Music First. It’s the most important bit. Interview with 31Ø8
31Ø8 it’s a project created by Tyler Zypreksa, a musician and producer based in London. His first and homonyms album it’s an amazing exploration about sounds and textures, and has an unforgettable songs as Silent Runnings and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, for mention only two. Recently he released an EP under the name Into the City/Aim. The Echo Music contacted Tyler to ask him several questions about his creative process and he kindly answer our questions.
Question. The Echo Music: 31Ø8 has an album and an EP… Tell us a little bit about you and about this project. Where started everything? When you discover that you will be a professional musician? Why decided to create a project called 31Ø8 and not by yourself? Where comes from the name 31Ø8?
Answer. Tyler Zypreksa: I’ve had an affinity with music as far back as memory serves. Played clarinet when I was a kid, then guitar when I was a bigger kid. I wanted to start a band and that’s what happened. I’ve only ever considered three professions – architect, animator, musician. Stuck with the latter. Made no effort with the other two. Can’t draw.
I had a solo project preceding 31Ø8 but it wasn’t working out so I started over. The moniker’s a reference to Oslo, 31. august – a film by Norwegian director Joachim Trier. Mentally I’d created an aesthetic that the music would sound futuristic and the record covers look futuristic. Using a number rather than a name fit with that. Do you know the punk band Dead Kennedys? Their original lineup included a guitarist called 6025. He was my inspiration.
Q. When you gonna create a song… where do you start?
A. Most of my songs come into being while messing around on the guitar or bass (I love playing bass!) and humming along. When I was younger I almost exclusively listened to punk music. Either 90s West Coast stuff – usually off Lookout! Records – or original British and American bands from the 70s such as Buzzcocks and Ramones. Most of what I write starts off like a simple punk song and ultimately morphs into something else.
Q. What is first? Music or lyrics?
A. Music first. It’s the most important bit. Writing music to fit with lyrics feels unnatural. I find a riff or a melody then build the song from there. The words just come to me. I’m inspired by films, news stories and my own mental state. Robert Pollard (Guided By Voices) is one of my favourite lyricists. I like surreal stuff.
Q. You are thinking about the album as a whole or song by song?
A. I work song by song then compile the ones that go well together. I’d never make something as cohesive as a concept album, or one dimensional as a Jesus And Mary Chain album. I aim to write great songs in the tradition of The Beatles. Songs that stand on their own regardless of being on an album. The best records are like that – The Velvet Underground & Nico – those songs aren’t unified, it’s just one brilliant composition after another. It could be a greatest hits or a retrospective but it’s a debut. Not that I’m trying to sound like The Beatles or Velvets but Revolver and Nico both epitomise my idea of a great album.
Q. How do you order the songs in the album?
A. I just go with what feels right. Do it quickly. Don’t give it much thought. When I submitted the songs for 31Ø8 to Trouble In Mind Records, they wanted to switch the order of one or two songs and cut one song (Aim) – I just said ‘ok!’. I’m not precious about it.
Q. How do you know when a song is finished?
A. I always have it clear in my mind how I want a song to be. I get as close to this as possible then stop. Of course I compromise. Nothing turns out exactly as envisaged. I try all my ideas before giving a song up. I keep what works and cut what doesn’t. That leaves the finished product. That’s what everyone hears. I’m very particular. That’s why I work best on my own. It’s worth it. I always get good results in the end.
Q. You write the lyrics and all the music, or you have collaborators in the creation of the music?
A. I write everything myself. Haven’t collaborated for ages. Can’t do it! Not with my own songs anyway. I have such vivid ideas – bass, guitars, drums…I can hear everything! There’s no room for manouvre. I’m more like a composer/conductor. Everything you hear on the recordings is there on purpose. There’s no accidents.
Q. After your first/second album are you thinking in your fans? In what do they expect of your music?
A. I think about the fans, but not what they expect. The most fun thing about music is dancing. It’s important to give people something they can dance to. Or sing along to. It means they can take part, they’re included, they’re not just passive listeners. I’d like to think if a 31Ø8 track came on in a club people would want to dance or writhe around on the floor. Start kissing, crying or fucking. Hell, a fight would even be good! I don’t write pedestrian music. I want fans to be moved to action. Have a good time. Or a miserable time but in a good way. 31Ø8 is music for everyone.
Q. What about the label? They have influence in the times of design of albums/songs?
A. Trouble In Mind Records are quite particular about artwork (and rightly so!) but I told them my ideas, sent some mockups of the album sleeve and they liked it. They helped get the layout right for print and off it went. I doubt TiM would try to influence my personal vision or song writing but I pay attention to their advice when they offer it.
Q. Finally, which music of our age do you think still playing in 200 years?
A. Oh, that’s tough. I’ll be honest, I don’t listen to many current artists. Most of my favourite records fall between 1963 and 1980. God knows if they’ll be here in 200 years! In my wildest dreams 31Ø8 will stand the test of time – a prerequisite for all virtual jukeboxes, a classic album choice on Emirates space tours to the moon and beyond!