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Tycho reflects on why 2018 was the "most inspiring year of his musical career"

Tycho makes his Costa Rica debut at Envision Festival in March, 2019

  • Cameron Holbrook
  • 17 December 2018

Nearing the tail end of what he has called the "most inspiring year of my musical career," Scott Hansen (aka Tycho) is ready to take on 2019 with a refreshed and inspired sonic vision.

Starting his artistic career as a graphic designer in San Francisco back in the early 2000s, Hansen soon started to use his bright, textural artwork as a backdrop and mirror for his musical output. Since the release of his debut album 'Past Is Prologue' back in 2004, the development of Tycho's tranquil and kinetic sound has grabbed the attention of music lovers everywhere.

Eventually teaming up with the commended independent music label, Ghostly International, Hansen has gone on to release three critically acclaimed studio albums and a plethora of exceptional singles and EPs. His last LP, 'Epoch', earned Hansen a Grammy nomination for Best Dance/Electronic Album in 2017.

Whether performing under the moniker with his three-piece band or throwing down awe-inspiring DJ sets at music festivals all over the world, the dynamic energy of Tycho's music continues to forge ahead with an enticingly warm demeanor.

Ahead of his debut Costa Rica performance at the ninth-edition of Envision Festival, Tycho took the time to chat with Mixmag about sunset and sunrise sets, artistic reflection and his brand new album that will land sometime in 2019.

Taking place in the lush jungle of Uvita on the Pacific Coast between February 28 and March 3, Envision Festival is a holistic and perennial permaculture event that is dedicated to exploring environmental conservation, self-enlightenment and world-class house, techno and bass performance. Learn more about Envision Festival by going here

Check out Mixmag's interview with Tycho below.

Greetings Scott! Can you tell us what you’ve been up to lately and where you are currently stationed?

I’ve spent most of the past year here at home in San Francisco working on a new album which is nearing the final stages of completion.

You’ve said on social media that 2018 has been the “most inspiring year of your musical career.” Can you tell us why it has been such a fruitful and creative year for you?

This has been the first opportunity I’ve had in the past eight years to step back to reflect and realign. Every other album cycle was so tight, it was always like eight months to make the record and then immediately hit the road touring it. This time I carved out a lot more time to rest up and think about what I want the next chapter to look like. This allowed me to get back in touch with some of the ideas and methods I was focused on at an earlier time in my career. I think I spent so much time trying to learn and evolve over the past few records that I lost touch with this kind of unconscious connection I had to music at one point, things felt like they were flowing in a more organic way, more effortless. I’ve found that again and it’s inspiring. I think I had to go down that rabbit hole of learning and growth in other areas to be able to come back to the center as a better musician and engineer and I think the music will be better for it.

Tell us about your ‘Sunrise/Sunset’ tour. What’s the story behind the concept and how do curate a Sunrise set differently from a Sunset set?

My first experience at Burning Man is where I reconnected with my love of electronic music and ultimately led to me quitting my job and focusing on making a career of music. The sunset and sunrise sets I saw out there inspired me to become a DJ myself and that experience is something I’m always trying to capture in my music and the DJ sets. Out there, no matter what’s going on, everything sort of becomes still and quiet when the sun rises or sets, it’s a moment for reflection. It’s beautiful because everything that comes before and after that moment is defined by it. So I’m just trying to bring a little part of that to the sets, thinking of the whole set as just a container for this one beautiful, fleeting moment.

Your Waypoint sunrise set from Burning Man has received a high deal of praise. What was your experience like in Black Rock City this year?

Every year out there is a new opportunity to learn something about yourself and the people you care about and this year was no different. I’m always grateful for that.

What can you tell us about your upcoming album?

I think it will be a return to form in some ways but a departure in others. It takes a long time to distance yourself from and gain perspective on your own work and I think I’m finally in a place where I can look back at some of the earlier stuff and see it in an objective way. I’ve reconnected with the person I was back then and have been trying to channel that into something new and different than anything I’ve put out thus far. I hope there will be some pleasant surprises along with some familiar spaces for people who have been following along all this time.

How does this forthcoming LP differ from your previous work?

I’m always looking to incorporate new elements into the music. Awake and Epoch saw guitars pushed to the front on a lot of the songs. This album will be defined by new elements in its own way but I think it will also be a definitive statement about what this project is. You can listen to the previous records and find different themes and elements being emphasized but there is a common thread and I think this album will bring that into even greater focus than before.

This will be your first time coming to Costa Rica for your Envision Festival performance. What are you most looking forward to down there?

I’ve heard the surfing is amazing so I’m really excited about that, going to add some time to my trip. And just in general Costa Rica seems like a beautiful and spiritually rich place that I’ve always been interested in experiencing.

Envision Festival has a major focus on collective participation in regards to art, spirituality, yoga, music, dance, performance, education and regenerative strategies. What aspects of transformational events like Envision Festival do you tend to gravitate towards the most?

Any time large groups of people are put in an outdoor situation without all the comforts and trappings of home, where they have to cooperate and share space, I always sense some kind of instinctual energy coming out in a positive way. I think participating in a community while in nature helps us reconnect with a part of ourselves that is often suppressed in everyday life. Music festivals and gatherings like this are a rare opportunity for people to do that.

As we approach the new year, what are some of your goals for 2019?

In an overall sense, I’d like to continue to grow as a person and find sustainable ways to pursue the things I’m passionate about. But of course, the major goals are to put out a record and produce a new live show.

Cameron is Mixmag's Jr. Editor. Follow him on Twitter here

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