Home Interviews Feature: Alexis Tyrel [Interview]

Feature: Alexis Tyrel [Interview]

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Alexis Tyrel has been a fixture of the electronic underground for over two decades. Originally releasing and touring under his given name of Gideon, the Lessismore label boss adopted the Alexis Tyrel moniker upon returning to the scene after a seven year hiatus. His fresh, cross pollinated style has reached a wide spectrum of music fans while also being remixed by a long list of elite talent, most notably Gui Boratto, Funk D’Void and Hernan Cattaneo. Also a well travelled DJ, Alexis has showcased his skills at some of the world’s most prestigious venues including Ostgut/Berghain, Tresor, Awakening and Arma17. Now on the cusp of a new EP for Lessismore we sit down with him for an exclusive interview.

Hello Alexis, I hope you’re having a good day and thanks for joining us, what are your plans for this week?

Thanks, for having me one part of Alexis Tyrel.  Doing studio work and trying to avoid the cold weather.

I’ve read that you began your DJ career playing hardcore so how did that passion evolve into techno and house and where do some of your early influences lie?

That is true when I was 10 years old I heard hardcore and I was immediately in love with this music. Going more deep into this music, I discovered that I was more into old school, which was really fast played or fast paced techno. So it was natural that techno emerged for my love of hardcore. My house vibe got triggered getting older and going to Ibiza with my sister, which opened me up to a more uplifting vibe and a less black and white vision on life. But my earliest influence in electronic music lies in ABBA which was the first electronic music I played as a very young boy digging through my parent’s record collection.

Name a hardcore record you still love today?

Negative Burn – Gates Of Hell

What music from your youth had the biggest effect on where you are today? Are there certain tracks or albums which profoundly influenced you?

I think my influenced are like a garbage bag, there is so much trash in it. It is really hard to define what is a big influence but if I should pick something, I really like “I feel Love” because to me it is somewhere between ABBA and techno.

Tell us about the Netherlands, have you lived there your whole life? and how has living there shaped your sound and career?

Yes, I have lived my whole life in The Netherlands. For me the 90’s shaped my mind set a lot. It was a period in The Netherlands where I was old enough to go clubbing I started clubbing at 13 years old but at that time it was possible I went by bike and we had to ride 45 minutes to the club somewhere is a outside village. At that age going to a city club was unthinkable but we discovered that the rules in a village we more open. The owner only wanted to make money and did not really care about your age. In that club there were 3 rooms, in the basement there was a 50 people room where the played hardcore. The room was packed with all semi criminals but me and my friend felt at home. Going there one night it rained me and my friend took shelter at a gas station and decided we were gonna dj.

Two years later I found a more obscure place in an other village which because my ultimate hang out they off course they placed hardcore, there was a lot of drugs, lot of fights, it was a club with a bad reputation but I went there every week, I really loved the obscure vibe. Around that time, I also started making music. But till this day I never released a hardcore record.

One year me and some friends started with a string of parties were people were taking by bus to an unknown location outside of the city. At that time I had changed music style and it was a combination of old school hardcore, techno and trance that was played at the parties. These parties were legendary because it was something unique in the region. But because of the owner of the venue wanted to exploit us, I pulled the plug and move to different projects.

During that time, I was also visiting a lot of big raves in The Netherlands, Belgium and German clubs and the love parade. It was a great time in my life.

After that period, I got in to contact with people who were doing illegal raves in Eindhoven the city i was living in. A guy called Frank who was the guy giving these parties saw something in me and let me play. This was really something great and I fell in love with this open minded way of life.

This led to more focus on techno. I was making some stranger demo CD’s where I would make short tracks in Fasttracker and make it into a dj-mix of more that 30 tracks I produced myself. The concept was somewhat similar to Closed To The Edit of Richie Hawtin but with 100% own tracks. This got me playing main cultural venue in Eindhoven. But I dj-ed as the technology was not there to perform this live.

I think these events got me started and shaped my first steps as an artist.

If you had to pick one of your tracks which had the biggest impact on your career what would that be and why? I would guess Rebecca Los would be up near the top of the list?

It can be seen as this but I had a bigger career playing under my techno alias Gideon than under Alexis Tyrel. I think for Alexis Tyrel the project has not really started yet. Yeah some releases have been done but like so many things I am working on it had to find its right form. With the collaboration with my sibling, I think it could be finally be the form I have been searching for.

You took a seven year break at one stretch in your career, tell us about why you stepped away and what brought you back?

I am an active guy who is pushing himself to the edge. Between  2005 and 2008 I played Ostgut/Berghain, Tresor, Awakening, Arma17, Flex and my music was played by Robert Hood, Ben Klock, Richie Hawtin, Luciano. I was in a relationship at that time and I was about to finish my school which I kept doing while djing internationally. I was time for something else, this decision took a bit longer to implement but around 2010/2011 I stopped. I started developing a corporate career. I think this was a process i had to go through and learn certain things. But in that period I broke up with my girlfriend and fell into a whole. Starting music again for me was a logical way to fill that whole. In that time, I started with my sibling who has always be a silent influence devolving the idea of working more together. But we are very different so although the decision was made doing something together it also ended again because of our different personalities. This set back was a slap in the face but what could I do, I went on alone. But although it to a while behind the scene we have been working together again and in 2019 we hope to release a lot of projects together.

And when you returned is that when your Alexis Tyrel moniker was born?

The Alexis Tyrel moniker always was there in the background but I think when I knew I was going go back in to music I had really changed. I used to be very underground minded but when I returned I was somewhat different. Also the techno genre really bored, to me it had become so narrow minded and formatted instead of the original unformatted idea. My tasted had changed, going to Ibiza with my sister and seeing Hernan Cattaneo play at Woodstock in Holland gave direction to the Alexis Tyrel project.

