|ROCKWiRED iNTERViEWS TYLEAN
A FRiGHTENiNG SOUNDWhether you see her as a more ethereal DIAMANDA GALAS or a more volatile TORI AMOS, one canít argue that the gothic chanteuse TYLEAN leaves an impression. On her official website, she cautions that her music should not be considered music but as art. After listening to her sophomore release BETWEEN 2 AND 10 (a re-release from 2007 on the BAST label) I am inclined to agree, which is not to say that TYLEAN is without musicality. The Pennsylvania-born TYLEAN showed an aptitude for both acting and singing at an early age. Itís hard to imagine such a nihilistic persona getting her start in childrenís choirs and a production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, but that was the gig that got her going. Itís not clear when the transformation from wannabe child actress to nightmarish poetess occurred but it is clear that the latter is here to stay. ďOh Iím a nihilist!Ē laughs TYLEAN. ďI am coming from the Ďfuck you! I am who I am and youíll take it or youíll leave ití perspective. A lot of people try to pander to audiences and write for audiences. I write for me.Ē
TYLEAN TALKS TO ROCKWiRED
ABOUT HER CD BETWEEN 2 AND 10
LiFE AS AN EXPATRiATE
AND EMBRACiNG A DARKER SOUND
iNTERViEWED BY BRiAN LUSH
TYLEAN spoke with ROCKWIRED over the phone. Here is how it went.
How long have you been living in England?
Well, I havenít lived in England consecutively. I went to Northern Ireland for a while but Iíve been in the UK for about two years.
Your CD was originally released in 2007 and now itís being re-released. What are your thoughts on that?
Itís great! I kind of thought it was a bizarre idea at first. Why do we have to re-release it when itís already out? But itís being released on a bigger and better label and itís a good opportunity. They are going to be marketing it very heavily in Europe.
Talk about how music began for you.
Good! Iím expecting a long answer.
Yeah, thatís a loaded question. Actually I started in theater. When I was a very, very young child, I wanted to get into film so badly, but of course I lived in northeast Pennsylvania. So I got into theater and by default I got into musical theater. People would tell me that I had a really good voice and because of that I started singing more. I was in choirs and then I became a part of small ensembles for the really talented singers and doing solos and things like that. Specifically, we were doing THE SOUND OF MUSIC and I didnít have a very big role because I was quite young but I would sit backstage as the performance was going on and I would start playing the piano and that was actually how I started playing piano.
At what point did songwriting figure into this discovery of your musicality?
Pretty much immediately. I would learn songs but for every song that I would learn, I would end up writing something. I would just sit and play with chords for a while and then start writing things but it was all instrumental for a great deal of time. It wasnít until I was eighteen that I started writing lyrics. Initially, I was very embarrassed of the lyric writing process.
In terms of sharpening the lyric writing, was there a songwriter that you looked to at all?
No. Never. I kind of developed my own way and I think itís a bit oddballish. My songwriting is getting a bit more mainstream, especially with the songs that Iíve written that arenít out yet because different things have happened throughout my life and I feel like Iím a bit more normal now. Not really ďnormalĒ but I feel like I can write about things that people can relate to a little more easily. The songs come to me as they come. What can I say?
You said you started out doing Theater, but then music had taken over. Is there still something inside yourself that still wants to act?
Every once in a while I will give it a brief thought but Iíve got to say that itís pretty much music now. I fought for a while because I still love film and film was such a passion for me and I thought about going into Film Scoring. I did a Masterís Degree in Film Scoring and I scored a few short films and documentaries and I hate it. I frigging hate it. If someone came to me and told me that they had a project that they wanted me to score and it was something really cool and different, I would do it but itís not something that Iím going to pursue. Itís not me. In listening to the album, it seems like some of the songs sound as if they would lend themselves nicely to some sort of visual interpretation. Are there any plans for a video at all?
Yes. There is a music video that we have been trying to make all summer but itís been quite difficult to get the place that we are trying to film it at. The date keeps getting pushed back. We are trying to make a video for the song CORNER OF MY EYE and I think that itís going to happen for real this time. We should start filming in the beginning of October.
How do you go about writing a song?
That is something that has changed quite a bit over the years. Everything used to be written on piano and I would write the music and I would just build up a song over a long, long period of time and the lyrics would come when they were necessary because it didnít seem natural to me any other way. Then, I went to writing everything in sheet music form and everything was being composed very orchestrally and then I would actually have to learn how to play it and that was how BETWEEN TEN AND TWO was written. Now that Iím more comfortable with being a lyricist, things come into my head as a whole unit. It used to take me a long time to figure out the structure of a song. Now the whole thing can be done in close to thirty minutes. Very odd.
What kind of place do you think you are coming from as a songwriter?
Oh Iím a nihilist! I am coming from the Ďfuck you! I am who I am and youíll take it or youíll leave ití perspective. A lot of people try to pander to audiences and write for audiences. I write for me.
When you went across the Atlantic - was it solely for school or was it something else?
