David Tyo’s journey to become a music producer started at age 11 with a single song. “Bohemian Rhapsody” was experiencing a revival of sorts thanks to a scene in Wayne’s where Mike Myers and Dana Carvey mime the Queen classic in their car headbanging, playing air guitar and living the songs epic cliffs and valleys. 

He was already fascinated with singing and had started playing guitar a year earlier but “Bohemian Rhapsody” gave him a drive. He heard something magical and he wanted to know how to capture that magic. 

”When my sister played me that song, it was a turning point for me. Like a very defined landmark turning point where I just fell in love with the idea of producing. I didn’t know what that meant or what that was, but I knew this recording existed, I had no idea how that happened. And that just intrigued me so much that I just kinda had to figure that out,” says Tyo. 

Tyo, now 40, made a career of working behind the boards to make artists sound great. His composition have been featured on MTV, The NFL, FOX and A&E. He also chairs the Recording Arts Department at Albany’s New School where he works the area’s upcoming musical talent and he’s a Grammy voter. 

Out of the shadows
That resume is why it’s surprising that Tyo has only started focusing on recording and releasing his own music this year. On Sept. 2nd he released his folk single “Long Way Home.” Written about his friend’s wife’s battle with cancer the composition allowed Tyo to write for himself and without the restrictions of the demands of a television show.

In November, Tyo released “Never Ebb, but Flow” and as with “Long Way Home” he’s promoting the single with production and mixing in mind. The multitracks for the song are available on Tyo’s site and he’s offering a $200 prize for the best remix of the song

A Challenge

Promoting the new song contest firstly among the 250 or so people who submitted mixes for “Long Way Home” has lead to a stout response. “I just reached out to them directly because, you know, they emailed me their submission. I’ve got so many pieces of feedback where they say ‘You know, thank you for putting high-level productions out there for us to practice on. Even if I don’t win, this is great.’ That’s really encouraging to me.”

Hearing new interpretations of his music also gives Tyo inspiration and insight into techniques he might want to consider on future recordings. “I got one mix from this kid in Brazil and honestly I like his mix better than mine.” 

For Tyo, the business of music and production is clearly about personal relationships, give and take and being there to give someone else a hand up. 

Learning the Ropes

His first break came by recording comedy sketches with a friend and sending them in to Waking Up with the Wolf  on PYX106. Wolf liked what he heard and Tyo and his friend spent about three years producing sketches for the show. “We kind of became his guys. Whenever he needed anything made, he’d just call us up and we would make it. I didn’t really realize it, but I was really cutting my teeth as an engineer because we had to recreate the songs and hopefully make them sound just like the original.That kind of daily practice for years helped me out from an engineering perspective.” 

New Frontiers

Tyo continues to keep busy by producing a wide variety of artists–from K-Pop to the latest album by Albany’s stoner rock bruisers Black Electric. 

The experience of working on a gritty rock album gave Tyo a different perspective. “I needed to rewind and remind myself while working with Black Electric that not everything needs to be perfect. Mike (Vitali) is restless and his attitude is like ‘let’s make some noise and let’s capture it.’ So, I shouldn’t say this, but there were a few times when I’d hear something slightly out of tune and I realized ‘Leave it. It’s about the energy.”

Tyo says that he has no plans to release a full album at the moment and that he’s using each song as a testing ground, a way to “flex” his different chops. If I were to “Long Way Home” and “Never Ebb but Flow” on the same album it might be weird. But that is also something  I’m excited about. Being able to start trying out different things, to dabble in an array of sounds. So I’m really not looking to put all this time aside to work on one album.”