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Interview with lead singer/lead guitar Tyler Schlagenhauf of MYLO BYBEE
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I got into music at a really young age. I grew up in a household that was always spinning tunes from ACDC, Styx, James Taylor, Jim Croce, Melissa Ethridge, and everything in between. I remember my dad always playing a harmonica in the house which I thought was so cool. One day my dad brought home a junior acoustic guitar he found at a garage sale for like a dollar. I feel that just having access to any type of an instrument, harmonica/acoustic guitar, really allowed me to discover my interest in picking one up. For the longest time it would just sit in a closet underneath our staircase, but occasionally, I would pick it up and make some noise with it.
I feel like if I had not gotten into music, I would be a very different person in terms of needing to find my muse or my artistic outlet. I have a very supportive family, great career, and have experienced a lot, but music has always been the constant outlet for anything in my life.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I am a new father, so currently when I’m not playing music, I am playing rolling around on the ground or getting outside with him. He is already drawn to the guitar, albeit I think it is the appeal of the sunburst persona of the Guild Bluegrass Jubilee, but still….He changes moods when I play something on the acoustic. He is my biggest fan, and biggest critic.
He has really influenced my creativity through the lyrical perspective. I often struggle with writing lyrics, and I always find it difficult to sit down with a song idea in mind and stick to it from inception to completion. They always morph into new ideas. Now I find myself inspired by the ability to teach him everything he knows and show him the world.
How long has your band been around?
We formed during lockdown in 2020. We got serious quickly and professionally recorded a 5 song EP before lockdown lifted and before we played live anywhere. When we first got together, we had a bit of a head start because the three of us were related so we knew each other and got along with each other well. We went into it with no expectations other than pass the time while everything else was shut down. We had all played in other bands over the years so had the experience playing with other musicians, which was a bonus.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We are based out of Boise, Idaho. I think that has a strong influence on our sound. Growing up in Idaho influences usually span the Americana, Bluegrass, Country gamete, but for a punk/emo/hardcore kid, I was forced to seek out my scene. I feel like this has a positive influence on our sound because we broke the mold in terms of what comes out of our state. We have obvious legends like Built to Spill who also broke that mold, which was super inspiring as a young musician in that vein.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
As I mentioned earlier, we went into record our first EP sooner than we all probably expected, and sooner than we even had a band name….
When in the studio we were asked our band name, as you would be…. And we all sort of collectively looked at each other. We had just got done reading an article around that time that talked about a guy from Boise who was “famous”, (locally) for creating something called the Finger Steak. If you aren’t from the Pacific Northwest, you probably don’t know what it is, but it is exactly what you are thinking. Think Chicken Fingers, only steak… No idea why this was what came to Wes, our bass players mind, but when put on the spot he just blurted out Mylo Bybee…and it stuck. That’s really all there is too it…maybe we can get a sponsorship in the future.
If you google his name, we come up first by the way…
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
To me they are all memorable in some way. If we are talking in terms of favorite shows, we played with a band called White Reaper who are really climbing the latter in terms of notable acts across the nation at a cool venue called the Knitting Factory here in Boise. That have a huge draw and are touring with Blink 180, Weezer, Spoon, just little-known bands like that. That show was a blast and the crowd, who was obviously there to see Reaper, really was supportive and complimentary of us.
Still to date I think our best show in terms of sound, energy, vibe, and overall end to end good time was at a small bar called the Range Rider in a little town in Oregon called Enterprise. One of those you show up to and immediately think, this is not going to be their vibe… It was the exact opposite. We even had the town mayor come up to us afterwards and share that we reminded her of some of her and OUR favorite bands like Thrice, Circa Survive, and others. THE MAYOR!
We just played there again this last August and the mayor came AGAIN!
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
We don’t have a specific favorite. What is most important to us right now is not oversaturating our small community with MYLO shows. We want to be very strategic about how often we play in town because we only have a select number of venues. If we play at a different venue every show we play, whether in town or out of town, that would be ideal!
In terms of venues, we would love to play and strive for is the Red Rocks in Denver as well as Pitchfork Music Festival in London. Those two are our White Whales.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
We are really on the festival kick right now. We love to play festivals alongside incredible artists and bands, most of whom we have never been made aware. This is the greatest experience in terms of mash up of genres, sounds, personalities, and experience levels. If we could play 10 festivals a year, all with completely different lineups, this would be our perfect scenario. I think one of the best things about being able to play live in front of others is the network you can create, the exposure, but most of all the relationships and the friendships with others.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Growing up in a music scene, and always wanting to be on stage playing music, getting “signed” was always the North Start. Get that record deal. This was gold in terms of language for young up and comers. Obviously, with streaming etc. this has completely changed the mindset of bands looking to play outside their garages. I think the biggest piece of advice I would give to bands is get a number of songs that you feel confident about, you are polished on, and have that hook….fork over the money to get a solid recording/tracking of those songs by a professional (DIY recording is fine, but the final product needs to be very clean and clear and balanced), and get your tunes out on all innerwebs through the smaller distribution companies like DistroKid, Tunecore etc. This at least allows you to have something to share with Venues, Booking Agents, Labels, Radio Stations etc. Even if you have 2-3 songs that clearly showcase your sound this will go a long way. Bands are a dime a dozen in every community. This will help you to get your foot in the door in whatever lane you choose to go down. The best part about this is you don’t need anyone but you and your band members, and maybe a recording engineer to do this!