School was my excuse, but I wanted to move here. I never came over thinking that Iím going to get this degree and then Iím going t come home. I came here to move permanently. Then, I had some time where I really questioned whether or not that was what I wanted because when you get here, you realize that your romantic idea of leaving America is not quite what you thought it was. It never is. I actually had the conversation with my mother yesterday where she asked me ĎWhen are you coming home!í and my answer was ĎNo time that I can see in the future.í
Donít come back to the States now.
Of course not. Here, I have health insurance and I have a job.
And there is none of that here.
I told my mom that too. I can get sick in this country.
And you canít get sick here. Itís horrible.
Non-Americans can never seem to understand why I wouldíve wanted to leave America but the thing is that I was too involved and too informed in politics to where it would keep me up at night and I now I love that I donít know anything about what is going on in America here unless I seek that information out. What can I do other than vote and what good does that do? That country is a mess and itís been one for a very long time. Long before most people realized it. I like my ignorance and my bliss over here.
So the pursuit of ignorance and bliss was the deciding factor?
Yes. I now know that this was wrong but I long thought that the characteristics of the human race in general were characteristics of Americans and now I know thatís not true. I had a very, very poor opinion of Americans and I come from a rather poor part of the country as well in a very industrial, post-coal mining community. My grandfather died of black lung. My America of course is never the America that Europeans and the British know. They only know the glossy version that they see on television and what I know is trailer trash because thatís what I am (laughs). Here, they donít really have that. They donít really have the bottom crust. They do have gypsies and thatís not quite the same. Itís hard to describe but itís not quite what America has and itís such a small population of people that it doesnít really bother anyone really.
From this CD, what musical moments stand out for you the most and why?
Definitely ROSALYN. People listen to it and they are like ĎI donít like that song!í and Iím like ĎGood! Iím glad you donít like that song!í There is something wrong with you if you like that song. Itís based on a nightmare that I had and the nightmare was so bad that I was begging my body to wake up. If you hate the song so much that you canít listen to it and you have to change it, then I feel like Iíve been successful. It puts a big smile on my face when people say ĎOh God! I canít stand that song! Itís like nails on a chalk board!í
Sometimes a strong negative reaction can be just as satisfying.
Absolutely! That was what I was going for. OUT OF SIGHT OUT OF MIND is another one too. It was the last song written for the album but one of the first ones recorded. I think it was a contributor to the mindset for the whole album. When I finished that recording, I was quite impressed that it got done in the quality that it was done. It made me feel good about going forward with the rest of the album.
Who did you work with in putting this album together?
I worked with someone that I had been working with since I was sixteen. His name is PAUL SINCLAIR and he is an engineer in my neck of the woods Ė at home Ė and is quite well known. I wanted to work with someone who knew exactly how I worked. He didnít really produce so much. I was the producer but the fact that we worked together so many times before guaranteed that everything would come together very, very fast. He knew my signals. I didnít have to say that I didnít like a certain take. The whole album was recorded so quickly that it was impressive.
And are there any plans for a future release at all?
Oh yes! Iíve already got albums of material that are all sorted and put together. If I had all the time and money, I would be putting out five albums a year. Iím hoping to have a new album released by the end of this year. This third album is going to be a pseudo-live album. A live performance is going to be recorded but the audience will know that itís being recorded so if we have to start over, we can.
I think I remember reading something about Australia. Are you going to be touring there?
Iíve got a lot of friends in Australia and theyíve been begging me to visit so I finally decided to do it and when I did they said ĎExcellent! Weíre going to get you some shows booked!í
So theyíve put you to work!
Yes. They are going to put me to work. I wonít be lying around for free apparently. Iím very excited about it because the reception from Australia has been quite good. Iím hoping that it will be a good market.
How have live audiences reacted to your work on stage?
Iíve had a rough time on stage because Iíve developed this persona of a recording artist and Iíve actually come quite far with that when you compare it to everyone who tries to do this. Most of them fail miserably. Then I had to start off doing live gigs and literally start out at the bottom, where everybody else starts. That was a bit of a knock on my confidence. I started playing pubs where people arenít there to hear music. They are there to drink, but it was a good place to cut my teeth. There is some incredibly embarrassing footage out there of people not really listening to me, but it was good to get myself into it. From there I just developed the live aspect of my career a little bit more. Doing the kind of music that I do, it is kind of difficult to know what kind of shows to play on and Iíve actually decided from the responses that Iíve gotten that metal audiences are the absolute best to play in front of. They are so respectful, on every single note, they are appreciative, they applaud and afterward, they come up and they buy a CD.
Great to have that kind of support!
Absolutely! Now, Iím trying to book metal shows exclusively and really arty-bizarre kinds of places. I do well in situations like that too.
What would you like someone to come away with after theyíve heard your music?
Okay, Iím being a nihilist here. I donít expect anything but if on the off chance that someday somebody has that moment where they start to question everything, then that would be great. I just want people to question things. I want people to wake up and get out of their nine to five boxes where they donít realize that everything they do they are doing because they are complete slaves and not doing what they want to do and they are not thinking for themselves. Thatís what I want but I have no ideas about the world changing because of my music. If someone can say ĎHey, wait a minute hereí Ė that would be great but unfortunately the people that would be attracted to my music in the first place are going to be of that mindset to begin with. But that would be cool too because it would unite people of like minds. It would be very hard otherwise for people of that mindset to connect with each other.