Tycho is prepared to get astronomical. For nearly a decade the musical alias of Scott Hansen has become a cult classic in the ambient electronic music scene, precisely because of the dominant consensus: he's one of the best.

The past has shown Hanson safely ensconced in something I like to call 'Tychopia' - a cache of meticulous synth and attention to detail capable of elevating your entire state of being. The appropriately named album, Awake (available March 17th) sees Hanson widening that range as he brings aboard three new band members. What the new path signifies, in and of itself, is an awakening.

When he hits his stride - like on the tracks 'Apogee', 'Montana' and 'Spectre' you simply have to hit loop. These are new sounds soaked in experimental collages teetering on the precipice of all Hanson's archived experience; "I think I spent a lot of the time between Dive and Awake trying to find my personal definition of space" he says, showing that he wants to create it rather than fill it.

Throughout the album you get this gravitational pull which he describes as an attempt to create a story that continually evolves and shifts - an album in orbit around songs that are more landscape now, than portrait. How fitting then to chat about how things have shifted back toward the center, why he doesn't listen to electro and how he feels an overarching obligation to create music... otherwise, as he puts it, he'll "perish".

You've mentioned before that 'Past is Prologue' could very well be a comment on your past ideals and 'Dive' represented the future. Is it fair to say that Awake is very much situated in the present?

That's spot-on. Awake is very much a statement about where I am at and not where I hope to be. And while Past is Prologue was purely a meditation on poignancy and nostalgia, Dive was a sort of premonitory dream state.

I feel the timing of this album is everything too because while many artists are vying for attention and trying to over edit the boundaries of sound you've developed, whispered a quick 'calm down everybody' and gone back to melody.

I think for a long time things got a little out of hand with the aggressive side of electronic music coming to the forefront. But I think that in general, things have maybe shifted a bit more back toward center. And yes melody has always played a central role in my music.

There's something to be said about seeing things in its entirety and this album is best experienced as an unadulterated whole. Are there any particular concepts you were exploring?

Wide open spaces and being present within them. I spent a lot of time driving across the United States after Dive was released and I got back in touch with my love of the west and southwestern regions. It was a time of reflection and also coming to terms with my present reality.

So, I couldn't help but go down a bit of a rabbit hole and found a lot of links to astronomy - other than a famous astronomer called Tycho, there's the song 'Apogee' which could refer to an object/moon at it's apex point - the furthest point away from earth. Was this reference intentional? Or are your feet firmly on the ground like in 'Montana' and 'Plains'.

The concept of 'Apogee' is something I've been working with for a while, the idea of a body being at its furthest point in orbit. I think I spent a lot of the time between Dive and Awake trying to find my personal definition of that space which in turn helped me define exactly what grounded was for me.

Thom Yorke, during an Atoms for Peace interview once said that, "There's no such thing to me as a good tune with no vocals." There's this very thin line between saying something and nothing all at once. How do you make sure you remain on the right side of the two?

Says the vocalist... While I personally consume mostly vocal music, I don't think it terms of vocals when I'm writing music. I hope to do more collaboration in the future with vocalists but for now I feel I'm able to express myself without them. In fact I think there is something to be said for instrumental music not leading the listener too much, allowing them to project their own ideas onto the music. In general I just try to create music that I myself am moved by.

You're the second electronic musician I've interviewed that's said you don't actually listen to electronic music - is this a conscious preference or devise? Perhaps not letting influence seep in or simply not what you were listening to when you were growing up?

In general I guess I'm just exposed to other kinds of music more often. Maybe it's that my friends generally don't listen to electronic music or maybe electronic music just isn't resonating with me at this point in my life but lately I've been getting back to Com Truise and Dauwd though.

The album comes wrapped in this gorgeous artwork that seems to just resonate with the ethereal feel of your music. I've had my theories but what are you attempting to say?

The visual aspects of the music - the covers, the visuals - are just opportunities to more fully express the ideas I'm trying to translate. I see the music and visual work as one and the same at this point - Tycho is an audio/visual project at its core.

Because you've been making music for a while now, are you aware of certain expectations when you're recording and performing? Anxiety, the ever-present daily quirk is all-encompassing sometimes. How much of what you do creatively is a form of escapism for you?

Awake was the first time I felt any real kind of expectation, but it was mostly from myself. I felt generally happy with how Dive had turned out but there were also a lot of things I would change given the chance. So Awake was sort of a challenge to make a better record and, more importantly, to find a way to more clearly express myself. Most of the anxiety of that dissipated once I started working and got lost in the process. A lot of what I do as an artist is simultaneously escapism and catharsis. There is this overarching sense of obligation that drives a lot of it - as if there's this biological imperative where I must express these ideas or perish.


Following the release of his new album Awake on March 17th via Ghostly International, for the first time in two years Tycho will return for a string of shows in Europe and London (on the 26th March at Oval Space)

  • March 26th - Oval Space, London UK
  • March 27th - Trabendo, Paris FR
  • March 28th - M4 Music Festival, Zurich CH
  • March 29th - The Tunne, Milan IT
  • March 30th - Bi Nuu, Berlin, DE