have been able to quit my job and just pursue this. I always wanted to learn audio engineering and be in the studio and get to work with other artists, so it’s been great to finally have been able to experience all these things. And there’s still a long way to go and still experience a lot of things.

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But despite his own pragmatism, it is the surrealism and fluidity of Tycho’s music that is its biggest USP. Some of his more popular tracks feature familiar sounds of everyday life: breathing, weather forecasts or plain conversations [Check out his 2006 record Past is Prologue]. The laid-back ambient tunes are mostly themed around nature, childhood and nostalgia.

Before his 2011 album Dive, Hansen worked as a solo artist and since its release, switched to a larger lineup for stage as well a studio. Tycho the band now features Hansen on synthesizers, guitar, Zac Brown on bass guitar, guitar, Rory O’Connor on drums and Joe Davancens  on bass guitar, keyboards, synthesizers. At their Mumbai show tonight at Johnnie Walker ”“ The Journey [which also features performances by disco legend Giorgio Moroder and instrumental rock band Explosions in the Sky], expect a bout of comforting moody melodies that traverse a whole range of emotions. Says Hansen, “It’s exciting for me because over the last couple of years, I’ve got a lot of feedback from Indian fans. It’ll be interesting to see what’s that like in person.”

Being an ambient music producer whose work has a quality of timelessness to it, Hansen is lucky he doesn’t have to worry about staying relevant. “I do think there are a few genres that are more susceptible to that, like you have to be like, ”˜This is the sound of this year’ and ”˜This is the sound of summer’ or whatever, I think I’m pretty lucky in [my] kind of space. You know, people were making music like this a long time ago, so I think it is a lot like folk-rock, that it doesn’t really need to change. It’s the kind of music that people are always going to appreciate. Whereas, there are forms of drum ”˜n’ bass, forms of like garage and house that if you heard it now, from like 2002, you’d say that that’s kind of dated. But if you listen to say Bibio and his latest album and listen to it 40 years later, it’d be still relevant,”says Hansen.

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Tycho will perform tonight, December 12th at Johnnie Walker ”“ The Journey at Mehboob Studio, Bandra.

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