Tycho is an audiovisual project led by producer wunderkind Scott Hansen, along with band members Zac Brown on bass and guitar and Rory O’Connor on drums. Their recent Awake album recasts emotive landscapes of wide desert spaces opening to upturned bowls of night sky with glittering stars, whose gaseous star-deaths feel less like closure and more like beginnings, not at all unlike shooting stars or the graphics and visuals Hansen makes to complement his albums.
The sonic narrative complements the visual and it says: Wake up. Be Awake. These are not stark colors; they are sun-bleached, washed in time, enduring.
In anticipation of Tycho’s performance during the Sasquatch! Festival that takes place at the resplendent outdoor Gorge Amphitheater May 27–30, here’s a selection of random factoids about frontman Scott Hansen.
Tycho’s moniker was taken from Tycho Brahe, a Danish astronomer and alchemist.
Hansen is also a photographer, graphic and visual artist known as ISO50. He creates all the visuals that accompany his performances. He told TheFourOhFive he sees “the music and visual work as one and the same at this point — Tycho is an audio/visual project at its core.” He believes that because the music is curated and packaged from the same source, it has more impact and cohesive meaning with both substance and beauty.
Scott says that he never saw working in a creative field as a viable career path as a child. He started to attend college to pursue a career in computer science, but dropped out when he got a job in web design. He has since had corporate jobs doing interface and user experience design and worked at Adobe.
Hansen told Digital Trends that many of the nuances of his productions get lost in a typical MP3 file, and should probably be played on FLAC or WAV digital formats or vinyl. He hopes to record his next album in DSD format.
It took Hansen six years to make the album Dive, but only eight months to make Awake. He claims part of the reason Dive took so long was because he had a day job while he was recording it. In fact, he told Fader that it was always his dream “for Tycho to get to that point” and it took him “10 years to get there” because he was focused on freelance design work.
The “Awake” guitar riff was discovered a few months after it was recorded from a studio jam session. Scott looped the riff and was awake until 7 a.m. creating the track. He describes it as the most inspired track of the entire album.
Scott’s favorite bands under the age of 13 were The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Megadeth, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Cream, Guns N’ Roses, Jane’s Addiction and Beastie Boys. His more recent musical influences are Ulrich Schnauss, Roni Size and Boards of Canada.
Hansen said on Reddit that his new graphic direction for Tycho embraces simple album art design, while his prior design work was more “maximalist” and photographic. He said that with “physical mediums disappearing, album art didn’t necessarily have to fit a given format.”
Hansen claims that he thinks “of inspiration as the reason I am driven to create. I guess I’ve just always had this overwhelming desire to translate a vision and I’ve always felt hindered by my own abilities and resources. So I guess it’s like an ongoing challenge, to overcome yourself and try to make the images and sounds in your head real.”
Scott said on Reddit that he suffers from social and performance anxiety, and that sometimes he shook so badly he couldn’t play the keyboard. He says exercise, yoga, beer, and routinely facing his fears during performances helped him overcome some of his anxiety.
Time Out Shanghai asked Scott, “How does space, in every sense of the word, inform your music?” His answer: “I’m very grounded in the sense that I draw all of my inspiration from terrestrial concepts. But space, as in a field, or a forest, that is everything. That is what I am trying to create with all of my work; to conjure up the intersection of physical space and emotion.”