Scott Hansen has been uplifting spirits for over 15 years with his celebrated project, Tycho. There is not a chill electronic playlist in history that doesn’t include at least one of his tracks. This Monday, we dive deeper into Hansen’s 2019 studio album, ‘Weather’, via his interview on Tape Op Podcast. In this full expose on the LP, Hansen discusses his production process, but also some important steps he took as a human to bring the album to life. Let’s take a look.
|APPLY: Deadline March 8||WATCH: Miles Toland’s Creative Process|
|LISTEN: ICON Curates: Wolfgang Gartner on Spotify||TOUR: Our new campus|
Trust Your Timing
Tycho’s fifth studio album Weather was an enormous achievement for the alternative electronic musician. Not just because it landed him his second Grammy nomination for Best Dance/Electronic album, but because it was his first true vocal record. All his albums before were purely instrumental.
Why do you think he waited this long to make a vocal record? Well according to his episode of Tape Op Podcast, he waited for two primary reasons:
- He didn’t think he was good enough until Weather
“I’m going to focus and practice and get better at producing and some day I’m going to do a real true vocal record.”
Imagine that? Even someone like Tycho who has provided transcendent experiences to millions of people can feel timid in his craft; can feel like he’s not good enough. If you ever feel this way, know that you’re not alone, and if you keep working you are evolving.
- He hadn’t found the right vocalist.
“I was hoping to find a singular voice and I could build an album around it.”
When you envision the future of your project what do you see? Maybe you see a vocal record like Tycho with one singer. Maybe you see a wide-ranging album with dozens of features like Gorillaz? Whatever you see, know that with hard work and clear intentions you will get there. As he says on the podcast, Tycho didn’t seek out Saint Sinner. They randomly came together. Trust your timing.
The Beginner’s Mindset.
How is your process of creating different now compared to when you started? It’s probably completely different right? As someone expands their knowledge, learns new techniques, their process changes, or rather improves along with the creations themselves.
Do you think there is ever a reason to revert to old processes? Cause Tycho thinks there is.
“This time I wanted to get back to my roots as a samplist home studio guy. I wanted to get back to that space of writing…a really insular process.”
How did you feel about music when you were a beginner? How did you feel about the endless possibilities laid before you in the DAW or on the blank page? Everything is exploration for younger producers. Everything is new and exciting in the beginner’s mindset. Whereas more seasoned producers can fall into habits, repeat old methods that have “worked” in the past.
Tycho’s goal for Weather was to make something he had never made before. When he was just starting out, everything was something he had never made before, and so he revisited his earliest methods to regain that sense of exploration. Next time you’re creating, revisit the beginner’s mindset both mentally and physically and see what comes out.
Take Risks With Your Creativity
Considering his music is so intricate, it might come as a surprise that Tycho has little to no training in music theory. In fact, when do you think he first wrote a song using actual chords? It was on “Japan” the chilled out four-on-the-floor composition on Weather. Before this song, he would only build chords using a monosynth.
What are some aspects of music theory you haven’t tried in your music? Music theory is an incredibly layered topic so there are probably a lot. ICON has a basic guide to music theory if you need a quick crash course.
What about outside of music theory? What are some different effects you’ve never tried? What about using your own vocals? Have you tried sampling the click on your stove top burner? The rhythm of your washer machine?
There will always be musical methods you haven’t tried because music is an endless subject, so question becomes: why?
- Why haven’t you tried new techniques? Why haven’t you taken certain risks in your music?
Taking risks is how we grow. In all aspects of life not just music. But with music, taking risks really doesn’t have a downside. You try something and you either like how it sounds or you don’t. Either way your understanding of the craft expands.