Interviews

Aus’ quintessential mod, T Y S O N, chats to us about his new group The Crowded Penguins, and his musical evolution

I close my eyes. A melodious, Beach Boys meets the The Kinks style groove swallows my psyche whole, and tosses me straight into the depths of all that made sixties tunes so spectacular.

TYSON

T Y S O N chats about his mind melting 60s soaked tunes, the evolution of his music, and lets us in on his new band, The Crowded Penguins. 

Distinctive rhythms, organ to boot and genius riffs that lodge themselves in the brain – T Y S O N is Australia’s quintessential mod. With tracks as grand as his curly hair, he is reviving the music that broke hearts, mended souls, and got the go-go gals a grooving way on back in ‘65.

Drawing influence from obvious legends Keith Richards, T.Rex, Cream, and The Easybeats, Tyson is a self-taught guitarist, vocalist, pianist, bassist, and drummer. Though it wasn’t until he experienced The Beatles in all their glory that he decided to pick up the guitar at age 14:

“The first time I remember being really inspired was one night after a family party at my house. I was in bed and all of a sudden I heard The Beatles come on through the outside speakers, Love Me Do was playing. John’s harmonica intro hit me good, and when he, and Paul started singing, I got goose bumps!

I’d listened to them before on the radio, but the feeling I got this particular night I can’t put into words. I knew from then on what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. The next morning I pinched my mum’s Beatles 1 album and listened to that on repeat. Mainly the song Day Tripper, what a killer riff!”

Forming his first band, The Mods, in 2013, the band played gigs around their hometown in the Gold Coast, and featured in the line-up of major festivals like Cooly Rocks On and The Pan Pacific Masters Games, before splitting up in 2014.

After the split, and a brief period of Simon and Garfunkel style jamming with a bassist, Tyson decided to take the step and go solo. Releasing his debut, self-titled EP, he got airplay around Aus, UK, and US independent radio stations, yet found himself missing the company of other musicians.

“That’s what got me into all this was bands, and how different bands gel with each other in their own ways. Earlier this year I messaged my cousin who was the drummer in The Mods, and we decided to jam together again. As soon as we started playing, it felt so natural. I told Jack that we had to get back together, and he agreed.”

After auditioning bassist Stevan Bowers, the band was born. They’d found a sound, and a name as quirky as their presence.

“Rather than keep the name, I decided to start again, fresh with new members. The idea for the name came from struggling to come up with one that wasn’t already taken!  I’d always loved band names like The Byrds, The Last Shadow Puppets, and the Arctic Monkeys, and after days of not coming up with anything good, we decided to open up a page on animals.

The one that stood out to me was a group of huddled penguins. So we thought “oh okay, cool! Penguins! Looks like a penguin band! Needs another word to go with it.” So I opened up a page of descriptive words and the first word that came up was crowded! Bam, we had a name. The Crowded Penguins.”

Due to record their debut single this month, the band have been touring relentlessly all year, proving themselves against 15 other bands in the finals of the Tweed Heads Battle of the Bands, though it’s nationwide, and across the ocean that their sights are set:

“…Crowds are loving us, which is great! We would love to tour all around Australia. That’s the next big to do on our checklist. I’m very excited to finally do that. Especially to play down in Melbourne! Though my dream is to make it over in England, the soul of where all my favourite music came from. So yes the overseas ambitions are there.”

If Tyson’s solo escapades are anything to go by, The Crowded Penguins will have us feeling a tsunami of mid sixties, mind melting vibrations and booshie grooves travelling right through to our core. Just the way they want it:

“I want people to feel good when they listen. But depending on the song, be it a sad song, I hope they can connect with it on some level.”

While you’re here check out our piece on funny band names.