Interview with tyDi about his album 'Hotel Rooms' on Armada Music. Since bursting onto the scene only a few short years ago, tyDi has already achieved more than some can say in a lifetime. During the start of his journey, this extremely young musician was busy balancing his musical career and his studies, graduating with a music degree from the prestigious Conservatorium of Music and releasing his critically acclaimed debut album 'Look Closer' when he was only 19. The classically trained musical mastermind is responsible for creating the chart topping album 'Shooting Stars', which reached #4 on iTunes in the USA, as well as #1 in Australia, Canada, UK and Finland.
Despite being voted 'Australia's #1 DJ' two years in a row, he has also been voted in the Top 100 DJ's of the World for the last three years. He currently resides as the #48 top DJ in the world. The humble Aussie has also been honoured with the International Dance Music Award's 'Best Break-Through DJ of the World' award presented by Tiesto.
The young DJ spends most of his time touring the world and has been playing over 150 shows each year throughout all of Europe, the USA, Canada, Asia, Australia, and he also has a residency in Las Vegas. tyDi regularly performs to tens of thousands each week and has played some of the highest profile festivals around the planet to extraordinarily large crowds as big as 45,000 people.
In between tour dates, during flights, and in hotel rooms is where tyDi finds the time to write some of the most cutting edge music with unrivalled attention to detail and musical composition. He has written and collaborated with some of the most remarkable producers in the world, such as Grammy nominated producer BT.
tyDi's weekly, worldwide radio show, 'Global Soundsystem' reaches over 30 countries on FM radio and can also be streamed as an iTunes podcast from anywhere in the world. Among all of his music videos released, combined viewers have reached well into the millions and growing. tyDi's rise to global stardom has attracted interest from media well outside the world of electronic music, with full features in Young Hollywood, Rolling Stone Magazine, and music video rotation throughout Nordstrom department stores in the USA. His single, 'Acting Crazy' from his album 'Shooting Stars' has also gained recognition from Top 40 terrestrial radio stations in the U.S. and is on daily rotation at multiple stations.
Even with his busy tour schedule, writing sessions, and radio show, tyDi manages to maintain all of his social media outlets and personally engages with his fans from all over the world. Most of all, he is a musician at heart, forever aspiring to improve musically and produce only the highest quality work.
The release of his electronic / chill-out album ‘Hotel Rooms’ is the perfect occasion to have an interview with him and find out about the making of the album and read his comments about each of the tracks on this must-have album.
Dimitri: First of all, I would like to ask how you are feeling at the moment and where do we find you for this interview.
tyDi: Right now I'm sitting on a jet flying from Sydney to Brisbane in Australia, feeling pretty excited actually! Dimitri: Why did you take the decision to return with a chill out / Electronica album rather than releasing a full-on club oriented one?
tyDi: Because my plan is to release the club album 'Redefined' in early 2014. 'Hotel Rooms' was something that I've always wanted to do; it's less of an 'album' and more of a 'compilation' that showcases all of my non-EDM productions. Half of the album is brand new, the other is the ones I think my fans loved the most. Also it made sense to do Hotel Rooms right now because I think EDM is in a bit of a bad state, with everything sounding the same... So I wanted to put out something completely different.
Dimitri: As it was mentioned in the press release by you; “Hotel Rooms is about the seemingly endless nights on planes, and living alone in hotel rooms during my world touring”. Would you like to elaborate on that and tell us about those nights in planes and hotel rooms? How can DJ cope with this hard and quite difficult side of DJ life style which many fans really don’t know about as they are aware only of the glamorous side?
tyDi: Well I guess like you said; the fans see all the glitz and glamour. They see me on stage and in a new city every night; but they don't often notice the transit between these shows. Right now I'm often playing 3 different countries a week as well as fitting in studio time, completing my weekly radio show 'Global Soundsystem' and performing the best shows I can. It's the best job in the world, but it takes a lot of time and a lot of dedication. I'm constantly jet-lagged... But it's worth it!
Dimitri: Did you compose this album during long flights and in hotel rooms or did you prefer to do it in a more stable environment, such as your studio?
tyDi: Most of the album I 'wrote' on planes and hotels, but I did do a lot of recording of real instruments in studios around the world. I recorded a lot of string parts in LA, and some guitars & piano over in Australia.
Dimitri: Would you like to describe for us the studio and equipment that you used for the recording process of the album?
tyDi: Well to be honest for this album there was 50% live recordings. Usually my music is heavily based around Electronica, but hotel rooms have so many acoustic instruments. I use software called 'Logic' to arrange my work, and I write most of my songs on piano before I even go near a computer. Besides that I record vocalists, session musicians and entire string sections separately and then mix them into my songs.
Dimitri: Do you find it easier to produce chill-out / electronic tracks or club tracks? What kind of style you feel more comfortable composing?
tyDi: I think I find it easier producing chill songs because I don't have to worry about a dance floor. I can just produce for myself and take the listener on a journey that doesn't have to deliver on a particular 'drop'. It can go anywhere I want it to; there's a lot of freedom in these types of songs.
Dimitri: How long it did take you to produce this album? Did you have a deadline to send it to the label, or were you allowed to deliver it whenever you were ready?
tyDi: Well the album wasn't rushed, some songs are already released from my previous albums and the new ones kind of happened naturally over the last year. There are always deadlines, but thankfully the label is very kind to me about working to my schedule.
Dimitri: It would be great to offer us a short comment about each track on the album.
1. tyDi feat. Carmen Keigans - Gravity (02:22)
I wrote this with my friend Sinaed, we originally did it for a feature film so it has that huge 'trailer' feel to it. This is one of my favourites on the album.
