Artist Interview: Scott Hansen (Tycho)

What’s your musical origin story?

My name is Scott Hansen. I am a musician and visual artist. I started out playing around with drum machines and samplers in the late 1990’s and progressed on to keyboards and finally guitar. I didn’t think of myself as a musician; I mainly got into music just to learn how it was made. I was really intrigued by the sounds of artists like Photek and Roni Size and was curious how they created them. I didn’t touch a musical instrument until I was 19 years old, so it always felt new and exciting to me.


In the 21st century, electronic music is very computer focused. Why have you chosen to push towards analogue and why is it important to you?

I’ve always been mostly digital, lots of plugins and software instruments but an inspiring analogue front end is a huge benefit to anyone making music. For years I just used the preamps in my interface, which is totally fine, but the second I got a proper preamp with an EQ it opened up a whole new world of possibilities. The tactile control and forgiving nature of hardware lends itself to creativity, to stumbling into things you would never do intentionally. In the analogue domain there are no mistakes, you can push things as far as you want and a lot of times that approach can yield really interesting results you may not have found in the box. I appreciate the flexibility and non-destructive nature of the digital domain but it can be tedious and deliberate which can sometimes slow down the creative process.


How do you find “the sound” for an instrument or track and what inspires those decisions?

I think what a lot of people miss when comparing analogue and digital tools is the inspiration factor. How does it feel to touch and play the instrument. When I play through a great pedal it is an extension of the performance, a part of the instrument. Sure, maybe you could A/B identical settings on a piece of hardware and a software emulation, and I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference when playing it back, but would I have found the same settings fiddling with a mouse while playing as opposed to having a tactile 1:1 interface in front of me? Probably not. Does that make the outcome better? Not necessarily, but it is different and it’s up to you to decide which makes the most sense for what you’re trying to achieve. Personally, I find more inspiration when I have something tactile to work with up front.


What challenges do you face when translating your recorded work into a live performance?

It’s mainly about striking a balance between consistency, reliability, and tone. On the road you want to try to limit the variables at play each night. Every link in the chain is a potential point of failure, so you have to be very pragmatic about what you want to rely on to make the show happen. Do you want a giant speaker cabinet and some heavy tube amps, miked up and having significant variations each night depending on countless variables? Maybe that’s worth it to you. I prefer compact, solid-state devices like the Origin pedals that are stable and reliable with zero compromise when it comes to tone.


What process do you go through when preparing to take your albums on the road?

With dense music like this it’s a balancing act. So many of the sounds are the result of the post-production process, some are nearly impossible to perform in real-time. So, you have to think about how to translate that into something that the audience can connect with while staying true to the spirit of the record.


How do Origin Effects and our products fit into your work, both when recording at home and performing live?

I use Origin pedals as the front end for all my guitar and bass. Whether I’m going into a tube amp or a profiler, the RevivalDRIVE and BASSRIG always sit at the front. I’ve found they allow me to achieve the tones I’m looking for much quicker than any amp or digital device I’ve used. The flexibility is truly amazing. I typically just set my amp to a clean tone and do all the sculpting right in the pedals as they afford far more sonic breadth than the amps themselves. I’m always trying to simplify my process and have settled on a Bogner Duende as my go-to amp in the studio; having the RevivalDRIVE in front of it allows me to transform the tone considerably. For bass, I’ve always recorded DI and done the processing in the box. With the BASSRIG, it’s been really inspiring to finally have some tactile control over the tone and, sonically, it beats any of the in-the-box stuff I was doing hands down.


To find out more about Scott’s work, follow the links below: