This week I wanted to do something different with the column that would be informative as well as interesting. I searched through all of the music I had been made aware of, whether physical or digital, and contacted the artist whose sound had me so intrigued I had to write about it. Yes, I mean I wanted to do a good old fashion music interview.
I did not realize that my first choice would be so natural, so fresh, so independent, and yet so real.
I found this artist on the Soundcloud digital music sharing service as she had subscribed to listen to mixes from the www.Digimixdjs.com syndicated mix-show service.
Her name is TYTO!
Liberated soul - Nocturnal melodies - Dancing with bare feet on the Earth - Singing infinite harmonies - Emerging Existing!
She lives in Melbourne, Australia. I love some of the music coming out of there right now including, “Tame Impala” and “Hiatus Kaiyote”. Don’t get me wrong there was some old school I used to rock to from Australia back in the day like the, “Little River Band”. “We'll go dancing in the dark, walking through the park and reminiscing”.
That was my jam! “Hurry don’t be late”….I know not enough time to sing that whole song.
TYTO has an amazing story. Her music is unique. And after you give this article a reading I would like you to subscribe to her Soundcloud page or maybe even check out some of her music on I-TUNES.
As you can imagine there are language differences between us but I will leave her answers exactly as they were spoken and written to me. I hope you all enjoy…
TYTO, thank you for taking the time out and doing this interview, for the, “Let’s Get Back To Real Music” blog in the Chicago Now online magazine.
At what age did you realize you had musical talent?
There never was a realisation for me. Music is definitely in my blood, and in my family you can tell very early on when one of the kids has inherited that ‘musical gene’. My musical Mum saw it in me and she nurtured it from the moment I was a functioning human!
By the time I was twelve I was a musician and a bookworm, enchanted by historical science fiction work and also the story of Christine from the Phantom of the opera being a slave to the ‘spirit of music’… I felt like a vessel for the spirit of music to channel through, I was writing songs with guitar and voice, and I was finding that I had an aptitude for violin, flute, djembe and that my guitar playing skills were developing to a point where I felt equal to the adult musicians that I was meeting at my Mum’s gigs.
Music has been the one thing in the history of my family that has pulled us through adversity, and when circumstances pushed me out of the nest at the age of fifteen, I found myself busking on the streets for survival, sneaking into pubs (underage) to perform and have jam sessions with the local musicians. Music itself had become my muse, my medium for expression, my common language that enables me to socialise with like minds and feel confidence as a person, and it is like a virtual bank account that I can dip into when I am down and out (via busking/gigs/CD sales)… The reason I named this musical project ‘Tyto’ (a genus of owl), is that Owls navigate through the dark with their keen senses and music is the keen sense that enables me to navigate through the darkness in my life – I do not say this lightly.
When I was 17, a friend gave me an India Arie CD and her song “Always in my head” pretty much sums up my relationship with music!
When did you start using digital instrumentation to make your sound?
I feel as though being a singer/songwriter/guitarist, I can say a lot with my music, but there is this whole other portion of my musical self that doesn’t get to come out, such as the harmony obsessed multi-instrumentalist/hip hop loving/subjective/opinionated naughty little kid.
I started perving on looping pedals on ebay in 2011 and I finally found one that was within my budget in late October 2013. I bought a little, single channelled looper called a ‘Ditto Looper’ by TC electronics for $180.
I also had a really really hard year that came to a climax in November so I was fortunate to have a lot of emotional mess that I needed to figure out which provided songwriting fuel. As a songwriter, I never deliberately set out to write a song. Songs usually come from a combination of exploring a new musical idea on my musical instrument as well as having a whole heap of emotional turmoil or ideas that I’m delving into to try and find understanding. I write each ‘Tyto’ song by having a vocal ‘jam session’ with myself. I treat the looper as though it is a musical instrument and I’ve noticed that the looper also has a big effect on the ‘form’ of the songs that I write. I recently sold enough copies of my home- recorded Live demo “Liberated soul”, and was able to buy a large Boss RC Looper. Now that I have more inputs and more loop channels I am in the midst of creating songs to incorporate my violin, flute and djembe into the mix…. I’m very excited…
I don’t like the idea of sampling music and having backing tracks on stage, I like the idea of constructing and performing the elements of the song LIVE on stage, it turns out unique each time based upon the vibe I’m getting from the crowd.
When did you learn about the struggle and oppression of your people?
When I was sixteen, some beautiful local art students took me under their wing, taking me travelling all over the vast continent of Australia, visiting festivals and road tripping. We were heavily involved with Indigenous communities and stayed for a few months with the Ngunnawal people at the “Aboriginal Tent Embassy” in Canberra and we also spent a year working closely with “Auntie Sue” who is an elder in the Dja Dja Wurrung Tribe. During this time I learned the beauty of our Indigenous culture, and I also learned the hidden and sinister truths about white Australia’s historical and ongoing genocide, oppression and maltreatment of our Indigenous population. This set off a slow burning rage within me, mixed feelings of sadness, empathy, powerlessness and a need to set the record straight. Every day I encounter people who are so caught up in the façade of white Australia, the place of equal opportunity, the place of ‘multiculturalism’, the place where everyone is easy going and anything goes. If I had a coin for the amount of times these ignorant people have said to me that it “happened 200 years ago, get over it, it’s not our problem, it’s not our responsibility to clean up the mess” – If I had a coin for every time, I would be very wealthy. I want to use my music and my conversation to set the record straight: there is blood on every bit of infrastructure here, and every person who benefits from the wealth and the infrastructure of Australia has blood on their hands. Every person has a responsibility to acknowledge the truth and do something about it. The British Empire invaded / colonised 90% of all the countries in the world, their motto ‘The British Empire, where the sun never sets’ says it all to me. What an atrocity, when will justice happen? I know that people have fought very hard for the moments of justice that they have won, I still think there needs to be MORE JUSTICE….. MORE WIDESPREAD. When I was nineteen I travelled to very remote regions of Western Australia to teach music in Indigenous communities with the Martu people. I was amazed and inspired by the local people, at how intact their culture is in these places, and also appalled at the mess that has been created there by the white man’s influence (If you watch documentaries by the journalist John Pilger, you will get a good idea about the juxtaposition of white and Indigenous Australian cultures). My job out there only lasted a few months, to find a longer lasting position I needed to go and get better qualifications. Since then I have spent five years gathering my qualifications and recently I have acquired enough tertiary education so that I can go back there as a fully qualified educator, I hope to immerse myself in the local culture and do whatever I can to help the dire situation.
Who are your inspirations?
Growing up with my Single Mum as my role model, witnessing her play regular gigs and take me to folk festivals.
Listening to Ani DiFranco, India Arie, Erykah Badu, Lamb, Massive Attack, Portishead, Tipper, Mariah Carey’s old stuff, Joni Mitchell – You name it, if it’s inspiring, then it will inspire me. Recently I have had the pleasure to collaborate closely with some very inspiring local singer songwriters by playing flute, violin, djembe and singing harmonies for their gigs / albums etc which has been great for my soul and great for my musical confidence.
Are you looking for a major label deal or are you happy with your situation of being an independent?
I have not really looked into that side of things yet because I am six months into this new Liberated Soul/Hip Hop/ Looping project and I am still trying to establish what exactly it is that I do – I feel as though the project has not yet been fully born into the world. At this stage, I am on the verge of finding a well paid job and self funding / crowd funding an international tour, an album and a film clip. That sounds pretty independent and pretty viable to me!
If some organization wants to get involved in the business side of things with my project, I could actually use some help with things like promotion, budget and strategy, however I am going to do my utmost to ensure that my music speaks for itself and I will not be grasping at ‘record deals’ like some desperado. I’m happy for someone to like my music and go out on a limb to help me and if someone does actually help me I will make it very worth their while, but my main aim is to create good music and get it out there in whatever way is possible – my main aim is not to ‘get signed’.
Have you submitted your music to other artists in hope of working together doing a collaboration?
I recently found some beautiful dancers in my local community, and we have been rehearsing a set where they wear amazing clothes and represent the music visually with free flowing interpretive dance. I would certainly love to collaborate with some of the people I mentioned in my influences, if I was ever fortunate enough to make that happen. I recently laid down some harmonies on a sweet song by Lior, I sent him a link and he ‘liked’ it. I would like to collaborate with him one day, and also Gotye.
Can you do a special 30 second song about DJ Fink? :)
It would be my pleasure, I need to immerse myself into the DJ Fink story and get some inspiration flowing for a song!!! I’ll get onto it ;D
As you all can tell by this interview, “TYTO” is an independent musician, humanitarian, but of most importance, a human being who cares about her surroundings.
Her story reminds me of how Jazz, Hip-Hop, Rock & Roll and other music genres started off and thrived by those who had the hunger to get their story out but also searched for ways to help others.
I am honored to have interviewed this old-soul as I believe the world will hear from her in some capacity soon.
Here is TYTO’s Website
Enough of how I feel about her. Here is a link to the song that made me recognize her greatness.
Here is a link to the song of her representing for the Aboriginal people of Australia.
Finally if you like those links and would like to purchase any of her music you can do so at I-tunes.
I have not been paid to promote TYTO, nor will I. I just wanted to put great music out there during this Easter weekend and allow for people to get that good feeling inside their souls.
Thank you TYTO for all you are doing for music and the world.
As an addition to this column I would also want to give you guys the opportunity to listen to a mix that features another group from Australia, "Tame Impala". Click on to stream it as well…
Just my thoughts man…