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Talking ‘OG’s’ and Guidance Music with Tyrone

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One of the mainstays of Ulterior Motive‘s stellar Guidance Music imprint, Tyrone is an artist who’s been honing his craft for quite a while now. While not one of Drum & Bass’ most prolific artists, he still packs a punch with a singular, powerful production style. We caught up with the man like Tyrone to find out more.

Hi Ben, Thanks for taking the time to talk to me today, much appreciated.

My pleasure guys, thanks for having me! 

So, for those that don’t know, could you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I began DJing around 1996 and was influenced predominantly by hardcore as it was a huge scene in the North-East back then. I began playing out in Newcastle around 2007 and held a residency till 2014 at a night called Turbulence at Digital which was run by Phobia. The night was already an institution in the North-East and being able to come on board and play every month alongside the biggest artists in the scene was hugely influential. I got into production around 2008 back seat driving with Phobia and Jubei however I didn’t start taking it serious till we formed Chroma with Sato and released on labels like CIA, Program, Hardware and Commercial Suicide etc. Over the last few years I decided to try and further myself as a solo artist and release under my Tyrone alias, which is where I’m at now. 

You’ve got a really distinct, and relatively old school (if you don’t mind me saying), style of production. How did you go about creating your sonic identity? Do you use any particular plugins or hardware to achieve what you aim for? 

I try not to overproduce things! There are some producers out there who I swear are surgeons, super clean, well-produced music which I really admire. However, I find a certain charm in chucking a break into a roller and keeping it organic and not taking too much away with processing. The studio I share with the Chroma guys has all our analogue gear in and over the years we’ve sampled the shit out of it along with any vinyl we pick up in second-hand shops. These days I’m predominantly inside the box but will run stuff through pedals for a bit of warmth/grit. 

Although for a lot of readers the first time they will have heard of you was for your ‘Arcane’ EP with Jubei on Headz, I believe that your first release was actually 6 years prior to that in ‘Ingredients’. Why the long pause between these releases? 

My first release was actually ‘Tremors’ with Jubei back in 2009. Between then and ‘Behemoth’ (2012) I was still learning my way. Following ‘Behemoth’, I was sending ideas back and forth to James Phobia and that’s when we formed Chroma so all my efforts were going into that. We had a really good run of releases but unfortunately, the other guys had family/work commitments which made getting in the studio difficult, so I began writing some solo material again. 

So, moving on, how did you first link up with Jubei and then how did the EP end up on Headz? 

Paul’s a really close friend of mine. We were introduced by Phobia back in 2007 as he was living up here at the time, then ended up sharing a flat together before he signed to Headz and moved South. I went to visit him which is when we wrote ‘Avalon’ and then we kept throwing ideas to each other. The rest of the EP was basically written back and forth with stems, he gave them to Goldie/Ant and they came up with the idea of doing a collab EP which worked out well! 

After two EPs on Headz, you moved to Guidance and have become one of their key figures. How did that come about? Did they contact you or vice versa? 

I got introduced to Greg and James (Ulterior Motive) a few years back and we kept in touch since, swapping tunes etc. We were all out at Sun & Bass and, following a few cocktails one night, we decided that I was going to do an EP for them. I get on really well with those guys and I’ve always been a huge fan of their music so it was a no-brainer for me to get involved. 

Guidance have been responsible for really pushing the careers of a lot of producers, like Walk:R and Lovely, how have you found them to work with? Do they do anything that sets them apart? 

It’s great! Greg and I have struck up a good relationship where he trusts me, lets me have as much input as I want in all aspects of the release and I trust him. If somethings shit, we’ll say it because we both want to get the best product we can out to the audience – there’s never any “That’ll do”. The relationship we have is why I work with them, there’s a real desire to work with us as artists and not just take, I respect that. 

From the ‘Arcane’ EP, to your ‘Lunar City’ EP, to the ‘Severance’ EP and through to your incoming ‘The Disciple/OG’s’ single, has the Tyrone sound changed at all? 

Yeah I mean, I definitely feel like I’m evolving as an artist. I don’t see myself as having a specific ‘sound’, I just enjoy writing music, experimenting with styles, I never really set out with a plan. It’s a constant learning curve for me however, more often than not, I lean towards early influences for inspiration. 

Since we’re here, can you tell us a little bit about the new single? What was the intent behind it and do the names have any significance? 

‘The Disciple’ was an idea I had flying round in my head for about a year. I’d heard a riff in a house tune that I couldn’t un-hear so had to put it down and play around with it. The basis of the track was originally for a project I’m doing with another label. However I ended up taking it in a different direction and agreed with the label that it would be more suited to someone else – obviously I approached Guidance. ‘OG’s’ was intentional for the flip however the idea came about from just a break. The track then pretty much wrote itself which doesn’t happen often.

I’ve noticed that the single is a little more dancefloor focused than previous releases? Is this just a symptom of a smaller release or was it deliberate? 

There was non-real intention behind any of it really. This is the great thing working with Guidance, there’s freedom to experiment which I think a lot of labels should operate in the same manner.

Looking ahead, what’s next for Tyrone? 

I’ve done an extended EP for a label I’ve never worked with before which I’m looking forward to getting out as its slightly different to my usual sound. I’ve also done an EP for a label launching next year which I can’t say much about either (sorry!). I’ve got a couple of collabs done with Jubei and have another in the pipeline with Ulterior Motive. Other than that just looking forward to being able to play in clubs again! 

And finally, how have you been spending lockdown? 

A shitload of DIY and not enough music. Decorated my mum’s house, done some landscaping for friends, taken up cycling, done a Personal Trainer qualification and begrudgingly got back into running. Personally I’ve found the anxieties of what’s going on in the world right now to be quite overwhelming, so for me, it’s been hard to sit still and be creative in the studio.

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Ben, much appreciated! 

Thanks guys!

You can, and totally should, check out Tyrone on Facebook here, check out Guidance on Soundcloud here and buy the new Tyrone single ‘The Disciple/OG’s’ on Guidance Music here.

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