We caught up with Tyvion Valentine ahead of his stunning EP release Thinkin’ About You which is set to release on Southpoint Records tomorrow. As well as discussing his return to the beloved Otherside Festival next weekend, his inspirations, thoughts on the future and more.
As one of the most unique and compelling electronic artists to come out of Dublin in recent times, Tyvion Valentine has quickly built himself a reputation as a clearly distinguishable producer and DJ through his emotional take on modern dance music. Releases on labels such as Part4, Plaza and W&O Street Tracks have attracted attention from radio stations such as BBC Radio 1 and reviews in publications such as Resident Advisor.
Alongside this, Tyvion’s tracks have found regular support from a wealth of esteemed dance music artists with productions that are so kind to the ear and filled with emotion. His impeccable ability behind the decks has earned him lucrative support slots for artists such as George FitzGerald, DJ Seinfeld, Mall Grab, Skin on Skin, salute, Effy and more over the course of his relatively short but impressive career as a DJ and music producer. With his sound constantly evolving and pulling in an even keener dance music listenership, Tyvion Valentine is a name you should be keeping a very close eye on now and in the future.
Q: Hi Ty! Would you like to talk to us about how you’re feeling ahead of your upcoming EP Thinkin’ About You which releases tomorrow on Southpoint? How did you get to know the guys behind this quality imprint?
Yes, I’d love to. To date, definitely the happiest, proudest and most excited I’ve been about a release. I feel like all 4 tracks really encompass my sound and what I’ve been trying to achieve when making music, and in the last year, it’s all kind of come together. The EP has a distinct sound and I feel is recognizable as my sound. I can’t wait for everyone to hear especially after the reaction and support that ‘Baby’ received.
It was actually through my friend James, one of the Cortese members who put me in touch with the Southpoint boys after I asked for a contact to send demos to. I’d been a big fan of Southpoint since 2020 so when I got the email back saying they were interested in the EP It was a big achievement.
As I said above, I’m so happy and excited to be releasing this project with Southpoint, both Josh & Jay are absolute legends and have given me so much time and effort over the past few months which has really given me a lot of confidence for the rest of the year. Can’t thank them enough and am really excited to work on more projects with them x
Q. What initially sparked your interest to begin producing music? How long ago was this and what DAW(s) have you used since you started?
‘I’m not exactly sure, I’ve played guitar since around 7 and used to play in ‘bands’ throughout secondary school so, I always loved playing and creating music. I was probably around 14/15 when I first started listening to electronic music and was so intrigued and curious about how certain sounds were created and made. It was also the first time I’d heard certain sounds and through finding different artists & DJs I liked I got more and more interested in how these sounds were created.
My first introduction to using a DAW was the trial version of Ableton where you could only use around 7 channels and couldn’t save or export anything. I used to make what I thought were bangers and have my laptop on basically 24/7 so I wouldn’t lose what I was working on. That was I’d say 2016, I messed around with the trial for a few months then kinda forgot about it. Then in 2019, I got Ableton 10 and that’s when I really started learning how to use it. I was on Erasmus for a year and pretty much spent every day between Ableton & YouTube trying to figure it out as much as I could and making as many songs as possible.’
Q: What does your studio setup look like?
‘My set-up is very simple, I’ve just got my laptop and Ableton, and that’s it. I had a few synths but they stressed me out and I never had the space for them so always ended up selling them after a year of not touching them.
Within Ableton, I use a lot of Ableton’s pre-sets which I’ve gotten off Ableton’s website (free) Over the last 3 years, I’ve been able to find loads of pre-sets I like and know work well together. I also use quite a lot of VST’s. Serum, Massive X and Hive would be my go too for sound design and the Pro-Q and Valhalla bundle for mixing are so so good. Then for adding cool FX to sounds and vocals, I’d use Sound Toys quite a lot. I’ve only been using VST’s the past year, Ableton is so good for making whatever sound you want and the stock plug-ins are great. For example, Ableton’s Operator for bass is all I use when making bass sounds.’
Q. In your opinion, what are all the components that make an overall, complete track?
‘Ohhhh, it’s hard to say, you kind of just know when you’ve made something that really clicks. All my favourite tracks I’ve made have been in a few hours, and then sometimes I could be working on a project for a week or so and then deleting everything or, end up copy and pasting something into a new section and making something by accident and then from there having a track made the following day, it really depends. I find having a good rough mix when starting to create a track is so important, using sounds that already complement each other so you don’t actually have to do that much mixing in the mixdown stage.
