In today’s psychedelic music realm, less is more. However, it hasn’t always been that way. Starting with The Beatles’ Revolver, then on to rock groups like Grateful Dead and The Flaming Lips, psychedelic rock has been constantly creating itself over and over again. And to my assumption, it’s gotten to the point it’s at right now because audiences want simplicity in the listening and intricacy in the musicality.
Which brings us to Tycho, the San Francisco three-piece who seem to have that exact combination nailed down to a T. With their ambient guitar tones, simple and driving bass lines, DJ-inspired percussion, Tycho is easily one of the best psychedelic acts on the airwaves and certainly one of the most popular on the festival circuit.
Scott Hansen, graphic artist, bandleader and creator, let go of the heavy and muddy beats this time around to record an instrument driven record that’s smoother and airy. The reverb used on the guitar is much more traditionally pop, tones you’d hear on a Tame Impala or Alt-J track, but the synth used on Awake is undeniable clean and stands out on every track.
In a Reddit AMA earlier this year, Hansen wrote about his songwriting technique and what influences him as he begins to write an album.
“I usually start with a simple melody or chord progression,” he said “Most of the time it starts with acoustic guitar just because that’s the easiest thing to grab and start playing. After days or weeks of playing with variations I’ll record it and then start layering things over or even replace the guitar altogether with synths.”
Currently on their world tour supporting their latest release, Awake, Tycho will make an extensive trip overseas before stopping in Urbana for one of the most talked about performances of this year’s Pygmalion Festival. In October they’ll play alongside Outkast, The Roots and MS MR at the Life is Beautiful Festival in Vegas
Tycho plays on Saturday, September 27th at 8:20 p.m. at Highdive’s Outdoor Stage 1 with CHVRCHES, The Range, Common Loon and more.