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Drum Media talks to Tim about "tyg's in space" Print E-mail
Tuesday, 25 May 1999

Found on Tim's spacejunk site at

DRUM MEDIA 25.5.99

tyg?s in space - Beyond Time

Tim Powles tells all to Michael Smith

There are some records that, when you put them on, strike immediately as timeless ? literally. It doesn?t matter whether they were made in the 40s, 60s or the day before yesterday, there?s a quality about them, maybe just the sound, that seems to transcend the time of its making. Or so it seems to me. And so it seems with tyg?s in space.

"I think that?s just a total result of what I am," suggests its maker Tim Powles, probably best known as the drummer with the Church, though he?s been working overtime as a producer and engineer on many a CD recorded in Sydney over the past few years. "And I am lucky that I seem to have survived being tagged. There have been times when I?ve been in bands that have been tagged with the 80s label but my roots are kind of 70s. For instance, I?d completely forgotten how much Bowie had been part of my upbringing until a couple of years ago, I was given some CDs of early Bowie stuff and remembered how well I knew all that stuff. Somewhere between that and a Lennonesque sense of melody is I think where everything was sort of coming from. And then because I was so active in bands in the 80s, I absorbed a lot of the technical aspects of that stuff. In the 90s, I?ve been working so much as a producer and particular with street kids, I had three to four years of assimilating what 16 to 20 year olds were listening and having to play all instruments and write songs in vein that they might throw at you, whether it be Sepultura or Bryan Adams or trip hop. That was a huge learning experience because it kept me in touch. I feel very lucky because there?s a certain thing that in music, which has become a popular element of pop music these days, something a bit weird, a bit left and a bit intense, and I?ve always enjoyed that. The world?s in that sort of state anyway."

THE street kids connection was the Sydney City Mission?s Sounds Of The Streets music courses for homeless and disadvantaged young people, which is actually where Powles found his collaborator in the tyg project.

"It started at home on an eight track, and I was encouraged to do it by a friend of mine, Chris Campbell whom I?d met on one of the Sounds Of The Street courses. Since then he?s worked with me as assistant engineer and he encouraged me to do my own stuff. In another way, though, it would have never of happened if it hadn?t been for the Refo:mation album because in the middle of that recording, Steve (Kilbey) was having difficulty with a couple of songs that he wanted to leave instrumentals that I believed should be vocal, and he issued a challenge that perhaps I should sing them. So I took him up on that and did a vocal very much the way he does, where he writes it in ten minutes, listens to a song, goes down, does the vocals, double-tracks it that?s it. Something was on my side and I pulled it off. It created a whole new level of involvement with Steven for starters but it also gave me a confidence to pursue that angle myself a bit more. There?s a lot of stuff that?s gone on in my life in the last ten years that?s in there, some pretty personal stuff that?s kind of managed to surface in a way that?s not too specific."

At the same time, tyg?s in space is no pofaced project either, what with its constant references to spacemen, fridges and such.

"IT?s tyg as in pig, and its tyg as in the lower case singular. t-y-g is the band and tyg?s in space is just a play on pigs in space. It?s supposed to be marginally tongue-in-cheek as, in a way, is the whole record. There?s definitely a sense of humour about the whole thing, and the way it started. I could never do a record like that again, because it was actually started by accident. It was only when I got to the end and I was going to actually release it that I got all serious about it, by which time the content was already formed. So the record was so casually put together that it?s got this sort of feeling that I don?t think I?d ever get again. It?s quite bizarre because I listen back and wonder how I ever do it! And say that in all modesty because I played most things on it and I?m not a great master of any other instrument but I managed to get what I needed."

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