AmbiEntrance: Why the title "Asleep at the Switch"? It certainly sounds like you're on
top of things...
Tyler: I came across the phrase in a Kurt Vonnegut book and
it kind of stuck (it's not a common saying in The UK,
so most people think it's a reference to being stoned
in the studio). First of all it made me think of
browsing through second hand record shops and flicking
past these records which could have the most killer
sounds and samples on them, but you just pass them by.
It then just made sense for the album in general, cos
I could have made it alot better. I'm a bit of a lazy
fucker by nature, and I spent too much time watching
TV instead of working on it.
AmbiEntrance: You cover a lot of ground here style-wise; what's your musical history and who are some of your influences?
Tyler: I got bit by the Hip Hop / Elecro bug in about '84,
then got into funk and Jazz stuff from about '89
onwards when my friend set up a little studio and
started digging for breaks and stuff. The nineties
were all over the place really, deep house, techno,
dub, ambient, all kinds of stuff. I suppose my main
influences at the moment are Soundtracks, 70's Library
music, Jazz (Miles, Pharoah Sanders, Marc Moulin etc)
and Hip Hop of course, but other things always tend to
creep in there.
AmbiEntrance: What are your instruments/electronics of choice?
Tyler: I've got a very basic setup, just a Macintosh, Akai
sampler, bass guitar, a couple of analogue synths and
little Mackie desk. I havn't bought any new kit for
ages, because what I've got has been sufficient for
what I've wanted to do.
I do want to build my studio
up now though, there's a modular synth I want to get
hold of and I need to gear up more for live recording,
decent compressors and mics, stuff like that. I'm also
gonna switch software... I've been using Cubase for
the last ten years, and it's far too easy to slip into
very linear, block like arrangements with it, so I'm
gonna go over to Logic Audio and see what I can do
AmbiEntrance: Using an example from "Asleep...", can you describe how you developed a particular track from concept to completion?
Tyler: The most enjoyable was "Wonderful Wino Radio".....
visited local 2nd hand vinyl emporium, purchased a
bottle of whiskey on the way home, fed old records
into Akai and Mac, fed whiskey into stomach, messed
around, laughed alot, passed out, mixed down to DAT in
the morning with a rather large headache.
AmbiEntrance: You seem to share J. Saul Kane's affinity for samples; With "Kilgore Trout" and the UFO samples of "Undupitably", I wonder if you've got a
bit of of sci-fi fan in you?
Tyler: Yeah I do like a bit of Sci-Fi, books mainly. I'm well
into Iain M Banks, William Gibson, Phillip K Dick,
stuff like that. I'm really into Kurt Vonnegut as
well, as you can see from the album title and "Kilgore
Trout" I get quite a few track names from books I'm
reading at the time, like "Chewin' The Chew-z", that
came from a Phillip K Dick book.
AmbiEntrance: Some of the samples lean more toward the comedic...
Obviously, there's George Carlin (in "Wonderful Wino Radio"), but
who's the voice who says he wants to be cremated and have his friend smoke him?
Isn't that an old Richard Pryor bit, slowed down to an old man's voice?
Why these samples?
Tyler: I can't actually remember who that is as I sampled it
years ago, but I do know it's definitely not Richard
Pryor. Basically the samples made me laugh, and I like
to have a bit of fun in the studio. Most of my tracks
come out sounding quite deep and serious, but that's
not really what I'm like, it's just how I like music
to sound. The comedy aspect just lightens things up a
bit, shows I'm not taking things too seriously.
AmbiEntrance: I understand "Shatners Bassoon" will be used in a movie soundtrack; can you give details on how, where and when this will be?
Tyler: The people at the label are getting heavily into the
film side of things, they've been doing the "Made In
Hong Kong" video label for a while, and they're also
distributing arthouse films in the UK and are moving
into production, so obviously they're picking up alot
of contacts in that field. Basically someone asked
them to submit some music for a film project in
France, so they sent some of my tracks in and
"Shatners Bassoon" was chosen for it. Then I found out
that the film was produced by Luc Besson and that
people like Massive Attack are on there as well so I'm
really happy about it. It's called "Exit" and I think
it's just been premiered at Cannes. I've been told
it's released some time in June in the UK but I'm not
sure about the rest of the world.
