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Making His Mark

22 July 2014 | 7:56 pm | Benny Doyle

From collaborations with Chris Carrabba to orchestral tracks, Tydi keeps it outside the box in new album ReDefined

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"When I was about 15 I was listening to these punk bands; I’ve got a Blink-182 tattoo on my wrist dude, I was definitely dedicated to that music because I really connected with the lyrics. And Chris Carrabba and Dashboard – his songs are just amazing, they’re so beautiful; I remember in high school making out with girls in cars to those songs.”

Global dance export Tydi is sipping on red wine in LA, explaining how a remodelled trance producer from the Sunshine Coast started cutting tracks with the poster boy of emo. “He was a fan of my music [too], so it just worked out really well,” he says of the collaboration. “We wrote the track together and bang, it’s on the new album. It was definitely one of those moments that gave me chills.”

The song is set to appear on Tyson ‘Tydi’ Illingworth’s forthcoming record ReDefined, and encapsulates the Queenslander’s borderless vision for his music.

Vocalists that cross-pollinate with multiple dance artists have been sidestepped for rock singers; full orchestral sections and string quartets have been chosen in favour of standard synth sounds. And after three years and 300 songs, Illingworth finally has an album full of “artistic integrity” by not settling for “over-simplified, dumb dance music”.

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“Every song can be broken down to a track you can play on guitar or piano and just sing along to,” he says. “My style of music has [expanded] dramatically over the years – when I first started out I was primarily making trance music, [now] I’m just doing everything. My album Hotel Room that I did last year, it was all orchestral, ambient, chill-out and acoustic, so no dance music at all. And on ReDefined it’s got every style on there, it covers everything.”

Along with other Aussie artists such as Tommy Trash, Nervo and Stafford Brothers, Tydi has made the most of dance music’s recent explosion Stateside. Hip hop and R&B now take a back seat to big room beats, and Illingworth puts the shift down to one man.

“I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of David Guetta’s music, but he was the jesus of commercial music [and helped make] dance music big on the radio. He came along, did it first and made it commercial, and now guys like me, who aren’t so much pop, get tracks on the radio all the time and do really well.”

But instead of diluting, Tydi is diversifying – respecting music as an art form rather than a commodity.

“If you write the same genre over and over it just kills you inside,” he stresses. “[Being eclectic] may not have always worked for me – branding is very important. But me personally, this isn’t just my job, it’s my passion, and if I lose my passion then I’m going to lose my job.”