Listen to his vast array of music and you will quickly come to understand the absolute talent and skill of the young Australian producer, tyDi. With a few full artist albums under his belt and collaborations with masterminds such as BT, the sky is the limit for tyDi. EDMTunes had the pleasure of sitting down with tyDi before his show at Exchange LA, to discuss his creative process, upcoming projects, the use of live instruments and his thoughts on haters and ghost producing. A true genuine down to earth person and a skilled, passionate songwriter, composer, producer and DJ, tyDi has it all. Come along with us as we have dinner with tyDi to discover what goes on in that creative genius mind of his.
EDMTunes: In the past couple years it seems your career has really taken off. At what point did you realize your passion could become your actual career?
tyDi: Has it? This is a question I actually get quite a lot. When I was about 14 or 15, I was the nerdy…high school nerd. I was the kind of kid, where everybody would be playing rugby or surfing and I was just really into music, composing and playing piano and stuff. So for me, for my entire life I’ve never worked a normal job and I’m not saying that in a sense of “look at me I’ve never worked a normal job”, it’s just that it never occurred to me that I would do anything else. I was so into music that I just had to do something in that field. I wasn’t exactly sure what it was going to be, I was a drummer at the time as well, so I had a huge goal to be a drummer in a rock band. The thing about being in a band is you have to rely on three other members as well to be just as passionate as you. So that was just like a kid in the band really. Then I heard dance music for the first time when I was around 15, and it amazed me because I was such a big geek and I was like “wow you can produce this yourself all on a computer.” So from there I was just obsessed and I got into DJing and I was getting gigs when I was really young. At 16, I was already playing around Australia in different cities, so on weekends I had to fool my parents into thinking I was hanging out with friends when I was really getting on planes and flying to play shows, because they never would have allowed that. But yea, it was just kind of a gradual thing for me, I’m not saying that it’s like everything in my career was blind luck. I worked out pretty quickly how competitive and how many good artists there are out there and it’s like growing up and wanting to be a famous singer, think about how many talented vocalists there are out there, but unfortunately not everyone makes it. So I developed a really strong sense of determination and made sure I worked my ass off. Every fleeting moment I had was spent on music and it could be frustrating at times but it led to everything I know now in the sense of writing and composing. I went on to get a university degree to study music. So to answer your question in short, which I think was when did I realize? There wasn’t an exact moment, I just started playing shows and songs were getting released and I just thought “this is so much fun and I’m doing my passion”, so I could never turn back. I do remember a moment when I said to myself, I think I was twenty and I think I said if my career, actually career is the wrong word, you have to see it in a sense of like passion and also looking ahead if it is something I can sustain a long time. There was a point where I thought, “if I turn 24 and I’m not progressing further, then I’ll rethink”…and go back and study science or something like that. Thankfully everything went to plan!
EDMTunes: You just mentioned science, your soundcloud tag line says “Musician, songwriter, producer, international DJ with a huge passion for science.” Can you elaborate on the science part?
tyDi: I’m a huge geek and my biggest passion besides music is science. That would be purely because of the scientific method and the way that through the scientific method we are able to work out the truth about the world around us. I mean thousands of years ago people couldn’t explain what was going on, they worshipped the sun because it was in the sky and if their crops died they would think it was like a curse or something, until we developed the scientific method, which is coming up with a hypothesis and then testing it by using evidence and experimenting and trying to falsify that hypothesis. What I love about science is, it is the one true way to find exactly what’s going on. I kind of think of it as….excuse my language at the dinner table here, it is kind of a machete in a world of bullshit. You can kind of just cut through all of it.
EDMTunes: I like that.
tyDi: Yea, cut through a forest of bullshit! I could offend people here, but people say, I’m a Gemini and they say I have these traits because I’m such and such, but if it wasn’t for science, people would still be believing things like that as fact. Because of science we know that things like star signs are ridiculous. I am really sorry if you are into that. Besides that I also love science because without it we wouldn’t have the technology that we have today….there is medicine and the things that make the world a better place.