For example, once you have a solid low-end, everything else falls into place and your track will naturally sound balanced. After I have my drums and bass arranged, I’ll go and find some nice pads to have in the background. This makes it easier to find out what key you’re in. From there, it’s so much easier to write a catchy melody or arrange vocals. I find using pads helps carry the track, so you don’t get bored when trying to come up with new ideas and don’t get stuck in a loop. I’d say between a solid low-end and a catchy vocal line, you’re off to a good start. Once you’re happy with that, all other instruments/sounds/noises will naturally fall into place and your track will begin to sound more and more complete.’
Q: Which artist is your biggest inspiration when it comes to mixing and producing?
‘Definitely between George FitzGerald & Bonobo. As I said, George FitzGerald’s ‘Fading Love’ album was what inspired me to download Ableton. I love the synth sounds and textures he uses and always try to kind of copy them in my own productions.
Bonobo’s ‘North Borders’ album was also a huge inspiration; I had always loved Bonobo’s music but when I started learning more about production, I had a whole new appreciation for him. Also, artists like Jacques Greene, Eliphino, Midland, Leon Vynehall & Dauwd were the first kind of electronic artists I started listening to back in around 2015.’
Q: Can you list some artists that you would like to collaborate with and why?
‘Yes of course, recently I’ve been listening to loads of Pretty Girl, I really like her sound and production style, she always uses her vocals too which I also love. I could imagine making a really nice track together.
There are so many artists I’d love to collab with for so many different reasons but at the moment my top few would be Jasper Tygner, Mr.Sosa, Clarcq, Kassian and Pagan ��’
Q: Your b2b with Pagan at Otherside Festival last year was a standout set of the festival’s first edition. How are you feeling about playing with him this time around? Is there anything in particular that we can expect?
‘Yes, for sure, that was still my favourite gig I’ve ever played so you can imagine how buzzed I am for this year. That stage is so special and being able to play there again for twice as long is going to be twice as special. I have loads of new music I’m dying to play out so you can expect a lot of original tracks. I have a feeling Pagan does too.’
Q: Have you ever spoken about making music with Pagan? How do you think a collaboration like that might sound?
‘We actually have never spoken about it, but I’ve thought about it so many times. Both of our tracks are quite emotional and euphoric but through different styles and sounds. I would absolutely love to work on a project together, so we’ll see what happens over the next few months.’
Q: Would you like to share some of the highlights of your musical journey so far?
‘What comes to mind first would be some of the support slots I’ve been lucky enough to play. Nights opening for your favourite DJs and producers are so exciting and leave so many memories.
Opening for Skin on Skin and Slither having Mall Grab as a guest was special, it was the first time Truly and I played together and it was such a buzz. Also playing before Mall Grab in Index, it was my first time playing there and the place was packed the minute the doors opened. Then back in index, opening for George FitzGerald last month was a dream come true ever since I first listened to him. I still can’t get over what happened, his Fading Love’ Album was the reason I got the trial version of Ableton so that night was really special.
Overall, Otherside Festival’s Beneath The Trees Stage in 2022 was still the most enjoyable I’ve played. It was the first time Pagan and I played together and we had only met the week before. We both didn’t know what to expect which is one of the reasons it worked so well. There’s something about that stage that creates such a good atmosphere. Being able to share that experience with Pagan is something we won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
In October the Human Error boys kindly got me and Pagan back together for another b2b, opening
for DJ Seinfeld in Centre Point which was another huge highlight over the last year. Recently, I’ve finally been able to release music again. Having signed to Southpoint this year, label owners Jay & Josh have given me so much confidence and direction so working on this project with Southpoint has been really important to me and probably the most significant achievement to date.’
Q: Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
‘Hmmmmmm, in five years I’d ideally like to be doing this as a full-time job. Playing gigs most weekends and making music during the week. Or at least, have ticked all the small goals I have like releasing on certain labels, playing in certain clubs, and working with certain artists. Doing all of this but not in Dublin.’
Q: Following on from my last question, I understand that you’re currently based in Dublin. Are you happy here or do you think it might be time for a change? If so, why and where?
‘Recently, I really want to move to London, I have upcoming releases with some London-based labels that I’ve admired for years so especially recently, I feel like it would make so much sense. Dublin can be great, but it lacks opportunity which London doesn’t. It’s always been in the back of my mind but really in the last month or so, I’ve been thinking about it a lot more.’
Q: Do you have much planned for the rest of the year?
‘Yes yes yes, lots more exciting things to release this year. Have releases with some really exciting labels coming out. First in September, and then a separate release in November which I still can’t believe is happening. Would like to see myself on a few more festival line-ups this summer so we’ll see what happens.’
You can check out this link for information regarding Tyvion Valentine’s Thinkin’ About You EP here ahead of his release on Southpoint tomorrow.
Additionally, tickets to Otherside Festival at Rock Farm in Slane, County Meath next weekend can also be purchased here.