Arthur Galestian Interviews Trance DJ/Producer Sean Tyas
Saturday, September 22, 2012

[Audio Interview:  Nov. 2012 Podcast]

Arthur catches up with Sean Tyas after his set at Nocturnal Wonderland 2012. Sean Talks about the scene over the years, his music, and the life of a DJ on the road.

Arthur Galestian: Hey, what’s up everybody? Arthur Galestian here. I’m backstage with Sean Tyas right after his gig. What an incredible vibe we had back there. How are you doing, Sean?

Sean Tyas: Yeah, definitely. Really, really good vibe. I’m doing great now, I’m relieved that everything’s gone so smoothly today. And yesterday as well, I’ve just come from New York from another gig. Weekends like this are a little bit hectic, especially when you do both coasts. But, relieved now—this is probably the earliest I’ve played in California. The crowd is up for it here! This is the epicenter right now of that new generation of clubbers and ravers here in America, and it’s amazing how the media is actually embracing it now, whereas fifteen years ago, all they did was attack it. So this is nice!

AG: How would you say the new generation of clubbers and ravers is different from the last generation?

Sean: It’s the same. I don’t really know why it’s so culturally accepted right now, when it’s not very different from how it was before. I mean, it’s gotten a lot more commercialized. The tracks are a bit less underground; they’re easier for people that are coming into the dance scene to digest. People like Avicii are doing tracks that are very easy for people to digest. I’m not saying they’re dumbed down, but just very simple. “Earworms” is what a German would call it—how the songs will get stuck in your ear when you walk away from it. I don’t know how else to put it. The music, the image now of a DJ is a bit more cleaner cut than it used to be. The old DJ image was a bit more “rockstarish” or kind of “troublemakerish” and now you have these squeaky clean DJs like Armin van Buuren or Avicii. These are the kids the girls want to bring home to show Mom and Dad.

AG: That’s definitely a step forward! As the scene continues to change, the sound of trance has also changed a lot over the last ten years. One of the first tracks that I remember from you was your remix of Legend B’s “Lost in Love”, which came out around 2006. That’s kind of when I was like, “Who’s Sean Tyas? That was pretty an amazing tune!” The sound that you had back then has changed—the BPMs have gone down, the style has overall changed now. How would you say you’ve managed to move with the changing trends, but still keep the “Sean Tyas” sound?

Sean: Everyone always goes, “Ah, you were uplifting [trance]” or whatever. I never called myself an “uplifting” DJ. I always said, “I play driving, melodic music.” And that’s the way I’m always going to play. So if I’m going to play an electro track, it’s going to be driving, it’s going to be hard, it’s going to have power. And as far as the melody goes, I always want some aspect of melody, of course. So, for people to say I changed, I don’t think I changed, I just think maybe I dropped a little bit in BPM, but I’m trying to obtain the same power and drive as before.

AG:  In terms of some of the other music you’ve been working on—you’ve been doing a lot of stuff that’s darker, more electro, sometimes even working under an alias. Tell us a bit more about that.

Sean: There’s the other alias, Naes, which was previously Syat Naes, but that’s a pain in the ass for people to spell, so Naes is just “Sean” spelled backwards, it looks cool. I like to work with these other labels, these electro labels, they’re new faces, new people, new experiences, and they’re pushing me to do things I’ve never done before, and this is where I want to be. The trance guys—I’m not naming names and I’m not saying anything—but, I’m surprised they can even leave the studio feeling very satisfied because they haven’t broken any new ground on that day for themselves. It’s the same sounds! Granted, these tracks are great, but you get bored after ten years.

AG: So what do you do as an artist to keep growing?

Sean: The only thing I’ve been doing lately is listening to other genres and trying to find aspects of each that are redeeming, that I like. You can listen to any genre and find little bits and pieces and you’re like, “That’s really cool, I should try that in another genre or in a trance track and see if it works.” Whether it works, whatever, but you should try it.

AG: You’ve achieved a great amount of success. What would you say you’ve done in the past to become successful, and what are you doing now to hold on to that success?

Sean: Same as I’ve always done. I try to make music that I’d want to be hearing on the dance floor if I was a clubber. That’s it, simple as that.

AG: Excellent! You’re celebrating your fourth consecutive year on the DJ Mag “Top 100” poll. How does that feel?

Sean: Feels good! I have no idea what number I placed, but if I’m playing at the party, we’re assuming it’s a good sign. But, I really don’t know how well I did. I’m happy to be on the poll, sure. I guess I’d be pissed if I wasn’t, but I don’t think this should be about voting. This is not the Academy Awards. This is music. This is different. It just sucks that these numbers have something to do with, you know, if you’re getting booked in Asia, or if you’re getting booked some place in South America—that the number of your DJ Mag placement will affect how you’re placed on the flyer, it’s just really stupid. This is DJ Mag’s cash crop, whatever. But, it is what it is!

AG: When you sit down to produce a track, is there a sort of ritual you go through, or something you do to prep yourself for writing tracks?

Sean: I wake up at 5 o’ clock in the morning from Monday through Thursday, normally every day. My kids wake up around 7 so I like to get a two-hour head start, go down to the studio, close the door, and hope for the best! That’s really it.

AG: How do you keep a balance in your life when you’re touring?

Sean: Sleep as much as you can! I sleep every single flight, almost the full flight. I try to sleep at the hotels. Lately I’ve learned a lesson: try to go to the club a little closer to your set time and don’t go for the full night, there’s no reason to do that. These things really weigh on you, and I’m getting older, and I don’t want to keep doing it. I mean, I grew up as a clubber, so I love being in a club, it’s my home. But, there comes a time when you just got to stop doing it.

AG: So with that said, is there anything through your personal experiences that you’ve learned, anything you would’ve done differently in the past that you might want to pass on down to other aspiring DJs and producers? Any words of advice to help them move on their path more quickly?

Sean: Yeah! Do not listen to just one style of music. It will hurt you in the long run. Listen to as much as you can. I’m not saying go listen to country or styles that have nothing to do with what you’re doing. But if you’re on Beatport, don’t just go to trance, don’t just go to psy-trance, don’t just go to prog. Listen to some weird sh*t, and then you’ll end up with stuff and be like, “Wow.” You can either use that in one of your tracks as a different style, or you would even try to make a track like that and that will open new doors for you across the board.

AG: Is there anything else you’d like to tell our listeners?

Sean: That’s it! Thanks for listening.

AG: Where can we find you online?

Sean: Facebook.com/SeanTyasMusic or my web site, SeanTyas.net or SeanTyasMusic.com, or Twitter.com/SeanTyas.

AG: Thank you so much for giving us your time, I appreciate it!

Sean: Absolute pleasure, man!