Tim Ten Yen
>Please introduce yourself. What qualities do you think you bring to the world of music?
Hello, my name is Tim Ten Yen. I bring a bar of gold I didn't steal to the world of music.
>What motivates you to make music?
I want to make people genuinely happy. Happy music is the absolute hardest music in the world to write. I genuinely dedicate my life to it until I die.
>For someone exploring Tim Ten Yen for the first time, what one fact about you should they know before they start?
What I do is completely sincere. I'm sorry!
>What are the advantages of performing solo? Do you notice differences in the audience responses to the lack of on-stage instrumentation?
I like to keep everything very minimal. I feel my songs should come across without any gimicks. For this reason I like having no band, as I know if it's just me singing my songs, and I get to the end of show having taken people somewhere different (and hopefully better!) than they were at the beginning, then the songs are okay. It is all about the songs.
>What inspires you musically?
I love cars going past with their windows down and their music streaming out, blending with road drills. And even if a song isn't about girls, it's normally better if they're in the picture. I don't know what it is. They're like the moon.
>Do you plan to collaborate with others?
I wouldn't necessarily plan to collaborate as such, though I would like to write songs for people.
>Any ideal collaborators?
I'd love to write a song for Bjork. I think she's an amazing and beautiful singer, but I think she needs to make a really great pop record. Her voice is so other worldly, and even more so when she is singing normally and playing it straight, which she rarely ever does. I think a lot of the time she sounds dangerously like a female version of Bono, where she goes soft.....then lets rip with a lot of histrionics in her high range. I don't think she needs to do this. Though she's an internationally successful singer and I'm only Tim Ten Yen, so I am probably wrong!
>On an TTY curated festival bill, who else would play?
Hmmm.... good question! I would say I'd decline to curate a festival like this! I like to keep my cards quite close to my chest as far as who my influences are. Not from being secretive, but because I feel such a personal attachment to music and bands/artists that I love, I don't really like them being out there in the public domain. I like hinting at stuff, but I think a festival with my name on it might give me a nervous breakdown! I'd love to support R.E.M. though, if they ever did a show with Bill Berry back behind the drums. Somewhere like the Astoria! With Simon and Garfunkel doing an unannounced 5 or 6 songs before R.E.M. came on. And compered by Gene Hackman.
>Has a musical event/musician changed your life? If so, how? Or describe a musical epiphany you have had.
I had a musical epiphany ages ago when I saw Moby live at a festival. It was back in the day when he'd not long released his punk album “Animal Rights”. Having a live punk band playing along to minidiscs of his early house tracks and him just screaming over the top just flattened so many misconceptions I had about what you have to do to play live. Although I do nothing like this, I owe him, somehow!
>What other future plans do you have for gigs and recordings?
My debut single “Girl Number One” will be out on 26th March, and there should be some live shows around that to that we're just confirming as we speak.
>What do you consider your best achievements in music?
Playing Reading Festival, having been to my friend's wedding earlier in the day. It rained half an hour before my set so I had a tent with 2000 sheltering people to play to. Thank you rain!
>What are your ambitions?
To play live on the moon, or at least in space over the Pacific Ocean.
>What does ‘success’ mean to you?
Success means writing a song, performing it and it going just the way you hoped!
>What makes you cry?
If I hurt somebody and don't mean to.
>What makes you smile?
Dogs in parks running around and disappointing their posh owners by just being dogs and doing what dogs like to do. And dogs generally running after sticks. Amazing.
>What, with regards the UK music scene, upsets you?
Any Man, Woman, Girl or Boy, looking over their shoulder rather than being themselves.
>What, with regards the UK music scene, delights you?
The “Don't turn around – just walk away!” chorus of the Long Blondes 'Femme Fatal' record that's getting a lot of air play, particularly near the end when they loop it round a few more times. I always get up turn it up and have a dance to that each time it comes on.
>What’s better, singles, LPS or downloads? Why so?
Still LPs, because you get a whole package to hold and pore over while you're listening to the record.
I love downloads for the spontaneity of being able to hear a track and then own it within a couple of minutes. I think that's superb and justifies their existence completely. And I love singles for the way you buy them and play them over and over and over again. But LPs still win.
>What are you passionate about in life, apart from music?
I absolutely love sleeping, I love to dream, I have epic dreams in far off places that are also familiar, and I get to fly. Having a good dream, getting up, going for breakfast, and seeing a beautiful girl I'd never have a cat's chance in hell with is just.....yes. It's why I can't drink much – if I drink I then don't dream properly. Which is a big shame, as I love lager beer.
>What is/was your favourite book, and why?
Bad City Blues and the follow up...which I can't remember the title of, by Tim Willocks. Completely accessible, but utterly beautiful, a bit horrible, and inspiring.
>Any other words of wisdom for VP readers?
Just give them a quick call, then it's done.