Electronic music artist Tying Tiffany lives near Italy's eastern coastline, but it isn't a Mediterranean paradise. The skies tend to be darker, with a chill in the air.
“I spent my days walking around the sea,” says Tiffany (who declines to give her real name) of the months preparing her latest album, Drop, which was just released. Those walks did Tiffany good. She was able to tap into the natural surrounds and cultivate the right mood for Drop – melancholy, but not drab.
Performing at Complex in Glendale this Sunday, March 16, her first appearance on the West Coast, and her only show on this side of the U.S. We caught up with her on Skype, chatting in a mix of English and interpreter-assisted Italian.
She started out as a punk rock bassist, she tells us, enjoying the raw physicality of the instrument.
Eventually, she gravitated towards writing her own songs, which led her down an electronic path. Since 2005, she's been releasing albums under her recording alias, which is inspired by the work of Japanese artist Nobuyoshi Araki.
These days, she's also doing work for film. As half of the duo T.T.L., she's made music heard in trailers for The Hunger Games. It's not too different from what she does solo, she just has to keep certain themes in mind and make sure there's enough space in the music to give it a cinematic quality.
Along the shore while working on Drop, Tiffany stumbled upon a treasure trove of inspiration, and ended up sampling whales and oceanic ambience.
“It sounds different from the last album, no?” she says excitedly. “More electronic.”
Indeed. On previous albums like Dark Days, White Nights, Tiffany delved head first into darkwave, making the sort of unsettling rock-meets-electronic tunes that push the spooky kids onto the goth club dance floor.
Drop is more subdued. There aren't any hair-whipping jams on it. Right now, she is into the electronic music of the 1990s. Acid house, ambient music and “chill out” tunes. Warp Records and Autechre are big on her list of current influences.
The work is a love letter to the sounds of the era without the obvious nostalgia. Tiffany took elements of the sounds that caught her ear when she was a teenager and translated them into something more contemporary. As noted above – it's got the right mood.