An Interview w/ William Tyler
By Morgan Enos
William, it’s a pleasure to speak with you. Can you tell me how you came to be part of SipMusic Club?
I had heard about the work y’all do and was excited to come up and play a gig – didn’t know the logistics would dictate in its favor until Rebecca Ruiz put us in touch.
You’ve talked at length about class inequality. Tell me about the first time you realized America is an imperfect place.
God, I mean I led such a sheltered existence. But when my family moved back to Mississippi when I was nine, I saw the class and race divisions in a way that was pretty startling. Far cry from the bubble I had grown up in Nashville up to that point. Plus, that was around the time of the first Gulf War- and I was old enough or precocious enough to know that we were starting that war for all the wrong reasons.
I heard a great quote once. “Some creativity has nothing to do with expression or emotion; it’s only an assembly of disparate things that capture our interest.” Do you believe that?
Maybe – I mean I get a lot from visual art, history books, philosophy, geography, architecture, science, things that aren’t necessarily musical.
What’s the most crucial advice you would give yourself as a younger man — musical or otherwise? Would you change anything early on?
I would have practiced a lot more and spent less of my twenties partying. I didn’t have a sense of my own creative ambition until my later twenties.
How has your perspective on guitar playing changed as you’ve gotten older?
I am just constantly humbled and inspired, especially by younger players. I always want to be better.
Do you think the role of the guitar is to have its own voice, or to work as one cog in a machine?
In my case I have experience with both. When I play solo, the guitar is THE voice. But it should always work in an ensemble way- good players know how to be sympathetic to both approaches.
Streaming, market saturation and an encroaching monoculture is making it weird to play music in 2019. What do you feel is the most vital role of a musician today — one who isn’t as well-known as Drake or Imagine Dragons?
To be completely true to your OWN voice and your own work. To treat your work and art as serious as anything while not taking yourself too seriously.