This summer Victoria Park plays host once again to the eagerly anticipated Lovebox, and this year the festival is celebrating ’A Decade of Love’!
Tyson, one of the UK’s most exciting new artists, will be appearing alongside a stellar line-up on Sunday which is ‘Out & Out Fierce’. We dug out the interview below from the archives to jog your memory and put him firmly on your radar.
What’s the worst thing that can happen to a singer? Falling off stage? Forgetting your lyrics? Nope – for Tyson, dental floss is the enemy. “I just cracked my tooth from flossing too hard!” he laughs from his home in Edgware, North London. “I’m in the worst pain of my life!”
All good things in moderation? Not for the 27-year old electro-soul musician. He doesn’t do things by halves, from his early 20s as a mainstay of the Shoreditch party circuit to his penchant for nudity (“It’s just natural to me”, he shrugs of his exhibitionism). But it’s his music that’s the real boundary- pusher. Tyson’s new single ‘After You’re Gone` is an electrifying disco-heartbreak
anthem with an infectious 80s groove. It’s what Cameo’s ‘Candy’ would sound like if it had been made in a leather bar darkroom. In the video, a half-naked Tyson writhes around in shackles while a Helmut Newton-esque dominatrix administers corporal punishment. “To be honest I was pretty scared of her!” Tyson laughs of his leather-clad torturer. “She was beating me round my
face with this horsehair whip, and I was like, “can you let me know when I’m going to get whipped in my face?”
For Tyson love and sex are bound up with what he calls his ‘black cloud’ (like Holly Golightly’s ‘mean reds’), and the conflicted hedonism of ‘After You‘re Gone’ is a pretty good idea of what’s In store with his debut album. “I wanted to make a record that was beautiful, but dark as well”, he says. “No-one really makes songs about what love is actually like. You get these songs like ‘I Wanna Run to You` – but It’s never a walk in the park! It sounds horrible, but I want everyone to listen to my music and cry.” He’s also been taking tips from the masters of pop heartbreak, ABBA. “Their musicality is ridiculous!” he exclaims. “It’s insane how layered their songs are.”
Maybe Tyson was born in the wrong decade – you can picture him fitting in seamlessly between Boy George and Kim Bowen at the Blitz! club, as well as his music soundtracking their girl got face-offs. “If I could live in any year it would be 1983″, he enthuses. “What Steve Strange of Visage did was unbelievable – it’s where it all started for me. So many artists now pretend that they’re weirdos – but Steve Strange wasn’t acting! You could tell in his house he had the same clothes on!” You can practically smell the poppers coming off this guy. So when asked whether a particular boyfriend inspired ‘After You’re Gone’, the answer’s a real curveball. “Oh I‘m not gay!” he says, Uh, Whitney, Visage, ABBA? Oh, please! “Ah, but you can’t go by those stereotypes”, he says. “Look, have you ever been to Bootylicious in Vauxhall? You think of a gay guy and you think of a Louie Spence kind of character – but you walk into Bootylicious and everyone in there looked like Yardie killers! I might sing in falsetto and like camp things, but those guys would eat you alive!” But getting that body must take some work – you must be putting the hours in at the gym? “I don’t wanna look pretty though”, he counters. Really? “Yeah, the artists I look up to never try to look pretty. Look at Tina Turner in ‘Private Dancer` – she’s looking mean! Michael Jackson and James Brown, they always had the stink-face on. If you come to see me live, expect blood, sweat and tears. You’re gonna go away thinking ‘what the fuck was that? I fucking loved it!”
Tyson will be appearing at Lovebox on Sunday 17/06/12