While music has always had the capacity to change a persons life in an idealistic sense, it’s always refreshing to see an artist using it as impetus to make a positive, tangible difference in the world. And Australian electronic music export, Tyson ‘tyDi’ Illingworth is doing just that. Having been signed to trance juggernaut Armada from the age of 21, it was quite clear early on in his career he was going places fast. Fast forward to today, he has four successful albums under his belt, has held a position in the DJMag Top 100 four years in a row and is continuing dominating America.
His latest project, ‘The Promise‘, is an EP of entirely new material, produced without any financial backing from a record label and with all proceeds going to the charity Pencils of Promise; an organisation that builds schools and increases educational opportunities in developing countries. Ahead of his return to Australia, we chat to tyDi and delve into what inspired the album, what this means to his sound and what he hopes will be achieved by it.
Congratulations on turning music into a true gift. What was your inspiration behind ‘The Promise’, and what made you choose ‘Pencils of Promise’ out of all the other charities out there?
Thank you! The inspiration came to me when I was in Hong Kong airport. I was looking back on my work for the year and had just finished my ‘ReDefined’ album which was out and on the charts. I thought to myself ‘That album took three years. I wonder if I could do something crazy in time for Christmas’. From there I thought about making it even more special – like a charity project So I announced it an hour later on Facebook which literally forced me to see it through. I gave myself three weeks to complete a full EP for charity. It was very hectic but so worth it.
What do you hope will come of it?
I hope I reach my goal of raising $10,000 to help children in developing countries. I want to see music change people’s lives.
What sound would you say is in The Promise?
It’s a lot more ‘trance’ than my last work, it’s something my early fans will like – more inspired by what I was doing in 2008 and very melodic.
Every album you’ve put out has a clear musical evolution: what direction will the tyDi sound take next and what would you say is the current tyDi signature sound?
It’s probably too early to tell. I’ve started a few new records, so far they are very musical, very ‘thought out’. They’re all about the concept and the storyline. But music that makes you feel something – it brings out emotion.
You’re known for your love of music toys. What are you playing with and what music is inspiring you at the moment?
I’m making new sounds for Massive and Spire. I’m also really into this track called Hanging Tree with Jennifer Lawrence. It’s got me thinking about writing something like that.
2014 was a big year for you with your move to and subsequent base in Los Angeles, significant tours around the States, Europe and other parts of the world following the release of the 2013 album ‘Hotel Rooms’ from the Armada label capped off by the quick release of this EP The Promise. It’s been a massive year. What are your reflections on the year that was?
I’ve finally released the biggest project of my life: ReDefined.
From the archives: This is from our original site, MyCityLife, posted back on 16 January 2015