Tryezz is a Modern Funk producer who hails from the musically unassuming city of Chattanooga, Tennessee. He’s a ten year veteran of the music game whose recognizable, synth-heavy sound is spread across a growing number of dope, independent releases. Apart from several self-released projects he also has two official label releases under his belt, including 2012’s “Night Driven” on successful Los Angeles label Soulection.
Tryezz’s deep, soulful grooves have been featured here on the site a few times, so it was only natural that we reached out to him to hear more about his background, artistic vision and plans for the future. A thoughtful and articulate individual, Tryezz spoke to us about the current resurgence of funk music, the music scene in Tennessee and the blessings and challenges of independent artistry.
Can you give a short introduction of yourself?
Yes yess. My name is Jonathan, a.k.a Tryezz. Spreading Wisdom and Vitality with the Arts and the Groove. Hailing from the Scenic City: Chattanooga Tennessee.
Always a Student.
How did you get started making music? I got into playing the keys when I was real young. My cousin had an old Casio SK-1 with missing keys that got handed down. And I was fascinated with the sounds it could produce. That’s what started it all. It was an instant connection, and it was something that was meant to happen. It was in my blood…a curious and creative soul at the core. Over the years, the passion grew, and in 2004, I chose to make music/arts my career path officially.
What’s the music scene like in Tennessee? Well, where I live, it’s very interesting. It’s somewhat quiet at the moment in some ways.
But at the same time, there are some underground and new sounds emerging. There was a huge electronic music scene at one point. Real big. You had events like, “The Boombox” and “Bangerz Ball/Nightmoves” that brought DnB, Electro, House, Dubstep, etc.
At the same time, there was also other emerging scenes popping up during that time.
DJ K7, a local DJ now located in NY, brought global/funk/soul/Latin sounds that picked up some good momentum. You also had collective DJs played that classic house. Nowadays, it still goes on, but it’s more dispersed. And newer sounds are being introduced. Life & Culture, a local collective, is pushing future beats. And there’s also the local hip-hop and rock scenes that has always been going on. So it’s interesting at the moment.
What influences your music? Anything and everything. An event, people, stories, different genres, etc.
But mainly, scenery plays a big influence. A huge influence. Different environments and settings either in my imagination and dreams, and/or in reality.Often times both. =)
How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it?
I would describe it as Scenic Grooves: Heavy, smooth and rejuvenating groove-based tunes that you can *see and experience* as well as hear.
What equipment do you use when making music? Not too much at all to be honest:
-A Laptop with Windows xP on it
-M-Audio Oxygen Keyboard
-A Behringer Xenyx 802 Desktop Mixer
Sometimes I might use a mic to record addon rhythms/vocals. Also an electric guitar every now and then.
Any preferred weapon(s) of choice when it comes to production?
The main Weapons:
-MuLab: A beat sequencer program on which all the tunes are made. A highly flexible and versatile program.
-Cool Edit Pro 2: Audio Multiwave Editor. Even though it’s old…it still gets the job done real nice. These are the 2 core programs used to lay down the grooves.
There seems to be quite a Modern Funk phenomenon going on at the moment. Your thoughts on that?
I think it’s great to see. I feel that, because Funk in general has such a strong history and foundation, it will always be around. And as new genres come and go, the Funk will remain consistent. Funk, Jazz, soul, etc. will always have longevity because they aren’t genres that
one can just pick up and play. It takes effort and life experience amongst other things.
Because of that, there will always be a reach. People can recognize effort. People can feel the vibe y’know? So I think it’s cool.
Do you see yourself as a part of that movement?
I would say more-so, that this movement, amongst others, is something that I would naturally end up being apart of, y’know? Because the Funk, amongst other things, is naturally apart of who I am. So it would only be natural for me to end up being apart of the movement. I think any artist playing this genre would be apart of the movement if they truly have a love for it. No matter how well-known they are or not. If they feeling it and got dat’ funk in em’…then they will be apart of it. =)
You have a release on Soulection. How did you link up with those guys?
Someone had posted up the song “Solar Winds” up on their soundcloud page. And it just so happened that Joe Kay had came across it. So he ended up hitting me up via e-mail. That’s how it started. It was a blessing indeed. This all happened a little after I had self-released “Odyssey“. And “Night Driven”, would end up being my second label-based release.
What’s most challenging about being an artist today?
Pshhhhhh…..could write a whole book on this question. Hahaha. One of the most challenging things to do is to establish yourself. Especially if you have a unique sound and you’re totally independent. But yet, those challenges are what make it all worth it. That’s where the good stuff is, even though it sucks going through the hardships.
It takes time to develop and establish yourself as and artist. And it takes a lot of patience and consistency. It takes a lot of self-reflecting and educating yourself artistically and business-wise. I’ve been in this game 10 years, and I’m still not too well-known right now. There are artists out there that are miles ahead of me even though they’ve been in the game for only a fraction of the time (and that’s cool btw).
Oftentimes, it can be difficult to see down the line, thinking long-term. So it might take 10-15 years for some. But if you stay consistent, once you get to where you want to be, you will have a wealth of experience and knowledge. We ultimately all have our own paths to walk and we have to learn to walk it…learning about the peaks and valleys along the way. Staying true and not bending…not veering off the path.
Then, of course, there’s the money aspect, funding yourself through it all. And making sure your time is fairly valued and compensated for. It can be hard for many. But if that love is there, and you push through…it’ll all work out. Again, I could write a whole book on this, but I’ll spare the readers. Hahaha. =)
What’s next from Tryezz?
There’s always some newness in the works…up in the lab. I’ve just finished up a song and video I’ve been working on for 2 months. I’ll be posting it up here soon. It will be interesting to see how people vibe to this one. But whatever I’m doing in the future, one thing is for sure….I will always be learning. Indeed.
Official Label Releases:
-Amezakura: SWAMP Records (JP) – 2009
-Night Driven: Soulection (USA) – 2012
-Sonic’s Poppin’ Groove (2009)
-Don’t Trip (2009)
-Dreamstates and Area Codes (2010)
-The Electric Chill (2010)
-Solar Winds (2011)
-Atmospheres: Art of the Scenic Groove (2013)
-7 Flow (2013)
-Portformat – Bitter Sweet
-Dam Funk -I Don’t Wanna’ Be a Star
-The Jets – Crush on You
-Miles Davis – Mystery
-Nina Simone – See Line Woman
-Nights – Jack the Mantle (feat. Digi Valentine)
-FF7 Victory Fanfare Remix