You’ve played at some legendary venues and events, Ostgut/Berghain, Tresor and Awakenings all come to mind. Is there one club or festival which holds the strongest memories for you?

There are some memories coming to mind. When playing the Ostgut/Berghain we did a Lessismore label there with Me, MBC and Estroe. Doing the sound check before the club opened and a friend of mine who was also with us, came up to me and said, you have to see this. He took me to the dark room area and what I saw was a chord hanging, some rubber gloves hanging over it an table with a pot of Vaseline and a boxes of tissues beside it. I thought ok, I should not come here tonight.

Your productions resonate on different levels, compositionally they are compelling to listen to but the design is also quite pristine, is it difficult finding a balance between the two? And what do you want your music to convey to the listener?

Thanks for the compliment! Yesterday someone asked me if I am a nerd. I thought it depends on how you look at it. I thought is that the same as freak. My sister who is involved in some way or the other, keeps me balance in the Alexis Tyrel project and other projects as well. I am someone who wants to push it, so it is good to have someone besides you to hold you back. So I hope that the Alexis Tyrel productions are a combination of feelings and ideas balanced into one.

You have an amazing EP out soon on your own Lessismore imprint, tell us how this project came together, is there a distinct connection between the two tracks?

Thank you! Connection though nonlinear connection is part of the core of the label. I think Lessismore is a difficult label for people to follow but we try to make it as easy as possible with in the context. Lessismore is based on differences and I can tell you differences are not easy to manage. The concept behind the One Eye On The Past One On The Future will be a serie of releases which will take old tracks that have or have not been released and bring them back to life. It is sort of a correction a previous feeling and has a bit of a fuck you to someone who said to me in the past, if it did not work then it will not work in the future. I think this was so negative and till this day I hate that thought so, let’s see if you are right mister know it all:)

When you finish a track or even an EP what is the thinking process behind deciding if you send them somewhere or release them on your own label?

This is an endless discussion between me and my sister. And it is hard to define what is the deciding factor. I think some tracks are send out to other labels, some are signed and some are not. But when releasing on Lessismore is has to fit a certain concept and it is not only about the music but also about pushing an idea across.

Why did Lessismore feel like the right home for this project?

To me Lessismore has more functions, to me one function is a sort of library of sounds. And therefore obviously the Alexis Tyrel sound. The tracks are something that to me should be in the library collection because Rebecca Loos was signed to Bonzai, Kim Kardashian filled her spot in the archive. Plus, the sound of Rebecca Loos of the original version was feeling dated, frequency and mix wise. So you can see it also as an update on that track.

Walk us through the production process on one of the tracks, whichever you like.

Oke, this will be the upcoming One Eye On The Past On Eye On The Future (Vol 3) with a Hernan Cattaneo Remix. The track is called New Religion and this has been release first in 2009 on vinyl on a one-time label with a unknown artist. On that vinyl there are the two first versions of the track. Before the long break the track was released on the album New Tradition in a new and other version. When doing the re-incarnation of Lessismore the track was released again. And now it is gonna be released again in 2019 but the final version probably or not. Maybe this story comes across a bit strange but it is true and many productions go like this. Some end up in the public domain and some just in the studio and some production versions float between the dj-set that are played. Thinks are always on the move and in process and sometime decision are made to release something but sometime to early. But most of the work stays in the fridge. Most things have long roads of being released as on the chaos of the process.

Is that a typical process for you or is every track a different journey in terms of the creative process?

The process is like a modular synth that you see is very popular now. It is a in the moment kind of process and a very in-efficient musical friends are telling me. But my sister agrees on it. She knows that a track most of the time starts with something small but takes time to make it right. And something you will make mistakes and let the time factor, your own push or in ability to accept that it is not finished to prematurely release something. I think some tracks take about 10 Gbit of that will finally be rendered into a final product of a wave of 70 Mb. I think this reflects some of the projects we are doing.

Tell us a bit more about Lessismore, when and why did you start it, what is the vision you have for it and what should people take from the label’s name?

Lessismore was founded in 2003, it should be a reflection of how the original techno was created in our minds by people who had no big amounts of money to invest in equipment but people who made the best of what they had. That is one of the roots of Lessismore combined with the philosophies that different people / artist are welcome and do not have to make music that sound the same as what people are already doing on Lessismore, you can be different! If we like it we will release it

What advice would have for an artist hoping to sign their music to the label? Both in terms of presentation and stylistically, what are you looking for from a new artist?

There are no guidelines as to what we like, as there are more people in the Lessismore background who can push something forward. But most important is getting it listened to. Lessismore is not an oiled machine who works in a corporate way so making connection with people and then exchanging music to me is the best way.

What are the biggest challenges you face as an artist in the industry right now?

I have survived almost 3 decades under different project and I like challenges. Working with my sister in the studio and preparing her to dj it takes time to master stuff but the Quote below says, so much on the industry today

“DJMag Top 100 DJs poll, Martin Garrix, has promised to master the art of beatmatching after being named as the world’s greatest DJ.”

Where can fans hear you in the coming months and what new music can we expect in 2019, anything you can share with us?

Checking the soundcloud/Alexistyrel will keep you update on music before it hits the stores. Sometimes music can be on soundcloud for a year and even free downloadable before the official release. At this moment it is winter I we do not like the cold. We are finishing up the Albums “Lost City Of Aunora” and “From Cybertron With Love” and “Values Of Native Society” and parallel working on the music of a serie. So hopeful March 2019 you will hear us play somewhere.

‘Imagine This Picture That’ is out now on Lessismore, you can purchase the release here: https://bit.ly/2CwGxl3

Release Promo: http://releasepromo.com

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