Columbia may not be the epicenter of the electronic music scene, but there are artists who are trying to broaden our scene with more of it. These artists are usually either on mixed bills or performing at house shows, but there is more going on in this sector of our music scene than some may realize. A few of these acts will be performing at Jasper’s fall 2016 release party at Art Bar on September 29, including Tyler Digital.
Tyler Digital is the electronic project of local musician, Tyler Matthews. Matthews has been producing seriously for about three years, and makes dance pop fit for house parties and DJ sets. His influences range from Hans Zimmer to Led Zeppelin, and he hopes to one day be a soundtrack producer as influential as the likes of Zimmer. I asked Matthews more about his music and the local electronic scene in the following interview.
Matthews will be performing a DJ set as Tyler Digital at the Jasper release along with Autocorrect, The Moon Moths, and King Vulture.
Can you describe what your music is like? On some days it's energized left-field dance pop — and on another day it's an emotional hybrid of synth-wave and symphonic house. I try to not sound like anyone else, but that doesn't make life easy for writers.
What is your songwriting process like? I like to make a good synth sound, then make a 1-2 bar chord progression, put together a beat and then make a bass that goes well with both. After that I like to chop up some vocals turn that into a lead instrument. Everything else just builds around those components.
What bands/DJs/acts do you typically play with? Is it usually a mixed bill/house show sort of situation or would you say there is an active scene? And if not, do you wish there was one/think it's possible that it will emerge? Long answer: Mixed bill/House Shows - Yes. Mason Youngblood runs Moas Collective; he's done a great job of getting electronic producers together. But he moved to Brooklyn for his PhD and then several of our friends spread out to Atlanta, Portland, Nashville, New York, Puerto Rico, etc in just the last year. But we still talk music often and collab because internet life. Right now I do shows with Anissa Armaly (Dulce De— DJ and producer) and also Wright Clarkson (OS3) who is a baller. I also do shows with Contour and some other producer friends from the Charleston scene. Ahomari (Cyberbae) plus the Tri City Rec crowd is making amazing music right now. So there's definitely talent in SC, but quite the limited audience; I think any musician here would admit that. Regarding the scene now, we blend in with the bands in Scenario Collective and they have events all the time. I'm confident we could expand the live scene in 5 Points, Main Street, and the Vista if any owners were looking for that. Ideally I'd love to have a space in Cola similar to Common Market in Charlotte - the crowd and atmosphere there is amazing and one we need in Columbia. Or maybe I should just ask the Whig for a residency.
Do you have any other shows or releases coming up? I'm doing a DJ Set for WUSC on October 27th. And once a month there's usually some house show or dance party that I'll get asked to do. From a creation standpoint, I'm writing a soundtrack for a short film which I plan to make myself. And then I'm producing a rap EP for a couple of talented bosses. They are Columbia's next hope.
What is your philosophy as a musician, if you have one? The best music you will make are the songs that happen naturally, fluidly, and quickly. Translated to philosophy: just keep making music - you will surprise yourself. You can't do anything wrong when making music anyway.