(photo by Scott Hansen @ISO50 via Instagram)
I got a chance to do a profile for MINISpace on one of my favorite people in the creative world – Scott Hansen. Scott records for Ghostly as Tycho as well as helping run one of my favorite art/design/music blogs ISO50. The modern nostalgia of his aesthetic is something that appealed to me immediately and I’ve continued to enjoy as he’s refined and perfected it. His album Dive was in my personal Top 10 for 2011 and the gatefold LP immediately became one of the gems in my vinyl collection. I was also fortunate enough to see him at Cameo and Music Hall of Williamsburg last year and enjoyed both the visual show and how the music takes on a slightly different shape when performed live. It’s always satisfying to see talented, like-minded, hard-working people see success and Scott is a perfect example of that. For those curious about his listening habits and details on his plans for a completely original visual score to Dive click the jump to read two questions that got edited from the main article due to space constraints:
How have your listening habits changed over time?
Whenever this does come up it’s something that makes me sit down and realize like wow… I mean I started out listening to rock and metal pretty much my whole life and then I got introduced to drum and bass and then house music and stuff like that. Like French house and all that old Predamore stuff and Roni Size and Photek on the drum and bass side. So that’s what made me get into electronic music and then when the IDM thing happened that’s when I was all in on electronic music. I loved it. I discovered Boards of Canada and somewhere along the line, I don’t know if I was just too immersed or what happened but I just didn’t listen to it… I used to go out and actually try and find new music whereas now I just kind of stumble into stuff through friends and I think most people I know listen to indie rock so I’m back to that, listening to rock and folk type stuff. Which I think has found its way into the music because those were things that I always wanted to borrow parts of in my own music but because I didn’t play any traditional instruments at the time I didn’t feel like I had the ability. But over time I’ve learned those instruments and figured out how they were doing certain things so that naturally found its way back in.
Is it different leading up to when you’re going to write and record? Is there more of a focus then on what you’re listening to?
Well, you know what’s strange is that when I had that two year lull when I didn’t do much creating I felt like I consumed a lot during that time and now when I start to think back the last time I sat down and listened to music it was probably weeks ago. I can’t even say that I listen to music on a daily basis and I don’t know why that is. It’s not that I don’t enjoy listening to music but either it doesn’t occur to me or I don’t have time or there isn’t the right scenario. There’s part of me too that wonders though if it’s just the ebb and flow of good bands or good records. Like, is there another Midlake right now? Because when Van Panther came out I listened to that on repeat for weeks on end. So I don’t know if that kind of album is out there floating around and I just haven’t been exposed to it or if there’s really just nothing out there that’s on par with that or really caught my ear lately. That could be a function of me just having my head down but it’s also maybe that’s just how it goes in the cycle of good records.
The imagery from your visual show fits so well with the music you must spend a lot of time piecing that together.
You know I’d like to say I did but I started to realize how little time I spent on that and it’s ridiculous because that’s like half the show for a lot of people. For me translating the vision is all about the visuals. I used to perform them live, like I would actually be creating them live, doing the effects, triggering clips and doing fades and edits and all that stuff so it kind of evolved over time. There was a really intense two week period that I spent putting them together before the first show we did at the Independent in Amsterdam. But because I knew I was going to be playing a lot more instruments from then on with the band I ended up rendering what I had and recording the output and we’ve been playing some version of that ever since. So about six months ago I decided it was time to really sit down and treat the visuals like an album or at least as its own project where it’s not just an afterthought. I’ve been working with Charles Bergquist, the director, he’s been shooting a lot of stuff and I’m going to be editing it and treating it and sequencing it to music and kind of treating each song like a music video instead of this spontaneous field footage. I think there were benefits to the old method and I’m going to try and combine the two by playing some of it live here and recording those sessions to try and capture the best of both worlds. This will be all original material. Before I was using a lot of found footage which was cool in one way but in another way I wanted to bring something completely new to the table. So there are some moments in that footage that I think are really powerful and important to the narrative arc of the show and I think some of those things will still be included but only the really distilled down versions or the heavily effected versions that become something completely different from the original. But with the new one, the first iteration will basically be a rough draft of what I think of as a film that is being scored as we play live and I envision maybe two years down the road having a real story being told throughout the show.
That’s pretty ambitious.
(Laughs) I know but I always felt that trapped inside me was either a director or a video editor… I’ve always wanted to do more with motion I just felt it was such an intense undertaking that the skills and the time involved made it feel like a whole other career that I just didn’t have time to pursue. That’s why meeting Charles was great because he gets exactly what I’m trying to do so it’s not really a difficult translation. So working with him is great because he’s already put in all that groundwork which is perfect because I don’t have to spend months and months on this stuff we can just work together and bounce off each other.
Has there ever been a time where you’ve seen a movie that you thought you’d like to score?
Definitely I’ve seen stuff where I’ve thought, ‘This song would be cool with this,’ or I can imagine doing the soundtrack but I kind of work the other way around it’s like I see visuals when I hear the music as opposed to hearing music when I see visuals.
And up until now you haven’t done videos for the Tycho material right?
Right. We had one in the works but it kind of fell apart based on scheduling issues which is sad because the tests were amazing. They looked great. The other thing is I’m a visual artist and I really don’t feel comfortable with anybody else’s vision representing the music just because I have such a specific image in my head. Every time, no matter how good it is, that I’ve been pitched or seen anything I’m like, ‘Well, that looks great but it’s not what it’s supposed to be.’ I honestly have really specific visions for each song. So I really wanted to wait until it was me having a hand in things and that’s what’s happened as we turn some of the more developed visuals into actual music videos.
You can definitely see that attention to detail in alot of your work. I remember getting the gate-fold LP for Dive and noticing all the cool little touches here and there that made it really unique and special.