Tyler Bates was nice enough to do an interview for us, some of his music under the band name “The Letter Box Project” will be released on a compilation for free download from the site in the near future.
s.o.t.r.-Who are some of your influences musically?
The Letter box project: Well, growing up I mostly listened to what was on the car radio when my mom would take me places, that and some stuff my parents listened to. It was mostly yacht rock, Phil Collins, Billy Joel, Harry Chapin, classic stuff like that. In High School, I was a band and choir geek, and I was really into experimental classical music like Steve Reich and Philip Glass. Once I got to college and began to discover music on my own, I got into Pink Floyd, Genesis, Brian Eno and David Bowie. Eventually I went into my “Indie” stage where I started listening to Animal Collective, Black Dice, of Montreal, Dan Deacon and later into smaller acts such as Neon Indian and Toro y Moi. I find that my music is a strange blend of all these influences which gives it a unique flavor, or at least that’s my take on it. I also like to compare my sound to my favorite record of all time, which is Since I Left You by The Avalanches. This was a huge influence on me all through high school and still inspires me to this day.
s.o.t.r: Describe your typical process, and what tools/instruments you use when making music?
The Letter box project: As of right now I use Logic 8 for recording and Audacity for some final mastering and what not. As far as my equpiment: Korg TR workstation, Novation Launchpad, TC Helicon Vocoder/Hard Tuner, a Fender Strat, and my dad’s old Gibson acoustic. I also use field recordings and samples from public domain sites as well ones I create myself. My songwriting process is usually kicked off when I either find a simple sound clip or sample I like or if I write a catchy hook or melody. Then I just go from there, adding samples and more instrumentation until I get a finished product. Often I’ll do 4 or 5 redubs of the same song as I work on it more. Once I export it from Logic I’ll fine tune it and EQ on Audacity. If I have any segued tracks I split them at this point as well.
s.o.t.r: Do you have any musical recommendations?
The Letter box project: One influence I mentioned earlier was Toro y Moi. I know he’s starting to get some more exposure as of lately, but if you haven’t heard a sample of him yet, definitely do so. I’ve really gotten into the new Four Tet album recently, as well as Fool’s Gold. One artist I’ve really been digging for a couple years is this singer-songwriter named Gabriel Kahane.
s.o.t.r: Do you do live performances?
The Letter box project: As of right now, no. I’m still working on getting some more equpiment to play live. I still need a mixer and an interface for my computer. I’m also trying to switch over to Ableton Live which is taking me longer to get used to then I wanted. I’m aiming to be playing by the summer hopefully.
s.o.t.r: Tell us about you most recent album
The Letter box project: My newest album “Memory Static” is a collection of songs I worked on from December to February. Its multi-genre, and changes from Chillwave to Ambient to Glitch. I don’t want to say it has a story or anything, because I didn’t write it that way, but I did organize it accordingly when I mastered it. I want the listener to create his/her own story when they listen to it. As of right now, I’m looking to release it physically sometime near or during the summer.