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Logo by Nicole Bruce
Tycho Records: by K. Lea, March 18, 2012
Ever since I have been part of the electronic music community it has been apparent that talented DJs grow on trees. We have reached a point in the scene where talented producers also grow on trees. We are living in an era where with a nice computer, some YouTube instructional videos and a good chunk of time, it is possible to make phenomenal music from your bedroom within a couple months. I am constantly being schooled on new artists and new sounds. This freedom of information has created a massive surge in the volume of producers out there today. Although it is much easier to access knowledge these days, it is still a challenge to get your music discovered, get it known and get it played. Having local labels around is an important alliance to local musicians and electronic culture. These labels provide a necessary viewing platform for artists to showcase their wares. One such Calgary-based label, Tycho Records, is gaining notoriety throughout the global bass music scene.
Castlegar native Kyle van Yzerloo (a.k.a. TrebleSum) is the owner and operator of Tycho Records. Being a glitch hop fan through and through, Tycho is predominantly a glitch hop label that also showcases other types of bass music. When asked what types of artists are predominantly represented on Tycho, Kyle said “Well, I don’t hate any genre. I would say I focus mainly on glitch hop. Secondary would be dubstep, and tertiary comes any other types of music that I like or sounds good. I really like the psychedelic bass music style that’s more introspective. My first love was psy-trance so that is represented in the music I like and the label.” There are currently 32 digital releases bearing the Tycho badge, as well as four physical releases; three CDs and one vinyl. A quick scan of the roster shows the diversity Kyle speaks of. Represented are some of the bigger names in glitch: R/D and Minnesota, as well as a name I always associated with the psy community, Blue Lunar Monkey.
R/D: photo by Sarah Hoster
Despite having some artist crossover with bigger glitch labels, such as Simplify Records, Kyle wants to keep the emphasis on some of the smaller names. “My goal is not to search out big names, but to support the smaller artists I already have; to help foster them to a higher level. My top three artists to watch out for on this label are Papa Skunk (Colorado), J.me.J (Edmonton) and Crazy Daylight (Australia).”
Papa Skunk: photo by Sarah Hoster
Despite information being easy to come by in this day and age, there are many other challenges in cultivating a successful label. One of the challenges I recognize is sifting through the masses to find new talent. I mean, sure there are thousands of talented producers out there, but for every star, I know there are a hundred hacks. I asked Kyle about his methods for locating producers with aptitude for Tycho.
“I basically spend a lot of time scouring Soundcloud and music blogs. There are some really good bass music blogs like J’aime le Dubstep and The Untz. People also submit tracks for review.”
Minnesota: photo by Sarah Hoster
Getting a really good talent roster is just the beginning . The game of distribution has definitely changed. Gone are the days of digging through crates at your local record store. Now people spend hours digging through online music sites such as Beatport and Juno. Kyle explains how a local Calgary label is able to hold their own on sites such as Beatport that host electronic music from all over the world.
“It’s competitive. Sites like Beatport also base content on graphic design. I mainly work with a friend Nicole Bruce that creates individual cover art for each release. Some artists prefer to use their own designers. Beatport making a glitch hop section has also helped, it used to be all lumped in with dubstep. Another important marketing strategy is blogs. However, each marketing plan is unique to the artist.”
Kyle van Yzerloo: photo by Marisha Shegda
The marketing plans must be working, as Tycho has made a lot of headway. There is no sign of losing this momentum. With a mandate of keeping glitch hop alive and well in Calgary, the Tycho crew intends to throw more shows in the future and continue putting out tracks of artists large and small. I asked Kyle who his favorite producer of the moment is, perhaps an artist we could hope to see a release from on Tycho.
“My favorite producer of the moment is Stephan Jacobs. His music just resonates with me. I would like to see Stephan Jacobs, Chris B. and more California crunk artists on the label.”
In terms of throwing more shows, the Tycho crew is already keeping that promise. On Saturday, March 24, Shambhala and Burning Man favorite iLL.Gates will be playing at the Distillery with support from TrebleSum, Melo.Nade, Womkat, Jnana and a special 2×4 set from Boggs and Calgary Redbull Thre3Style winner Kato. (A side note about Kato- he went on to compete at the national level at the Canadian Thre3style finals.)
Treblesum and Melo.Nade: photo by Kurt De Freitas
Despite having future plans based in Calgary, I questioned Kyle on his resolve to stay in our prairie town. We have a great community here in Calgary, but it will only stay that way if the people making it happen stay as well. Luckily for all of us glitch heads, there are no plans to leave Calgary in the future.
“In terms of being successful, Calgary is a prime spot in Canada to do that now. With so many groups and artists doing their thing here we have an excellent community. With a few better venues for larger shows we would be all set here.” Spoken like a true believer in our burgeoning Western talent pool!
For more info on Tycho Records events, watch for next weeks iLL.Gates interview. Follow Tycho on Twitter @TychoRecords. Buy a ticket for iLL.Gates here: http://illgatescalgary.zoobis.com/