2. tyDi feat. Luke Mansini - Chasing Nothing (03:24)
This guy is a talent! Luke is a friend of mine from Australia who has such an incredible voice, he was recently on a TV show called 'The Voice' – we just got together in the studio and wrote the song in a night. The piano is a real recording that I wrote.
3. tyDi feat. Christina Novelli - Fire & Load (Stripped) (03:18)
This is a 'stripped back' version of my dance song 'Fire & Load'. I left it to its basic elements, acoustic piano, vocals and live drums.
4. tyDi - Before It Happens (03:44)
A nice chill track that I made at an airport one day. The electric guitars were recorded in Australia in between my touring.
5. tyDi - So Close (02:16)
A short piece with a huge climax, very orchestral. I wrote the 'ending' to this for a string quartet, and recorded them live at my studio.
6. tyDi - Ashley's Theme (03:42)
This was a gift to someone who is very special to me.
7. tyDi - QF15 (03:00)
The name comes from my most frequent flight on Qantas airlines between Brisbane (Australia) and Los Angeles. I wrote the song on my laptop during the overnight flight.
8. tyDi - Her Lullaby (01:45)
My fans seem to gravitate to this one. I played this on piano and it has a change in time signature. The song starts off in 4/4 and then pauses in the middle to switch over to 3/4. The meter change creates this 'hypnotic' feel.
9. tyDi feat. Tania Zygar - Vanilla (04:15)
A classic with my fans ;)
10. tyDi - Nightfall In Suburbia (03:47)
This song has a huge story behind it; it's about all the naughty things that people get up to at night. I tried to tell a story through music. You can read more about that on my sound cloud.
11. tyDi - Red & Black (04:03)
Red & Black is mostly orchestral, lush strings and a light piano over the top. These are all real strings that I wrote and recorded quite a while ago.
12. tyDi - Ariana (03:20)
A song I wrote for my little niece, it's named after her.
13. tyDi - Let You Go (04:32)
From my first album 'Look Closer'. I wrote it about a girl.
14. tyDi - Interlude (01:42)
Just a short piano piece from when I was in university studying music, something to break up the album.
15. tyDi - I Like, You Like (07:04)
Hypnotic, this one builds and builds over time, it's about repetition.
16. tyDi feat. Audrey Gallagher - Worlds Apart (03:57)
Another favourite among my fans.
17. tyDi - Meet Me In Kyoto (03:19)
The first song I ever signed with Armada, this one is special to me. All the percussion is made from 'pop' sounds and weird transients that I made.
18. tyDi feat. Kane - A Picture Never Taken (03:50)
A song I wrote with my friend, it has a really nice Indian tabla percussion layer that's tuned to the song, when that part hits you really 'feel' it.
19. tyDi - Half Of Everything (01:02)
Just dark and haunting, more of a 'Soundscape' if anything.
20. tyDi feat. Tania Zygar - The Moment It Breaks (03:28)
This one hits close to home, check out the music video on my YouTube and you'll understand the story :)
21. tyDi - Look Closer (05:09)
The title song from the very first album I ever released. This is for a dark and stormy night, again this song focuses on repetition and also 'tension & release'.
22. tyDi - How Much Longer? (04:17)
Another song about a girl.
23. tyDi - The Camera Doesn't Lie, But You Do (04:15)
Yep, this one was about a girl too.
24. tyDi feat. Kane - Confirmation Bias (04:32)
I could write forever on this one, it's up there with my favourites on the album. The story is quite deep if you really follow the lyrics. This song is designed to really take you on a journey.
25. tyDi - Sophie's Theme (02:48)
A special song for me, just piano but really soothing and haunting emotions come out through the theme.
Dimitri: Do you have favourite tracks on the album or do you feel 100% affiliated to all of them?
tyDi: I do have some favourites;) Probably 'Gravity'. Dimitri: Within the press release you mention ”With songs like this I don't need to simplify or reduce the intellectual content just so it's more accessible to the majority”. Would you like to elaborate on that and tell us if you feel obliged to deliver easy to digest pop dance tracks in order to be successful. How can you go against if you feel the need to tackle more difficult issues and present tracks that are more intellectual or artistic?
tyDi: I just think these days people are making songs without thinking; they are losing all the theory. It's just a beat and a triplet sound... I needed to do this Hotel Rooms project to get away from it all. To just be free as a producer and songwriter. Dimitri: Are you going to release any club versions for any new tracks that are included on this album?
tyDi: No, I will have a full EDM album for that coming later.
Dimitri: Your latest single release is ‘Live This Lie’. Would you like to tell us about the inspiration behind this track and its production process? Are you happy with its crowd reactions?
tyDi: This one is a slammer, it's totally for the club crowd. I originally wanted it to be a rock song, now there are two versions (rock & dance).
Dimitri: Your radio show Global Soundsystem is going really well. Can you let us know how long it takes to prepare and produce the show? Do you have a favourite episode?
tyDi: The show takes me a full day when you count the time I spend sorting through promos. I can't remember my favourite as there are 210 episodes now, but it's always dependent on the music that gets sent to me for this. Dimitri: Your DJ’ing schedule is packed with great performances all over the world. Are there any gigs that you are looking forward to performing and why?
tyDi: I can't wait to play in Hawaii next weekend, I get 4 days off by the beach :)
Thanks so much to tyDi for his awesome answers to this interview
Many thanks to Sammy van Marrelo for her support in organising this interview
Many thanks to Tjerk Coers at Armada Music for his support
Many thanks to Paul @ 1mix radio for proofing the interview
Interview was written and conducted by Dimitri Kechagias Music Journalist, Radio / DJ