WHAT IS PULSE?

Pulse Music Journal is Saskatchewan’s hub for music indulgers. We ‘eat/sleep/breathe’ the music and entertainment industry – plug into our outlet while we highlight new music, recap live performances, interview the biggest names, connect with local legends, and the newest initiatives surrounding our local music scene. We are honoured to be a leading cultural staple in the Saskatchewan music and entertainment scene.

WE SUPPORT SASKATCHEWAN’S ENTERTAINMENT & MUSIC SCENE

Whether it’s reaching out to a newly released project, musician or creating a spotlight for local talent to be heard on any of our stages, as well as opportunities to be heard opening for larger acts on a full-venue stage. We look forward to assist and launch newest concepts that strongly support the local music in this province. The local music scene is super important to us – we are a small province, but we have big dreams. Let’s grow and support each other – putting Saskatchewan on the map for premium music and entertainment experience.

STIMULATING VERSATILITY WITH GRAHAM TILSLEY

The phrase “such a talented musician” gets thrown around often. For most musicians becoming incredibly great at one instrument is the goal, and for Graham Tilsley once he met that – he didn’t stop. Graham Tilsley has been a professional musician for over a decade. He has provided his experience as a session musician for The Dead South, Rosie and The Riveters, Gunner and Smith, to name a few. Graham’s music knowledge has allowed him to become one of the most-sought after collaborators in the studio and on the stage. His music upbringing diversified his ability to adapt to musicians of many genres. Over the last couple of years Graham has been performing alongside many musicians – Connor Newton, Kyle Krysa, Sammy Lee Folkersen, JJ White, and more. These opportunities will keep coming because music is second nature for Graham. Over the last year, Graham has been back to working on his own solo project. Graham dropped “New Name” in March 2020, and he is set to release “Stimulating” on February 12th 2021. “Stimulating” was recorded by Graham in his bedroom with all of the instruments performed by Graham Tilsley with Kyle Krysa on the drums. Graham Tilsley has invested in himself, and it shows.

Graham Tilsley joins us to go over all of his recording hacks, his new track “Stimulating”, the process of recording/performing a track entirely yourself, we talk collaborating with Connor Newton, Sammy Lee Folkersen and multiple musicians, what inspired him to create solo music now, and so much more.

We also learn what he has planned to release after “Stimulating”, future aspirations, what 2021 is looking like, and what made him decide to start to write and release music as Graham Tilsley again.

2020 LEFT A LOT OF MUSICIANS WITH TIME TO CREATE MORE FREELY.

THE CURRENT DIGITAL AND PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY IS THE BEST IT HAS EVER BEEN, AND YOU DEFINITELY UTILIZED THIS TO THE BEST OF YOUR ABILITY. FROM THE QUARANTUNES LIVESTREAM FEATURE, COLLABORATIONS WITH CONNOR NEWTON AND COUNTLESS MUSICIANS. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE OR TIPS FOR ARTISTS LOOKING TO CREATE OR RECORD MUSIC FROM HOME? 

GRAHAM TILSLEY: For vocals, if you don’t have access to an isolation booth or a sound absorbing panel, then sing in your closet! Noises, like the fan on my computer, or floors creaking upstairs can be frustrating to deal with and this will help with editing. I use a Rode NT1-A condenser, and an SM57 dynamic mic. Even my guitar amp is in my closet. When I’m recording bass, I plug into my pedal board ‘and’ a DI using an ABY pedal, so that I can get both the wet and dry (pedals/effects and no effects) signals on two separate tracks. Then I can mix the two together as desired. Having both audio files allows for a lot of control over the tone.

For collaborating, you need to know what to deliver – it doesn’t matter so much what DAW you use, as long as you can send stem files that are easily labeled, all the same duration, recorded at the right sample rate, and all at an appropriate gain. The next person to import your tracks, be it another musician or mixing engineer, will have a much easier time.  

Get comfortable with your DAW. Whether you’re using Logic, Ableton, ProTools, Reason… you need to understand the ins and outs of the program. I went to school for Pro Tools but have been using Logic Pro X for the last few years. I still find myself going to YouTube tutorials for answers, and am always trying to learn how to edit faster. Learn your hotkeys!

Click image to listen to ‘Stimulating’ – Releasing on Feb 12th 2021
Recorded and produced by Graham Tilsley (in his bedroom). All instruments performed by Graham Tilsley, with Kyle Krysa on drums.
Mixed by Matthew Facca of Facca Audio & Production. Mastered by Trevor Case at Case Mastering.

YOU ARE A MULTI-FACETED INSTRUMENTALIST.

YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO TAKE YOUR MUSIC TO GREATER LENGTHS WITH YOUR PRODUCTION TALENTS. THE NEW RELEASE “STIMULATING” REINFORCES THAT. DO YOU FEEL THAT RECORDING AND PRODUCING YOUR OWN MUSIC YOURSELF MAKES THE PROCESS EASIER OR MORE DIFFICULT? ARE YOU MORE CRITICAL ON YOURSELF, OR DOES IT ALLOW YOU TO HAVE MORE CREATIVE FREEDOM?