EDMTunes: You’ve been able to establish yourself as a songwriter and producer, can you tell us about your creative process of making a track from start to finish.
tyDi: Ok yea so for me, with my music…there is no right or wrong way with art, so to start off with that, I am not abusing anyone’s idea or how they make music, but the way I do it is, I like to start everything off as a song. So I start on the piano and I come up with…like if I’m working with a vocalist, they will often come up with a top line with the lyrics and the vocals, but I really like to work together, so if I am sitting on the piano and they are singing with me, I’ll go “ok that sounds really cool, lets try that as a pre chorus, or lets use that for the bridge.” So I really make a song without knowing what style it’s going to be till afterwards till the production stage, which comes later. So we map out the song first, we do first chorus, bridge, chorus and we go “ok we think this is a beautiful song played just on a guitar, with a vocalist or a piano.” then once I have that I can take it into the studio and choose what style it’s going to be…a dance track or a chill out track, you know, it could be anything. I really like that process, because you can reverse engineer…if you go through my last album or the new one that’s going to come out, you can reverse engineer these tracks to be played by one instrument and a vocalist and I guess ‘Confirmation Bias’ is kinda like that.
EDMTunes: Speaking of ‘Confirmation Bias’, can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming projects?
tyDi: Yes! There is an album coming out November 22nd, it’s called Hotel Rooms and it’s purely…it’s not dance…I described it on the album cover as a fusion of electronic, orchestral, chill-out, and ambient. That was the best way I could describe it because there is no dance music in it. It is kind of more the music you put on in a lounge or to really submerse yourself in and that was kind of a way of getting that out, I have a huge passion for that kind of music. It’s called Hotel Rooms because that’s where I wrote most of it around the world. That album’s got about 10 new tracks that people haven’t heard before and then it has got a collection of tracks that people have heard from me before. If you’ve heard my old album, Shooting Stars, it’s got ‘Her Lullaby’, ‘Ariana’ and some songs from there that fans know from me. There will probably be a few people who are going to be confused and go “I’ve heard these songs”, but Hotel Rooms isn’t a brand new album, it’s a collection of my chill out and orchestral work, but with a bunch of new songs as well. There are 24 tracks on there, so yea. That’s really just a side project and then early next year I’m planning to drop my “tyDi” album, I guess and the prototype name right now is Something From Nothing and that album is going to be EDM. It’s what my club fans might expect, you know, dance music and a few chill songs….more smashing stuff.
EDMTunes: Any other exciting things we can expect to see on that album?
tyDi: Yea! So one really cool thing is I got to work on the album with a lot of people I never thought I’d even get to meet in my life. So when you asked before about where I got started and all that…back when I was really into bands, I remember seeing Blink-182 as a kid….I just got their symbol tattooed on me….yea so, guys like, for example Dashboard Confessional, Chris Carrabba, he was writing music when I was making out with girls in cars back in like high school and I never ever ever thought I’d work with him. It’s really cool that dance music blew up so much, because now I have a song with Dashboard on my new album. It’s a beautiful song, a cross between EDM and his style where he does that real husky kind of scream. There are a lot of new artists on the album that I can’t mention, but the exciting thing is that it is a project that involves people that I never thought I’d work with. There’s also been a big gap between this album and my last….I brought Shooting Stars out at the end of 2011, so I’m very due for an album out. I spend a lot of time on music, so I hope this lives up to the expectations.
EDMTunes: Well I think your fans are definitely excited, myself included.
tyDi: Really? Awesome! Cheers to that!
EDMTunes: Speaking of people you got to work with, you recently got to work with BT on a few tracks off his new album ‘A Song Across Wires’. What was that experience like for you?
