Sean Tyas is a Degenerate, and he’s the first to admit it. One look at the trance kingpin’s official website and various social channels reveals a chaotic world in which the Degenerate lifestyle is celebrated as the cultural glue within a global community. The international army of Degenerates, what Tyas so lovingly labels his die-hard fans, salutes the #iAmDegenerate social slogan as its unifying flag and marches in unison to the beat of the drum of Degenerate Radio, Tyas’ weekly radio show airing every Monday on Digitally Imported’s trance channel.
While the Degenerate society is first and foremost a musical movement, it’s also a state of mind and attitude, according to Tyas, aimed less at inciting panic in the streets and instead focused on revolting against the stagnant state of fabricated electronic music and its resulting culture and talking heads. It’s a stand against “The Man,” if “The Man” were a fist-pumping, hair gel-abusing DJ armed with ghost-produced tracks and better skilled at Snapchat and selfies than in the studio.
The Degenerate crusade is the universal theme felt on Tyas’ upcoming debut album, Degeneration, which sees the producer lifting influences from a handful of distinct styles, from the dark edges of psytrance to the bass flex of drum & bass and breaks. Set for release February 2016, the album is being released as a series of EPs—with the first volume out now—to help please the hungry Degenerates.
In the meantime, Sean Tyas has dropped this exclusive mix to help current and future Degenerates fight the power. Largely leaning on the heavier end of the trance spectrum, the set gives a glimpse of what to expect from Tyas this weekend at Beyond Wonderland Bay Area, where he’ll dominate Cheshire Woods on the final day of the festival.
True or false: Trance is making a comeback.
It never left, so it never needed to make a comeback.
Let’s talk about your army of Degenerates. What does it mean to be a Degenerate? Is there a manifesto?
If you look up the word “degenerate” in the dictionary, you’ll find the description pretty on the money. Degenerates are the family of misfits who come together at night to hang out and be part of a like-minded community. It’s about music, of course, but also a state of mind and an attitude.
What can you tell us about your debut album, Degeneration? How far along is it? What does it sound like? When is it out?
The album is being released initially as a series of EPs. The first one came out earlier this year. There is a second one coming out in November or December, and then a final one in January, before the release of the full album with remixes and new exclusives in February 2016. The sound is varied, but with a common vibe and attitude. It’s edgy and in-your-face, but it covers all styles I’m into, from tech 140-BPM, uplifting, dark psy, drum & bass, breaks and techno.
What do you hope to accomplish with Degeneration?
I hope to create a package of sounds that still holds its own in five years’ time, and that I can look back on with pride. I also hope it acts as a calling card for the sound and attitude of the Degenerate family.
Does Degeneration tell a story or follow a theme?
Degeneration is the sound of Degenerate.
It sounds like the Degenerate world is set in some dystopian universe full of mayhem, disorder and anarchy. Is this how you imagine the future of our world?
When you say “our world,” that raises an interesting point, because I think everybody’s world is different, and I should imagine a true Degenerate will consider their world to be very different from everyone else’s. Anarchy and a disregard for sticking to rules are certainly part of the Degenerate theme, but mostly in a musical sense, as opposed to me encouraging people to riot in the streets. It’s about being anarchic and having a disregard for the prefabricated, predictable musical waffle that dominates so much of the top end of the electronic music scene. There’s so much up there that’s just appalling, and Degenerate is an alternative path for those looking for something with more sincerity, depth, passion and variation.
As a producer primarily in trance, who’s dabbled in electro and other genres, what’s your take on the current trance heavyweights (Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, Above & Beyond) heavily lifting elements of electro and other non-trance genres into their own productions and sets? Will this allow positive or negative change within the genre and throughout the fans worldwide?
If you’d asked me who were the “current trance heavyweights,” I would never have put Tiësto or Above & Beyond into that list. I haven’t heard them play trance for maybe five or six years. Armin still does for sure, and we have a lot to thank him for [with] his ASOT radio show, which still flies the flag for proper trance. But for me, the heavyweights are Aly & Fila, Simon Patterson, John O’Callaghan, Bryan Kearney, John Askew, Astrix, Neelix, Freedom Fighters, Liquid Soul, etc.
- Sean Tyas Beyond Wonderland Bay Area 2015 Mix Track List:
ID - ID
Sean Tyas “Reach Out”
John Askew “Shine” (Sean Tyas Remix)
Liquid Soul “I See the Spirit” (Protonica Remix) (Edit)
Yahel “Soul” (Ranji & Replay Remix) (Edit)
Miroslav Vrlik & Andre Visior “Red Sky” (Edit)
ReOrder & Lee Osborne “Escape to Freedom” (Edit)
Morten Granau “Recalibrated” (Durs Remix)
Darren Porter “Deep Blue” (Edit)
Obi “Namaste” (Skylex Remix)
Alex MORPH & Heatbeat “Amistad” (Edit)
Photographer & Abstract Vision “Zero Gravity” (UCast Remix) (Edit)
Greg Downey & Bo Bruce “These Hands I Hold” (Sean Tyas Remix) (Edit) Moonsouls “Sparkles” (Cold Blue Remix) (Edit)
Pablo Anon “Andromeda” (Edit)
Sonic Species “The First & the Last” (Relativ & V-Society Remix) (Edit)
Tiësto “Suburban Train” (Tyas vs. Suckley Remash) (Edit)