Ty Richards, one of the most relevant psychedelic dance-pop artists to recently emerge from Austin, Texas is about to release his debut album “Zillion” this Friday, Feb. 3. Described as “Beck Zeppelin,” Richards is a gem of an artist who even without ever releasing a full album has already accrued over 11,000 Facebook fans across the globe through the release of earlier singles. The album will be available for pre-order on iTunes and vinyl / digital download direct from the artist on Bandcamp. The first single “Spaceman” was featured on KUTX 98.9’s “Song of the Day” in Austin on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016. “Spaceman” also premiered nationally that same day via a livestream and feature with Impose Magazine along with a tell-all interview that followed at the start of 2017. The music video for “Spaceman” premiered on PureVolume in November and was directed by Ty Richards and Steven Gunter. The colorful psychedelic video was shot outside of Marfa, Texas and features Richards along with a mysterious female counterpart played by Richards’ real-life wife, Emily. Richards’ latest single off of “Zillion,” “Going Out for a Cigarette,” was released earlier this month and can be downloaded here. The video that goes with it was premiered on Dallas’ KXT 91.7’s “New Music Monday” to receive over 50,000 views on Facebook in under a week.
The Dallas album release show will be Friday, Feb. 10 at Three Links, located at 2704 Elm St., Dallas, TX 75226. The show is at 9:30 p.m. with direct support from Medicine Man and Natural Anthem. The show starts at 9:30 p.m. and tickets can be purchased here: www.tyrichards.com/tour. For more information, stay tuned at www.tyrichards.com.
“Zillion” is an album released under his own label Tremolo Records and took Richards close to two years to complete from start to finish. The album was mastered by Brian Lucey (Black Keys, Ray LaMontagne, Arcs, Spanish Gold, Dr. John, Israel Nash, Delta Spirit, Arctic Monkeys) and recorded at Tremolo Records (aka a bedroom of Ty’s house in South Austin). Richards played every instrument from the electric guitar and bass, to analog synths and drums.
“‘Zillion,’ the title of the record, alludes to the chorus of the first single ‘Spaceman’ – ‘You’re a spaceman waking up a zillion miles away’ – it seems super appropriate for the album and for my entire life as an artist,” said Richards. “I’m a different person than I was before I started this record two years ago. Before I uprooted my life and moved to Austin on a whim, I was a fresh-out-of-college white-collar slick haired ad agency yuppie slowly grinding away my soul with no end in sight. I had totally given up on my dream of being a real artist and unknowingly accepted my creative demise. I’m now a zillion miles away from who I once was. Austin changed me.”
Richards’ danceable grooves and super nostalgic psychedelic hooks have the feeling of an established artist that has been here for decades, but at only 29 years old, he has 17 years of songwriting experience and has written over 200 songs, in addition to self-directing and producing over four music videos for himself. Over the past decade, he has run in the same circles with the likes of Beau Patrick Bedford and the Texas Gentleman. In a late 2016 interview, Johnny Goudie of “How Did I Get Here?” proclaimed that Richards is “a hurricane of artistry.” Dallas’ Central Track soon followed suit and named his celebratory song “Spaceman” No. 2 on their Top 100 Songs of 2016 saying “we sincerely hope that this is the future of rock.”
He has quickly earned a reputation for his eclectic self-produced music videos. KXT 91.7 in Dallas took the song for a spin and premiered the animated video for “Going out for a Cigarette” explaining that “In a world that could definitely use more levity and dynamism, here’s one you’ll be powerless to resist.” Back in 2015, as he was just getting started he even won the ears of the mega pop titan iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel) when they invited him to perform the halftime and pregame shows at two huge peak season games for the Texas Longhorns and the Austin Aztex. In one of his very first interviews in 2015, Paul Heath of Europe’s RadioX dubbed him an “all American musical genius” after discovering his music.
His first single offers the perfect tone to launch the album though. “‘Spaceman’ encompasses the musical and spiritual exploration of the entire record,” said Richards. “I had to dig deep for the lyrics on this one. My ‘mumble track’ stream-of-consciousness writing method that I used on most of the songs had run dry by this point. The song lyrics, like most on this record, are abstract and artistic enough to be whatever you want them to be about, but to me, it’s about me waking up now and seeing the sharp contrast against my life two years ago.”
Richards explains, “I’m excited to release my debut album ‘Zillion.’ It’s like I poured all my favorite records into a blender and served it up. I created the album myself so you are getting something that is potently me. Hopefully that’s a good thing. It’s absolutely based in my ingrained roots of psychedelic rock, but it also has some serious pop and dance sensibilities that make it super approachable. This record is as clever as it is ‘dumb.’ When you listen to it you will understand what I mean. The timing is perfect though because it has a sense of hilarity that is much needed right now in this cultural climate. I feel more like I’m releasing a massive art installation than just a bunch of 99-cent songs, and I hope it’s received that way.”
He goes on to explain, “I really believe this music is relevant in our time. I’m covering everything from sci-fi, super heroes and sexuality all the way to impossible dreams and crushing regrets. Lyrically, I took a very abstract approach. But despite that fact, I get more concrete meaning from the songs on ‘Zillion’ than my entire 18 years of songwriting combined. This album was heavily influenced by guys like Prince, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem and Beck. And everything I make is shaped by my thick lens of rock ‘n’ roll shaped by the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and Frank Zappa.”
He boldly proclaims, “The album is strong, start to finish. Each song really holds its own. I poured some blood and sweat into the whole thing. It’s not one of those albums that you skip over to the 2 songs that don’t suck. You should just hit play and go on the journey. I did release a few singles, but ‘Zillion’ really talks as a complete body of work. This is how it was intended to be heard. That being said, I would like to revive the ‘album’ as an institution again. Albums in my opinion are the best way to be immersed in music and I hope they become popular again. This is the first of a long string of albums I plan to release. It’s taken me a while to get here, but I intend to keep this train rolling until I’m pushing up daisies.”
To say that Richards is a gearhead and an “uber creative” is an understatement. He not only creates music but is also an illustrator, graphic designer and a creative director. “For this record I found a few very old amps,” said Richards. “The first was a 1948 Harmony 200A Valco amp with a bad speaker. I liked the sound so much that I bought it as-is. It’s all over songs like “She Can Count the Days.” Later on, I found two 1965 Supro amps, one of which is allegedly the model Jimmy Page used on ‘Led Zeppelin I’ and ‘Led Zeppelin II.'”
As for the record, he is the band. Similar to artists like Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, Beck, Prince, Stevie Wonder and more recently Kevin Parker of Tame Impala, he wrote, performed, recorded, produced and mixed this record. “That being said, I do have some of the best players in the country playing on my stuff live – all badasses that do more than justice to the music,” Richards explains. With his debut album “Zillion” in hand, Ty Richards is ready to up the ante. He’s building his career as a truly “independent” artist, and the stage is set for a very prolific future.
“ZILLION” LP TRACKS