tyDi: Ah incredible! So, BT is not only a really good friend of mine, he’s a genius. You know, I don’t say that about many producers, because you know, there’s very good writers, there’s very good composers, there’s very good producers and engineers, BT just has all of it. Back when I was listening to these bands and getting into dance music, at first I was hearing dance music and hearing it being very repetitive….I like music that makes you think, that has intellectual things to it and BT was the only guy for me that was doing that. He had a song called ‘Dreaming’ and this is years old, I have it on record. I just remember thinking “this guy is an amazing composer”. Over the years, I always thought “if I could just meet this guy”…um and I did meet him on a tour over in Australia once actually. We were backstage and I think I said a really awkward comment, I don’t know if he misheard me, but I could have offended him and he walked away. I remember my heart sank and I thought “I just destroyed my chances of ever talking to my favorite producer in the world.” At the end of the tour, we’d done 5 shows touring together and at the end he came and sat down next to me with a glass of red wine and we just started chatting. After that I thought “my life is complete, I’ve caught up with BT.” Shortly after that he had a song called ‘A Light In Things’ with JES and he needed a remix and so he hit me up for a remix. That was just like “Woah”. So I did this remix of BT and I remember when I was doing the remix, I thought “this is my chance to really impress”, I mean how do you impress BT, the guy is just so talented. So I remember…this is the first time publicly I’ve ever said this, but I worked harder on that track than I’d ever had on a track at that time. When I gave it to him the first thing I read on Twitter is, BT tweeted saying “this is the best remix I’ve ever heard of one of my songs.” That was a huge moment in my career where I just couldn’t believe it. Over time I did another remix for him and we made friends and then I ended up flying out to where he lives and staying with him for a few days to write music and we ended up having two new tracks on his album. Yea so through that we developed a friendship and he’s still an inspiration to me, not even just with music, if there is stuff like about the music industry, I can call him up and be like “what do you think of this?” he’s a really good guy to talk to about it.
EDMTunes: I can see why BT inspires you. Tell us a little bit about your preference for using live instruments for tracks versus just doing it with synthesizers.
tyDi: There is a really big difference for me using live instruments in songs and using synthetic instruments in songs. That would be if you get, lets say a chord progression played by a synth and you put it in the left speaker and then you put that exact same synth in the right speaker, essentially what’s going to happen is that the sound is going to sound like it is coming from the center, because both speakers are playing the exact same thing. Whereas if you record a cello or a guitar or something playing a chord progression and then you get that same player to play the exact same chord progression again, no matter how perfect they think they’ve played it….it’s like a finger print, they will never be able to replicate the exact way it was played, because every time you bow an instrument or every time you strum the guitar you’ve never done it exactly like you did before. It’s always slightly different. That human error that comes naturally with real recording, what the left speaker is playing and what the right is playing is slightly different, so you get this really nice 3D effect, where it sounds like the music has a 3D sound to it. So I use that, for any music producer reading this would know that it is just common sense, but for the fans hopefully they see what I’m trying to get at. With strings, I can pull off an orchestral feel with just a string quartet, because we can record a cello section and we can record it like ten times and stack it up and have the same cello recording panned left and right stacked on top of each other so many times that you get this massive orchestral feel….not just playing the same notes, obviously, but with part harmonies like the third and the fifth and then you can get a violin section and lay it out on top. Because of the way they’ve played it, because it’s different each time, you just get this massive feel that you can’t get with a computer. Also if you do record lots of different instruments, no one is ever really able to tune each instrument perfectly, so no matter how good your pitch is, you are never going to tune one cello exactly the same as you tune the other. You can get so close that no human will notice it, but if you still put those in the left and the right stereo field, you are going to get this depth that comes from having human error. Human error plays a huge role in my live recordings and my songs. Music for me isn’t just about simplicity, I like the listener to be submerged, to be able to put on a pair of head phones, close their eyes and be taken away. To get that I think you really need live instruments, you can’t just use a computer for that.
EDMTunes: Anyone following you on Twitter knows that you have a quip with the majority of music that has been produced as of late and where our scene is headed.
tyDi: Right now I think it’s at a …I’m trying to put this in the nicest way that I can….I’m not the first person to say it, Morgan Page did a tweet just recently, but if you go through what people have been releasing on the Beatport Top 100, progressive house music, I’m not kidding, it’s a kick drum with a dirty dutch sounding triplet that’s like dah-dah-dah-ddd-dah-dah-dah and it was cool with the first two songs like that, it’s a really cool drop, I go mental for that, but it’s like somebody has just decided that that is the only…I don’t know what’s going on. It’s beyond me, I can’t understand anyone that releases a song like that anymore and I mean that in the nicest possible way. If you are truly an artist, we only live a few short decades and you want to release a song and be proud of your work, how can you possibly just release something that sounds like every other single dance track that’s being released right now? It’s really driving me insane.
EDMTunes: Do you think it is a reflection on how the scene has grown into a huge money maker?
tyDi: If it is a huge money maker it’s going to be the most short lived one.
