ARTIST INTERVIEW – Tyler Chase: A Key to Keeping the Underground Alive

The Music Dealers unveil Tyler Chase’s story – a shining beacon in San Diego’s underground scene. The promising artist sheds light on the current scene, the importance of community, and how his journey is intertwined in it all.

The ‘Tyler Chase’ Stamp

24-year old Tyler Chase is the artist to watch. Enlightened by the darker sounds of dance music, the San Diego native’s tenacious spirit has established him as a local favorite in the SoCal scene.

At a young age, Tyler realized his passion to connect people with music. With the precision and skillset of a DJ twice his age, his ear for mixing has built him a faithful following that only continues to grow.

Apart from his mixing and music production, Tyler’s community mindset and early roots in hosting renegades have been huge influencers in shaping the direction of his career. Paired with his openness to learn, this old soul has a bright future ahead of him.

Q: Who/what influenced you to kickstart your musical journey?

Most people start to discover the underground scene once they’re more seasoned… But for me, my entrance to dance music was the underground.

When I was a freshman in high school, a group of my older friends created a collective called Reptile Society. I started going to their renegade events because I really liked the energy, and the fact that their parties went until 6am.

This inspired me to throw my own warehouse parties, and by the end of high school I had numerous successful events under my belt. The profits helped me buy better DJ equipment, and I practiced mixing during every free moment I had.

For college, I moved to Sonoma State and got involved in the local scene there. I built up the courage to send out my mixes and heard back from Blueprints Entertainment who offered me a residency. That gig brought me amazing opportunities like being able to share lineups with Dirtybird players.

Once I graduated, I moved back to San Diego. I met Alina who started Church of Music, and I became one of their co-leaders and resident DJs, including the added responsibility of helping curate their lineups. After 2 years of overseeing events every Sunday, we had gained a big following. Our anniversary party had over 1,000 attendees on the cliffs at Gliderport – my biggest show to date! 

That’s also where I was lucky enough to meet Jimbo James. He asked me to close out his warehouse party on Halloween, which led to more bookings and me ultimately being picked up by Music Is 4 Lovers. Now MI4L is like family to me, and I’m so proud to be on their record label and be one of their resident DJs.

Making all these connections has been huge for my career; at the same time, I’ve also created long standing friendships. That’s what I love so much about this scene because these transformational events are built around supporting each other’s art and building a community. This has really shaped my perspective of the industry and why I’m so motivated to put all this time and effort into our local collectives.

Q: Have you ever thought about using an alias?

I’ve gone through 100s of names, but nothing’s really stuck. Honestly, I really like the idea of just using my given name – Tyler Chase – because I feel like I’m presenting my authentic self. I don’t have to be some persona or put on a façade… I’m just me when I’m performing on stage.

I wouldn’t be against having a side project under a different name though. I’m open to exploring a duo or trio project down the line!

Q: What key moment stands out in your musical journey?

Back in college, I had the opportunity to go to a music festival in Sweden. There were 5 stages and a moving Red Bull truck (think art car). I somehow convinced the stage manager on the Red Bull truck to let me perform and ended up mixing for 4 hours all over the festival grounds. The head honcho liked my music so much he asked me to play one of the side stages the next day! 

This moment also stands out to me because I was able to see how my set (at the time, I was playing a lot of Dirtybird and Desert Hearts) translated to a crowd with a different dance music culture from the states. Even though there’s a language barrier, I could see the crowd resonate with the underground music that was getting popular in the states. It was truly a picture perfect example of how music is a universal language, and I was so happy to be the one orchestrating that.

Q: What obstacles do you face as an artist?

Social media is definitely my weakest link. It can be really daunting figuring out what and when you should post. In all honesty, all I want to do is produce and DJ… not worry about what content I should be making for social media.

Standing out as an artist is also a common obstacle. In today’s industry, artists constantly get sucked in to conform to mainstream music – like making a remix of an old song in a cheesy way just to get more listens. That approach doesn’t fit the Tyler Chase brand. 90% of the records I play are primarily from European producers most people don’t know, and you can expect that in all my sets.

Sometimes it’s hard not to get caught up and want to take the shortcut, but that’s when I remind myself to stay true to who I am because I know it will be more rewarding in the long run.

Q: What can we expect from a Tyler Chase set?

I like to take people on a journey among different levels of energy. When I build my set for an event, I create at least 3 playlists – low, medium, and high – which reflect the energy level of the song and consequently the crowd. This allows me to narrow down my transition when mixing in from the previous DJ, and build the energy up or down accordingly while being able to freestyle my song selection with confidence.

In terms of music choice, I like to find the happy medium of people grooving while incorporating a dark edge. I’ll play across the board – indie dance, melodic house & techno, afro, deep progressive, etc. Experimenting with music and flowing between sub-genres is what I love to do.

Evolution + Experimentation

Evolution + Experimentation is key to a career in music. Without it, an artist will never get where they want to be. 

Tyler Chase discusses early techno influences, his happy medium aura, and how an openness to learn is vital when it comes to success. 

Q: Who initially influenced your sound, and are there artists that continue to motivate you to push outside boundaries?

I listened to the Afterlife label a lot back in high school, before they became what they are today. They opened my eyes to the rabbit hole that house & techno was back then.

