By Josiah HughesWe started as a three-piece, Matt playing drums and my friend Larry playing bass. Larry's the bass player on all the recordings up until now, and he's a permanent member of the band, but due to the fact that he has a real job - he's a prosecutor in Detroit - he can't really get the time off he needs to tour. We have a new bass player, her name is Shelly. But at the start it was Larry, Matt and I. It's also worth noting, when we started, Matt and Larry had never played in bands before, and neither of them had ever really played drums or bass before. I had played in bands, but I had never released any recordings. Our approach was like, let's just do really repetitive, simple riffs and make songs that are really easy that we can handle. That was the philosophy of the band, to just do simple things and drive them home. After that, we asked Heath to join the band on lead guitar. We'd seen him around town with his band Little Claw. We really liked him on guitar and just asked him to play. Pretty soon after that we invited our friend Damon to start playing guitar. He's from Toledo, Ohio, and we had seen his band the Puffy Areolas a few times. We asked him to come play with us live a few times, and we really liked it so we invited him to come on tour with us. So at that point it became a five-piece. But along the way we always ask our friends to come play with us. Our songs are so simple that if you have a basic knowledge you can kind of step in and start playing. So we always have several friends rotating in and out and playing with us. Just recently, with the last couple tours, we decided to strip it back down to a three-piece.
Since you've started, the whole lo-fi, post-garage movement has exploded across North America. Have you noticed a difference in the way people see you as a band?
I think it's definitely changed the way people see us, but being in Detroit is kind of a weird bubble of a scene. What's going on in Detroit doesn't really have a lot to do with what's going on in the rest of the country. I kind of feel like we've been in this weird vacuum for a long time, and then when lo-fi started to make the news again, it was kind of funny because lo-fi seems to make the news every three years ago. We record the way we do because we want to get a sound we like within our budget and within the equipment we have. We make choices to get the sound we want, but it's not like we say, "let's try to sound shitty" or "let's try to sound lo-fi." That never comes into play. Even touring, I feel like it hasn't really changed. There are a few cities where we probably get more people than we used to, but in most of North America you're still just a weird band coming to town. There's just a handful of people who know you.
How does being from Detroit influence your band? Would Tyvek sound different if it was from somewhere else in the country?
Yeah, I think so for sure. Detroit's an interesting place to be a music fan, because there's this huge history with The Stooges and MC5 and like Motown and techno, so there's all that going on. But then you have the garage rock boom in Detroit a few years back. It seems like there are all these disparate elements all hanging around, and a good cross-pollination among the different genres in Detroit. People are pretty open-minded because it's a pretty small scene and there's not a lot to do. People who might normally check out a garage punk show will find themselves checking out a noise show or some DJs. I feel like in other cities there might be more of a separation from the different crews or different scenes, whereas in Detroit people are supporting each other just by default, so they have something to do on a Saturday night. There's a certain character about the city; it's definitely a survivor kind of city. People living in Detroit are tough people, and pretty cynical, so you have to try pretty hard, and you have to come from a pretty genuine standpoint for people to appreciate it. So when people started liking us in Detroit it was like, "Wow, this is pretty cool...we must be doing something right." Nine times out of ten in Detroit, people just walk away or turn their backs. They don't give a shit. It's definitely had a huge influence on how Tyvek developed.
What are your influences for Tyvek?
I've always loved '70s and '80s punk, which is a huge influence. Also Krautrock, '60s and '70s German music, and by extension the early '80s techno scene in Detroit. A lot of '60s Michigan garage rock. Just simple, repetitive, beat-driven music that you can actually enjoy at length and not get sick of. Kind of the falling apart nature of early punk bands with the trance-inducing nature of Krautrock and stuff like that.
What do you want to accomplish next with this band? Could you see it ending any time soon?
I want to keep doing records. Now that the album's finally out, I think the next thing on our agenda is to start releasing seven-inches again. I'm excited about that. And I just want to keep touring. I'd love to tour in the UK, and I'd love to get to places that bands don't usually get to like South America. I'd like to keep doing Tyvek for the foreseeable future, especially because there's not many job prospects in Detroit. So, might as well keep doing this, it's clearly the best thing I have going for me.