EDMTunes: One hit wonders.
tyDi: I mean the fans….My fans are pretty intelligent, I respond to them on twitter, I talk to these people and if I put out a track that is just a kick drum and a triplet synth doing the same thing and I did that once, twice, three times and it sounded like every other track on Beatport, my fans would give me crap for it. My fans gave me crap for a song called ‘Nothing Really Matters’ and that was a pop track. Not everyone did, a lot of fans really embraced it and that was cool. They were like “he’s doing a pop song” and I told everybody I wanted to try and do a pop song. If you listen to my body of work and the different styles that I do, I’ve never done a pop song before and I wanted to give that one a go. That brought in a lot of new fans and it was really challenging for me in the studio, because I had to learn how to make a pop track. I got a little bit of flack for that track but just then I write another song called ‘Confirmation Bias’ which is the dead set opposite and anyone who may have just joined my fan base, may know me for some of my more pop sounding stuff and then they hear some of the stuff that is going to come out on Hotel Rooms and they are going to go ‘what is he doing?” and I think the thing to remind my fans that are reading this is that just because I make a song that sounds a certain way doesn’t mean that every other song I do after that is going to sound like that.
EDMTunes: People get lost in genre talk and I know you are big proprietor of not being confined by genres.
tyDi: Yea there’s a lot of haters out there and they like to find things they can diss and honestly, I’m not hating on the whole every one is doing the same thing, it’s just that all these drops are sounding the same and I hope that the generic, formulaic thing that is going on right now inspires the creative few to come out and really show us what they’ve got. I’m thinking that’s going to be a really good opportunity for some people to really shine through, so I’m looking forward to it.
EDMTunes: We’ve lost some of the idea that music is art and it’s an expression of the artist and that’s where it’s coming from. You see so many fans hating on an artist if they do change their sound or become successful, they say they are selling out.
tyDi: I think it’s funny…it’s kinda of hilarious to make fun of art anyway. You don’t watch people walk into a gallery and laugh at somethings and go “oh” they are so offended and leave comments under the picture like “they only used these colors, what an idiot” right? I think it’s because music stirs your emotions and if it stirs them the wrong way there is a fine line between loving something and hating something.
EDMTunes: At the same time not everyone walks into the gallery and likes every single piece by the same artist.
tyDi: And what do they do? They walk to the next piece, but with music they seem to kind of linger and comment under the video or even hate the person who made it. It’s a very weird concept. It’s like food, it’s subjective. We could go to dinner and you could order something like ravioli and I don’t like ravioli, but I’m not going to not like you because you are eating ravioli…it’s weird, music is subjective and everyone has different tastes, there’s no rules really to it. I don’t understand haters.
EDMTunes: Haters gonna hate.
tyDi: They are aren’t they? So, I try to focus on the lovers, because I guess they are the ones listening to my music. But I do appreciate people who give me constructive criticism, so if they come back with “I really like this song you did, but why did you end it this way?” or whatever and I definitely take that into account, but if I get some sort of immature remark like “ah you’ve sold out, you’ve made a pop track”, whatever. I’d rather be an artist who, like I said before, we only live a few short decades and our work as an artist the songs we write are a reflection of what we actually did. That’s why I am not such a fan of ghost producing, people who don’t write their own music. I personally would rather end my career as a B grade artist with the 60,000 twitter followers that I have, knowing quite well that I’ve written every song myself or that it’s my own work, than be a multi millionaire who is pretending to make something that I didn’t make and lying to people.
EDMTunes: On a lighter note, what do you like to do for fun to keep yourself sane while out on the road?
tyDi: My guilty pleasure is probably wine (chuckles)….no but really, the boring bits of touring, is sitting on the planes, especially when I’m commuting from places like Australia to playing in LA and then playing in Russia and all over Europe. I’m here for like 4 nights, so Denver one night Thursday, Friday LA, Saturday San Diego and Sunday in Atlanta for TomorrowWorld, then I’m literally on a plane flying to Australia to do two shows and then off to play Asia for who knows how long… my schedule knows, I don’t. It’s really quite tiring, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have very little time in between touring, if you look at my schedule, it’s ridiculous, just constant touring. In between that I’m trying to get studio time around the world to finish my album. I can proudly say that I write and produce everything myself, so I’m having to find time to produce my own work.
EDMTunes: No time for anything but music! What about that surfing endeavor?
tyDi: Terrible, yea I’m not so good at surfing, I can stand up and kinda surf a little bit.
EDMTunes: Well at least you can stand up.
tyDi: Cheers! Thanks for looking at the positive side there.