Written by Charlotte Wigham
05 Monday 05th March 2012

Music and design are part of the same art project for me. People knew me as a graphic designer but I always spent as much time on music. When I hear music I visualise cinematic scenes, emotional dreamscapes, storyboards in my head. When I see visuals I imagine what sounds would go with them.

Does your experience of the two mediums differ in any way?

Both mediums are equally important to me but with music, my inspiration points are very moving. They hit me and the song immediately comes to life. I can spend a thousand hours working on a song, but the heart of it was there at the beginning. With design it’s a more meticulous, metered approach. It’s almost like sculpting, where you slowly see this thing emerge from a blank canvas.

Tell us about your songwriting process.

I record ideas on guitar then put down synth and bass parts. I have a lot of 3-track ideas that sit around for maybe a year or so, then I’ll come back and produce them out. A lot of the time the original idea morphs into something completely different. Increasingly I have wanted to be more songwriter than producer. Before, it was more about the sound. Zac [Brown, Tycho bassist] wrote some of the last album, and we’re collaborating more on the next one. We’ve been recording while screwing around during soundcheck on this tour, and some great stuff’s been coming out of that.

How do you feel about vocals?

I love working with them. I sometimes map vocals to keyboards and use them as an instrument,and I worked with the vocals of Yukimi Nagano from Little Dragon when I remixed ‘Little Man’. She’s one of my favourite vocalists, so that was an incredible experience.

You also went on tour with Little Dragon..

Yes, that was really fun. They’re amazing and super pro. It was great to see them and be like “Woah - this is how it’s done!”.

You have an analogue studio. How do you feel about some of the new tools for creating music?

As a producer you have to be pragmatic about the tools you have at your disposal. When I started out I knew what computers could do but it wasn’t really accessible to me so I was doing everything with hardware. I learned that way, so that became my process. I do use new tools for very technical things where there’s no real difference in sound, and I love Animoog for iPad; it sounds great. I use it to screw around, but not as a tool in the studio.

What’s next for Tycho?

Lots more new music, and a feature-length film with director Charles Bergquist. We’re doing lots of festivals this summer. I can’t wait to come back to Europe, it’s been amazing. But my main goal right now is for my visuals to be everything I envisage them to be. It’s an exciting time because I’m close to achieving this.

Tycho's Dive is out now on Ghostly. To hear more, visit tychomusic.com

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