Also, to that band that JUST wants to play in the garage, my advice would be to notify the neighbors that you are going to be making some noise from X hour to X hour and you would appreciate any feedback good or bad! Also, pad your garage door……
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
There were several years where I put down my instrument and stopped playing due to things that occur in life; job, relocation, etc. My advice would be to myself is to not put down that instrument. Also, I’ve never been good about just joining musician collectives and jamming with other artists. I am self-taught on the guitar, and often lack confidence in my ability to just jump in and jam with other artists on different instruments. My advice to my younger and current self is to get uncomfortable and just dive in with other artists for jam sessions. I feel this would expand my horizons for my own writing style I can bring back to my fellow Finger Steaks.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
We have a song called “The Bricklayer” that probably means the most to me. I say that only because this song has been through so many different iterations from when I wrote it about ten years ago to whoever it is today. Also, this was the first song we played as a band where I had that feeling that we had something here. This was a little more than just jamming around. Universes just seemed to come together during the writing process, as a full band, with this song. This is a sing-along song and has received the most interest in terms of requests, music video creation, play list additions etc. This is sort of the song that started it all off, which is why I would say it means the most to me.
Which songs are your favorite to play, and which get requested the most?
My personal favorite to play are all off our new album Master & Machine. Our Self- Titled track Master & Machine is hard hitting and jumps from heavy breakdowns to melodic versus’ capped off with energetic chorus’, a tune called Run, Run which is super energetic all the way through and in my opinion, is our most catchy tune, and finally an instrumental track we have called Vintro. On this tune I play piano on a darker, ominous hard-hitting tune that kicks off our album.
A tune called “The Bricklayer” of our Self-Titled EP is our most requested song. This is that song where I always feel so proud playing because I look out at a relatively unknown crowd and see people I’ve never seen or met singing along to the words. Also, this is one of the first songs we ever wrote as a band. This tune has been a song that I wrote about 10 years ago, but never came to fruition until the full band got their hands on it.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
We are all our own musicians in our own right. Our creative process typically consists of me bring a guitar riff/hook, vocal melody, and song structure to the band then allowing it to take form. Many songs I’ll work through on an acoustic guitar first until it’s I have the bones of a melody. This has proven to be successful for us thus far. Wes, our bass player, and Jason, our Drummer, are so sharp on their instruments and artistic that it just comes together seamlessly. I feel one thing that helps our creativity is that we all play multiple instruments. I feel that allows each of us to think outside of the proverbial box and continue to expand our sound. Jason, our new-er drummer, only joined the band right before recording this new record so we have only had the ability to write two songs with him on the throne. I’m excited to get back to writing new content with him and see how our sound continues to progress.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
When we write songs, they usually mean something different to all of us, which is what I want. I rarely share with others what a song was written about because I want everyone to experience it for themselves and for it to mean what others need it to mean. I can say I am typically writing lyrics from the perspective of someone who tries not to take anything I have for granted and shares a love for all things. Also, I get flustered and want to break things like everyone else!
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Very rarely do we all out disagree on the direction of a song. Usually, it comes down to minor changes or differences in how a part should be played. Pretty much all the time we come to a conclusion that we are all happy with our make out own. I appreciate this process because we all trust each other’s intuition and ear to continue to progress our sound. In other words, it allows us to not just become too predictable.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Our plans for the future include partnering with our label ZMI Arcadia to continue to expand our presence. We are very motivated and have a lot of support behind us to really allow the sky to be our limit. We play to tour, play festivals, get our tunes into the right channels, and get back into the studio to continue to put out content that we are always writing.
We have some amazing shows coming up that include playing with Fred Mascherino, former guitar player for Taking Back Sunday and Breaking Pangea, currently in Say Anything and The Color Fred. From someone who grew up during the Emo phase, Taking Back Sunday was sort of a constant in my playlists. This will be an extremely great opportunity and fun show. Additionally, we have already been asked to play multiple festivals out of state in 2024, yet to be announced. Super stoked to announce those and bring our music to different communities and audiences.
Long term, we would love to collaborate with other artists in the studio. This is an avenue we have not gone down yet that we would really love to explore.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
We are very active on social media. We would love for your to check us out on Bandcamp, Instagram, and Facebook and give us a follow. This really helps in terms of us staying connected to our audience and growing our presence. Also check out our tunes, videos, upcoming shows etc. on our webpage.