AmbiEntrance: Comment on the current state of electronic music; where do you see yourself in that mix?
Tyler: I'm not really up on much current music at the moment so I don't think I'm qualified to comment on that one,
but I have heard some great things, and also some very
bad things, so I suppose it's business as usual
really. I have been buying quite a bit of Hip Hop
though, and I'd say things are pretty healthy there.
Where do I fit into it all? I don't know, and I don't
really care to be honest.
AmbiEntrance: What's next for Tom Tyler?
Tyler: A studio overhaul, as mentioned above, then just getting down to work on some new tracks - DC want
more albums out of me so we're talking about that at
the moment. I want to change the way I work and move
it forward a bit, so I'm taking a bit of a break at the moment to take stock of things.
I've also been
working on some tracks with James Dyer as "Stromba",
and we're gonna do an album for FatCat, so I'm looking
forward to that. That's all that's in the pipeline at
J. Saul Kane
AmbiEntrance: It seems you keep your plate very full with DC Recordings and Electron Industries, Depth Charge, Octagon Man, Alexander's Dark Band, Tet and others... can you help sort these all out for us?
Kane: I think the only way these things can be "sorted out " is by the person
hearing them and making
their own mind up....as for myself they all seem to be different parts of
the same thing.......me
AmbiEntrance: Tell us about your love of kung fu films, etc.; how do you apply this to
Kane: since i was a small boy I went to the late night cinema near where I lived
the way these films were constructed and what they were trying to portray
became part of my psyche.....thus came depth charge
the nature of heroes was born
AmbiEntrance: I hear you just got back from Cannes; what was your overall impression?
Kane: my overall impression was a bunch of people talking about money...some
with, a lot without.
The other impression i got was if you had a complex about the way you
looked it was not the place for you!
AmbiEntrance: Your music seems like it might come from some wild-and-crazy
party-person, but in "real life" you're apparently quite straight... how do
you explain this dichotomoy?
Kane: I have kind of explained it the way in which things that I like are created
is the way I try to make tracks!... be it tv, cinema, music ,art or
anything which involves a number of forward thinking decisions trying to
predict the future in an artistic way......strange ,no?
AmbiEntrance: How did your early days of DJing prepare you for your current
Kane: try not to make crap records!
AmbiEntrance: How do you personally differentiate between Depth Charge and Octagon
Man? When you're creating new music, do you know beforehand which it'll be
Kane: yes it seems to be very straight forward for me ...but a little less these
AmbiEntrance: You use a lot of samples from movies in your music... have you ever done
any music for movies? (I'm picturing you scoring a martial arts flick, of
Kane: no but some people have used tracks of mine in movies....but not the way i
AmbiEntrance: Using Lust 2" as an example, can you tell us where some of your samples come from?
AmbiEntrance: Speaking of "Lust 2"... I loved it, but where does the "lust" part come
AmbiEntrance: In Octagon Man's "Ito Calculus"
you use a lot of
"electro-orchestral" stringsounds amid your experimentalism... is there a
symphony buff in you somewhere?
Kane: symphony = epic.....i love epic ...... epic epic epic .... more
AmbiEntrance: Comment on the current state of electronic music; where do you see
yourself in that mix?
Kane: whilst one is recording it can be destructive to look over ones
shoulder.... as one may crash
burn and die, this is not on the agenda......
AmbiEntrance: How's the new studio coming along? What are your plans for it? (i.e.
upcoming projects from you and/or others?)
Kane: to make interesting succsessful music of different types...
1st to finish a new depth charge single for the summer...then??
AmbiEntrance: Thanks for your time and input... any closing words you'd like to add?
Kane: i usually am quite quiet when talking about my own veiws so not really.......