Tyrone Wells’ “Where Me Meet” - Interview

2012 so far has been a great year for music and we just passed the one quarter mark. One of my favorite albums thus far is Tryone Wells. The only reason I even agreed to listen to his album was because one of my contacts represented a metal band I really wanted to check out/interview, but he also had Tyrone Wells and asked me to give it a listen and I fell in love. It is a great singer songwriter album that takes it to another level, almost a epic rock level. You’ll have to hear it for yourself, but I really dug the album. I got the chance to interview Tyrone. You can read it below and you can also listen to the interview right here.

Zoiks!: Hey Tyrone how are you?

Tyrone Wells: I’m well Bob thank you. How are you?

Z!: Pretty good. Thank you for taking the time to do this.

TW: Absolutely.

Z!: How would you describe this album in comparison with your previous three?

TW: I tried to make a record that had some space in it. When I say space I guess I mean music that doesn’t demand your attention all the time, like right in your face. There are some things that are a little more subtle and easy to listen to. Instead of always going for like the gigantic chorus where I’m yelling out or something you know? Something that’s sort of a nice, a really good listen hopefully. That’s what I went for. And then I would say I tried to kind of meet in the middle of epic lush production and subtle and sparse production because I find that often I’m in the mood for things that are production wise are just sparser and feel more intimate and not always these big moments so I tried to do both because I really like both. So that was an attempt, and I felt like the title “where we meet” although that’s not why it’s called where we meet, it’s kind of nice that for me it was kind of a meeting in the middle of kind of sparse intimate recording and then big production.

Z!: I really liked it a lot. What were some of your influences on the album?

TW: It’s far and wide. I’m kind of like you. I like I guess I’m not really, I’m a rock metal guy, but I like a lot of music so I couldn’t frankly name any one influence it’s just, it’s all over the map really.

Z!: This is your first real release since leaving a major label. Is that refreshing or is it a little bit more nerve wracking?

TW: Totally refreshing. You know I put out two records before I ever signed a deal, and then my label was really kind of hands off in a nice way. It wasn’t like they said you have to do this or you have to do that, but what I didn’t like about being on a label is you can’t dictate your own timeline so there’s a lot of waiting around and they’re making their budgets and focusing on whatever it is that’s really hot at that moment in time and so as an artist it’s not a good feeling at all sometimes when it comes to making your art and releasing it to people that would want to hear it. That’s what important to me not oh I need to sell a million records so. Of course it’d be nice to sell a million records, but for me that’s not what it’s ultimately about, it’s about making this art that I have to make and I want to release it.

Z!: Could you feel that pressure of success when you were recording an album?

TW: OH absolutely.

Z!: How do you deal with the business side?

TW: Um. You know I think sometimes you just tend to be a little bit stressed out or curious thinking about it you have a little bit of anxiety from time to time. But if I’m honest I have the same, it’s not as intensified cuz there’s not people that are always analyzing every which way, not like there is with a label, but I put the same pressure on myself to succeed to a certain degree as well, and I’m hopeful that when people hear the music that they’ll like it obviously. So I think it reminds me of an article I read once I think it was in Rolling Stones, I’m not sure, but the guitarist from Radiohead was having trouble sleeping and was really worried about how people would respond their record before it was released and I thought that was so hilarious because you know this is Radiohead sells out arenas everywhere and stadiums and they’re still stressed out, I don’t know if all of them are, but at least one guy in the band was really anxious about that. So I just thought that’s funny no matter if you’re playing small venues or arenas you can’t get rid of that artist anxiety. It’s funny.

Z!: How would you describe your song writing process? Can you write anytime or do you have to be in a certain mood?

TW: I’m someone that can more write anytime. That doesn’t mean it’s gonna be good all the time obviously, but I’m not like a lightning strikes writer where all of a sudden I’m just like oh my gosh I just got this super amazing idea, I’m more someone that sits down and works at writing, and not to say that I’m not inspired sometimes because I definitely am, but yeah it’s more of a, it’s almost like a discipline for me, but it’s also something that I love so it doesn’t feel like a discipline, but I have to you know put it on the calendar like sit down and write today. Write on Tuesday.

Z!: I think everybody in some fashion listens to some sort of music. Was there a time in your life where you realized that music was something you wanted to play beyond just listening to that stands out?

TW: There was in junior high, all the way back then, I hoped, I remember thinking man if I had to do a job I’d love to do music, but I also was aware that, or I didn’t know anybody that was able to do that you know? I’d never met someone that was a musician for a living and so I had felt like it was just farfetched, and then I remember after I graduated from high school I was in a high school band and a year after high school I was still playing in this band, and I talked to my dad, and my mom and dad had moved down to California from Washington State, and I remember my dad saying well you should probably go to school, to college, because I really don’t think that the band that you’re in is going to be your career. And I remember at the time that I felt like it was a lack of confidence in my ability for him to say that, but I also remember that it was like kind of well I’m gonna have to prove him wrong type of thing too. But I also want to say that’s like the only time I remember hearing him say anything remotely critical of my career in music, he’s pretty supportive, and stoked that I’ve been able to do it, but that was kind of like a challenge to me when he said that.

Z!: Who was the first band or artist you saw live and how did that experience affect you?

TW: Man I’m thinking back.

Z!: Or is there a favorite that stands back above anybody else?

TW: You know, recently I guess the stuff that I’ve seen it’s funny the last thing you want to do when you play a show every other night is go to a show, but you know I saw the Swell Season, I don’t know if you’ve heard of them, but they had a movie called Once that was a great movie and these two song writers fall in love and there’s this great music all throughout the movie, and when you saw them here as they were coming through and played at the xx, and that was like just a pin drop silence type of show that just had you on the edge of your seat. It was just amazing, beautiful. Same thing with Ray Lamontagne and his show. I was really really inspired.

Z!: What do you prefer? Do you prefer the live performance or do you prefer writing and creating?

TW: I would probably say 60% writing and creating, 40% live. That’s how I am. I tilt kind of more towards the creative process in terms of my love, but I do love to perform.

Z!: What is the greatest musical achievement so far in your opinion?

TW: Maybe signing a major deal, but it’s a hard question. I think signing a major record label is like winning a lottery except you do something to deserve it, you don’t just buy a ticket, but it’s just a rare thing. I think that was a big accomplishment, but then once I was in it I realized it wasn’t all that I thought it was going to be so I don’t know if that’s the best answer for that question. Maybe a better answer for me is just that I’ve been able to make a living for the last I don’t know how many years now strictly just making music so I’m doing what I love and I’m just so grateful for that.

Z!: What advice would you have for those young artist just hoping to pursue their dreams and do what they love?

TW: No one is going to make your career for you with the exception of an American Idol or something like that. By and large the only way you’ll be able to make music your job is by working hard and emphasis on working hard. It’s so important that you’re writing, recording, playing live, and if that’s not working, people aren’t responding to what you do you have to go back to the drawing board until you’re doing something that people respond to. I see a lot of people that work really hard at promoting themselves and I think that a lot of times if you come out with some music and you work really hard at promoting it, a lot of times it’s like putting the cart before the horse, what you need to do is you need to make sure that the music is so good that it promotes itself. Because people will become your promotion team once they hear it and they love it. They’ll share it with other people so you don’t have to worry so much about promote, promote, promote. You know?

Z!: Thanks so much.

TW: Thank you for listening to it man. I can’t tell you how stoked I am that you liked it when it’s not typically your style.


Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at bob@zoiksonline.com.

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