There’s something about dark and drivey music that resonates with me, which is always a surprise to people. I have a pretty bubbly personality, so I think most people expect a dark persona to match. I like the different approach I’m taking though – I don’t need to fit a persona… I just play sick tracks, and I believe that’s what matters at the end of the day. 

“I want to be that happy medium of light and dark.”

More recently, I’ve been into Indie Dance like AFFKT and Jimi Jules. But if I had to choose my biggest inspiration, it would be Sam Shure because of his eclectic production, authenticity, and ability to keep a glitchy and heavy sound while still telling his own story. And he’s just a nice human being!

Q: What are your plans in building your career in music production?

I really want to hone in on releasing my music this year. I’ve been known as a DJ for so long, but I’ve always had the itch to produce. For years, I couldn’t get past the point to produce because the software can be so daunting. To help with that hurdle, I took classes at Youtube University and sat in on my mentor friends’ recording sessions.

I learn a lot during those sessions, especially with the more tenured producers. I’ll do a lot of note taking and ask questions. You gotta be hungry to learn, and that requires time and effort. 

Now, I’m producing tracks on a regular basis. I’m finally at a point where I am proud of what I am creating, and I get excited to see the crowd’s reaction when I play an ID live. I released my debut EP back in October, and I currently have 12 finished tracks that I’m going to start sending out to labels.

Community + Connection

The Music Dealers pride ourselves in teamwork and collaboration – artists supporting artists.

Tyler Chase doubles down on how community has shaped his personal journey in terms of his music career and his relationships.

Q: In what way has the local community influenced your music career, and how can people best support you moving forward?

The local community has been my biggest influence… not just with my music career, but also my life in general. I’ve been attending renegades for a long time, and they’re built upon the local community creating the vibe at their events. From a young age, I’ve seen the influence it can have – there’s a different sense of culture and community that is usually absent from the more high profile events. We’re not there to just go out; everyone is there for the love of art.

I even met my girlfriend, Zohar, at Afternoon Umbrella Friends Festival in San Diego. She has been a big influence and support system in my evolution as an artist. Not only is our music taste perfectly aligned, we also share the same vision for my career. She has helped me tremendously on staying organized, crate digging, assisting me on show days, and most importantly, always helping me look at the bigger picture when making career choices.

That’s what I love about these types of festivals – you always leave with new connections and  strengthened relationships. You never know… you may even find the love of your life!

Q: What is the best advice you’ve received? Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?

PRODUCE, PRODUCE, PRODUCE. And take less gigs! I used to do 4 gigs a weekend which was great when building my brand, but it’s not sustainable if you’re looking at it realistically.

When you think about it from a different perspective, playing less gigs means more demand. So nowadays, I don’t usually take a gig unless it fits my brand and will propel my career. This also gives me more time off to produce on the weekend.

Q: What venue/event would you like to perform at in the future?

Lightning in a Bottle – I attended in 2015, which was such a pivotal moment for me because it was when I knew I wanted my career to revolve around music and art. I felt right at home.

I’ve spent a lot of time in Europe and know my sound resonates deeply with the European demographic, so it would be cool to perform there again.

The big dream would be moving to Europe one day and getting the opportunity to collaborate with all the artists I’ve looked up to for so many years.

Q: What’s your favorite crowd you’ve played for, and why?

I have played hundreds of shows over the last 9 years, so it’s hard to pick one crowd that stands out the most. I’ve been fortunate enough to become a resident DJ for Love Machine, which is held twice a year. I look forward to every edition, and everytime I go back I get this wave of reflection that I’m on the right path.

Among them all, Love Machine’s desert festival in Fall 2022 stands out to me the most. I opened the stage on Saturday, and the timing was unique because there was a high-energy crowd who just entered the festival + the campers who’ve been up from the previous night. The atmosphere felt electric during my set, and I was setting the precedent for what the rest of the night would look like. That’s essentially what a resident DJ does, and my crowd’s reaction confirmed that I was doing the job. It was some of the most positive feedback I’ve ever received in my career.

Wins + Aspirations

Wins + Aspirations set the tone for the future – what you hope to be, work to be, and one day be.

Tyler Chase talks through some of his big wins and aspirations for the upcoming year.

Q: Biggest win?

Getting signed to Music Is 4 Lovers – I knew at this point that my dream of making this a career was kicking off. 

They have an incredible community that’s been involved in the San Diego scene for over a decade, and I’ve looked up to this label before I was even of age to attend their events. Now, to be able to perform at their events AND be part of their family makes me feel like the luckiest guy alive. It’s given me credibility, and I’ve also made some lifelong connections out of it.

My manager, Ramin, is one of my best friends, mentors, and confidants. I would not be where I am today without his help; he has helped me understand the ins and outs of the music industry and has ultimately made me more confident in myself and my skillset in this industry. I am so grateful to have an amazing team behind me who always reassure me that I’m on the right path.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?

I would love to make music a full time career. For now, my goal is to get my tracks signed to a dream label like Innervisions, Stil vor Talent, or Sincopat, as well as play more shows outside of California. Interestingly enough, I found out that 80% of my listeners stream out of South America and Western Europe, so it would be a dream come true to play a show there and see how my original music resonates in different parts of the world!

Follow Tyler Chase’s Journey