Last weekend at Treasure Island Music Festival we caught up with Scott Hansen, music producer and graphic designer behind Tycho’s aesthetic and sound. Sacramento native, now Bay Area living artist just released a surprise album, Epoch, which is symbolic of the end of a trilogy of albums, since Dive in 2011.
WorldArts: When people listen to your music they often describe it with feeling of nostalgia or being transcended into another place… How would you describe your writing process? Does the feelings in your songs come from previous experiences?
Scott Hansen: No, no, I think those things just end up coming up, it’s not intentional at all. There’s not much purpose behind it like that, but I guess listening to it, it can give off that intention. I think earlier in my career I was kinda writing to those things, but now I think I try to be more present and make music about now, I think the techniques and instrumentation lend to a more nostalgic sound.
WA: Yeah, it feels like your music just has the ambiance of going on a roadtrip into the sunset.
SH: A bunch of my influences come from 60’s rock, psychedelic stuff, like Tame Impala, and all that stuff definitely has a nostalgic slant to it.
WA: I know you just released an album, Epoch, and I know it stands for a period of time in someone’s life, can you elaborate on the name?
SH: It’s been a personal thing I’ve been working towards. I’ve been doing Tycho for quite awhile now, I’ve made three albums since Dive in 2011, and this album feels like I’m closing this chapter. I’ve reached a crossroads in my life for various reasons, so for me it felt like the end of something is the beginning of something new. We’re one of the first generations with this existential crisis, like the world as we know might not exist in a short amount of time and that’s crazy. So I created this as another race or something looking at the timeline of Earth and view this as the Human Epoch. That’s like a wide open view of it, it’s two sided.
WA: Can you talk about some of your graphic design work? It feels like a lot of your work includes a lot of symbolism, does your graphic design work and music have this symbiotic relationship?
SH: The goal is that the whole thing becomes this immersive experience where the graphic design work expresses ideas you can’t express with music, and vice versa. But I usually take turns going back and forth between each one, especially if I get tired of working on just one and get burned out. Lately, I’ve started getting the process tighter where it becomes this controlled thing where I’ll spend an hour on this, and an hour on that, but usually it’s like a month on this and a month on that. It’s a tighter connection where each thing informs the other in the process.
WA: I feel like there’s a huge visual part to Tycho, would you ever make a movie or an interactive experience?
SH: That’s always been a goal of mine, the show is beginning to move towards that. It’s supposed to be a narrative, or like you’re watching a story unfold. Video is something I definitely want to get more involved in.
WA: How long did you work on Epoch, before it’s latest release?
SH: We finished it in about 30 days before it came out. I’ve been working on it for about a year and it kept going longer and longer, but we really wanted to get it out by the end of the year. It felt nice to have that connection, you know how people used to put records out and you’d have to wait three to four months before the CD’s and vinyl came out. And by the time all the promotional stuff came out and everyone’s hearing it for the first time, it’s new to them, but there’s definitely something to be said for things coming out right then, and that’s another reason why it’s called Epoch, it’s right now. It’s about the moment. It’s about a period where we’re all experiencing the same thing, so I wanted the music to be the same why, like I was experiencing it for the first time like everybody else.
If you haven’t listened to Tycho’s Epoch, you can listen to the entire album on SoundCloud. The band is currently working on their new live set and will start touring in Australia and Europe at the beginning of 2017. Check their website to stay updated on when the band will be playing at a city near you.