A Sit Down With DJ Sean Tyas

New York’s Sean Tyas burst onto the scene in 2006 after releasing his debut single “Lift” on Discover Records, which immediately hit #1 on Beatport—a great start and a sign of things to come shortly after Sander van Doorn selected him as the winner of the “Punk’d” remix contest. Around the same time, Mixmag & Beatport named Sean “Best New DJ” and “One to Watch,” marking the beginning of a rapid rise to fame within the cooler ranks of the trance fraternity.

 

“Forget what your friends tell you is hot. Decide for yourself. See through the hype, the media and the bullshit.”

You are originally from New York. What made you decide to move to Switzerland when you did?

I was chasing love of course. Actually I had moved to Germany first, to do studio work only, in 2004. I met my wife while I was there, visiting her friend in Cologne. After a while of long distance dating we decided to live together in Switzerland, which is where all her family is.

Who are your inspirations?

Early on, artists like Prodigy & Moby then later as I became more interested in specific sounds, definitely Paul van Dyk was my main inspiration and muse.

Is there anyone you hope to collaborate with in the coming months?

I’ve already started a collaboration actually with my idol, Paul van Dyk! I am so completely excited about that. He’s got all of the stuff that I’ve done; now I’m just waiting for his part to come back to me. I don’t know if I’m going to have to do some more work on it. I’m content to let him run with it at this point because I’ve done my part. It’s for his ‘Politics of Dancing 3” compilation and I’m really excited to see what it’s going to sound like. He is someone I have wanted to work with since I threw down my first kick drum in my first production ever. For 2014, I would like to do another collaboration with Giuseppe Ottaviani or Tomas Heredia, but I’m really going to be working really hard on my first album. But I’d love to have Ottaviani on the album, so we’ll see.

You dropped a few spots this year, but you are still on the DJ Mag Top 100 list. Does that list mean anything to you as an artist, or do you forget about lists like and that focus on your music?

Oh now I certainly can forget about it. This year more than ever it was really noticeable how sad an underground scene of electronic music now depends on this 100 person list with data assembled by who has a greater media reach. I don’t want this to affect what I am doing in the studio and how good I do it. Disappointment and frustration do not help one out in the studio, and to separate myself from caring will be liberating, and much better for my output.

What’s your opinion of DJs who do sets in Europe then do a show in America as a completely different style?

I think it’s good, because at least it shows they’re not playing a pre-recorded set, or at the very least pre-planned set. I’m all for that. I think if they’re playing to the crowd — that’s amazing. Markus Schulz& Armin are actually ones who do that pretty well. These are DJs that modify their set to be custom to the crowd, or at the very least, what they think the crowd wants to hear in these places. It’s nice because people are getting what they paid for. For example, if my parents go to a Rolling Stones concert, they get pissed off if the Rolling Stones only played their new shit. If they come back and say they played all their classics, then they say that’s an amazing concert. It’s a balancing act for a band or even a DJ to balance, the familiar stuff with the unfamiliar stuff.  It’s the same for me; I  prefer to play all new stuff, but you can’t do that, there needs to be a balance.

You recently brought out a track with Armin van Buuren, called “Intricacy”. How’s that one doing now?

It’s not a single, but strictly for the album. They may actually releasing it as a single. There’s a remix coming up, so there’s more to come.

Your highest ranked track on Beatport is “Arcobaleno”. Which other tracks of yours would you recommend to someone that is not yet familiar with your music?

I would of course recommend them to check out Lift, as it was the most popular track I have had, it actually didn’t chart well because it leaked months before release, quite brutally as well. Other tracks of mine I’d recommend would be Tingle, Seven Weeks, Zahi and Banshee.

What about your Swiss fanbase? Do you have a solid fans community in there?

To be honest, I don’t play that often in Switzerland. They’re not so “trance” – the scene is big for hip hop R & B and believe it or not, also for minimalism. That’s kind of shame because a decade backwards you used to have this great trance scene in Germany, Switzerland, Austria…You know. People used to say trance was the symbol, the scene of German-speaking countries. But some DJs released some bad trance tracks a few years ago and somehow people just got sick of it. So I mostly play outside Switzerland around the world, as far as Latin America, and yeah I would say my fanbase is international.

Electronic dance music has never been as popular as it is right now. But it is still more popular overseas. Do you find yourself playing more shows outside of the US because of the scene?

Outside of the US has always been my strong point. In other years, of course my BPMs were much higher, and many countries such as Holland, Argentina, and Australia for example, seriously embraced these crazy tempos. These days, the world of dance music is slowing down a lot, and I don’t mind at all. It’s finding a new middle ground, where people can dance their ass off but not leave a sweaty disgusting mess.

 

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