Tyler Matthews, who also goes by the creative name Tyler Digital, seems to be one of the types who is always looking to improve his craft, whether that craft be visual or audio production. His latest outing, an audio/visual short-film for his upcoming release Exit 8, which you can watch here, is proof of Matthews’ willingness to take creative risks. Now, with Exit 8 set for release on August 26th, Tyler Digital has released his latest single, “Night Talks.”
While listening to the single you’re going to hear a range of influences and experience various realms of sensory impulses. There’s something to the track that feels like you’ve reached midnight, yet the night keeps getting cloudier and darker. But at the same time, you’re hypnotized and want nothing more than to be engaged with your surroundings. Where others may eventually choose a path that aligns better with one or the other, Tyler Digital seems to thrive in this juxtaposition.
And it was this that led us to want to talk to the producer. Matthews explained some about how he handles the different worlds he balances. He also spoke with us about the freedom with each he operates, the potential for a full-length feature, and the tracks he can’t wait for you to hear on the upcoming release.
Your sounds have a very cinematic atmosphere to them. Would you consider cinema as influential on your work as your musical influences? I know you do video as well, so just wondering about the overlap.
Absolutely, 100% — Ever since I can remember, a song would stick with me if paired with something cool: movies, commercials, experiences.
On a similar note, are you ever working on the music and production side and think it would crossover into the video realm as well?
That's a big part of what I do at the moment. Lately I've found myself shooting more video just to see how it looks with a track I might have made the day before.
Speaking of cinematic, was the original intention of Exit 8 to make it into a visual album, or did it morph into that throughout the creation?
Morphin' Time. My role was initially to make the music for a short film. But as the project progressed, I had opportunities to contribute on the visual side stylistically. I appreciate the team giving me a chance to do that – it allowed me to interweave music and visuals down to the frame. And during the process we recognized that the nature of the film had evolved; and packaging this together as a visual album is what made the most sense.
Other than Stretch Arm Strong and Hootie & the Blowfish, Columbia, SC isn’t known for producing too many artists. Some people might think that means it’s lacking a scene, but to me it means there’s less pressure to fit into a particular sound or box. Do you feel like there’s a little more freedom to do what you want because of that?
Oh yeah – freedom. The music scene in Columbia draws from many styles. Along with Post-Echo I'm part of a some cool arts groups: Scenario Collective and Moas Collective; the range of influences is wide – (UK Grime?). And most of us retired from Hootie back in middle school. Personally I'm a big Toro y Moi fan, and they inspire me. A bunch of us went to school with those guys – it would also be difficult for me to put their style in a particular sound or box. I think that exploring different types of genres is something we'll see more of from artists everywhere. For creators, the access and temptation is just too great these days.
There’s something about “Night Talks” that is accessibly danceable yet slightly frightening in an “am I being chased?” kind of way. Is there a particular way you create that element? Or do you have a particular way in which a track’s mood is created?
The film visuals do a lot of that for me from an inspiration standpoint. To create elements of suspense I tap into my background/love for classical music and apply the same principles of music theory. Tension and release, etc. Usually though I just play by ear until I find the specific sound I want.
Right now there’s a bit of revivalism with classic 80s thematic suspense, especially in TV and movies. How do you tap into those influences without going purely nostalgic though? That has to be a fine line to walk, but you’re giving these sounds a fresh take.
I'm on Episode 3 of Stranger Things, and I dig it. When I draw from one influence, then I'm usually drawing from several others without one becoming too dominant. Like if I go a hundred on writing the next ultra-dramatic Richard Wagner epic, then I may channel DeadMau5, Trent Reznor, Arcade Fire, Hans Zimmer, and Danny Elfman at the same time.
Are there any tracks on Exit 8 that you’re particularly excited about that we haven’t heard yet?
Yes! "Crawl Out" - Could someone get this to a film director in L.A. for me? Just one listen. It has gusto. "Night Talks" - Hoping it inspires an 80's-themed workout video before I die. "Kids" - 1950's/Hitchcock/Leave it to Beaver in the middle of a dark, suspenseful story. It's disorienting.
Now that you’ve done the visual album, and you work in video and production, are you possibly eyeing a potential full-length feature by chance?
Actually, I'm developing a 10-15 minute proof of concept film as a precursor to request funding for a full-length feature. I've made about 35 minutes of music for it already. The script and story-outline look ambitious sitting in Google Drive.
Finally, after the release, what are your plans for the LP? Visual performances, mini-tours, anything of the like?
We just started submitting Exit 8 to film festivals, and we're happy for people to see it. I'm doing House shows and DJ sets in Columbia until the Trumpocalypse is complete. And I'm busy working in the lab on question #8.