GRAHAM TILSLEY: I typically prefer to do most of my writing on my own. Often I will start with a guitar or bass riff, and come up with other progressions that compliment one another. Vocals/lyrics generally come last. I will come up with a rough draft and then will start to experiment with tones. On my own, I have fewer inhibitions and will take more chances. I commonly record a demo version that is composed one instrument at a time. I look at the song from the point of view of the full band, or big picture, and then I re-record all the instruments with better tones, and with the parts more refined and concise. 

But there’s something to be said for collaborating. Sitting in the same room as the songwriter when I add bass, guitar, vocals, percussion… the songwriter gets the chance to communicate and dictate how I should play, or who I should play like (Thundercat, Pino Palladino, Cory Wong…). I like to think there is a sliding scale from “session player” to my full blown character, and the songwriter/producer is in control of that dial. It feels like “I” am being played as an instrument as I deliver the parts they are after. In that sense, recording by myself at home ‘for others’ can be a little tricky. I am absolutely more critical on myself when I am alone. “How many fills should I take? Is this bass line too busy? Should the guitar be more rhythmic or melodic? Are there too many harmonies stacked together?” 

In the past, I have recorded 4 different takes on bass. The first being very simple but right in the pocket, the second and third experimenting with a few more lines and fills, and the fourth being significantly busier or more complicated. This gives the songwriter/producer options. 

Co-writing is becoming a new love of mine; composing something brand new from a beat and chord progression, and layering different ideas overtop. Writing lyrics in a two or three person setting using a certain word or theme can be a lot of fun. Each person comes up with their own unique ideas, but they all relate back to one another. Different characters, styles, phrasing, and sounds can come from just being in the room with someone else (shout out to Connor Newton and Sammy Folkersen). 

“IT GIVES ME THE CHANCE TO PLAY SONGS THAT ARE OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE”

– GRAHAM TILSLEY

YOU ARE OFTEN FEATURED ON STAGES THROUGHOUT SASKATOON.

PERFORMING AT DIFFERENT VENUES AND OFTEN MULTIPLE ON ANY GIVEN NIGHT. YOU ENJOY SHARING THE STAGE WITH VARIOUS ARTISTS – WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO COLLABORATE AND HOW DO THE COLLABORATIONS INSPIRE YOU?

GRAHAM TILSLEYPlaying live with different groups keeps me on my toes, and keeps the edge sharp. I love not knowing exactly where a band leader will take us as a group. It involves a lot of watching and even more listening. I have a lot of fun sitting in with different musicians. Everyone directs songs differently. It also gives me the chance to play songs that are out of my comfort zone, or songs that I would not be able to pull off on my own. There is a lot of incredible talent here, and we can all learn from one another.

ANY TIME YOU ARE ON THE BILL.

AUDIENCES KNOW THEY ARE IN FOR A TREAT – SO IT WAS EXCITING TO SEE A RELEASE THAT WAS PURELY GRAHAM TILSLEY (ASIDE FROM KYLE KRYSA ON THE DRUMS). WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO RELEASE A SOLO TRACK?

GRAHAM TILSLEYI’ve always considered myself a singer songwriter, but working as a session musician over the past decade has sort of taken priority. I still consider myself a songwriter, but don’t have much to show for myself. I played at the Sasktel Jazz Festival Nutrien Free Stage a couple of years ago under my own name with a 5-piece band, and that reminded me of how much I enjoy fronting my own group. But with only one single (New Name, released March, 2020), I figure it’s time to get some more material out there. 

Click image to listen to “New Name”

Introducing Miller Lite – In 1975, Miller Lite was the first light beer that didn’t compromise taste. A great pilsner taste brewed with high quality ingredients. The best barley malt, water, yeast, hops, hop extract and corn syrup make up the ingredient list. Miller Lite is proud to share their story of the original light beer. 90 calories and 3g carbs per 355ml serving, proudly brewed in North America.

Great Pilsner Taste – 4.2% alcohol.

WATCHING YOUR ARTISTIC GROWTH OVER THE YEARS

CONSTANTLY CREATING, COLLABORATING, AND CHALLENDING YOUR MUSIC IN NEW AND INNOVATIVE WAYS. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR ASPIRATIONS FOR YOUR MUSIC CAREER AND KNOWLEDGE WITHIN YOUR CRAFT?

GRAHAM TILSLEYI have a number of unreleased original songs that I would like to re-record. The first time around was okay, but I’ve grown a lot since those songs were recorded. They sound like demo versions compared to what I can do now. 

I would also like to continue co-writing with different artists. I come up with a lot of progressions but get stuck on melodies and lyrics. I’m working on writing more, but sometimes its refreshing to have someone else sit in and shed their own light.

“I’M AT A PLACE WHERE I CAN BE PROUD OF THE WORK I’VE PUT IN”

– GRAHAM TILSLEY

IS THE RELEASE OF “STIMULATING” A TASTE OF WHAT’S TO COME?

THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT YOUR SONGS RESONATE WITH PEOPLE ON A DEEP LEVEL. WHAT MADE YOU BEGIN TO WRITE MUSIC AND SHARE?

GRAHAM TILSLEY: Yes. Much more to come! I can’t wait to release more music. I’m patient, and taking my time with it. Collaboration projects take up a lot of my time right now too, so I’m focusing on an EP for now. Hoping to release new material, as well as a few older originals, but revamped in a 2021 version. I’ve been writing and recording my own songs since early high school, but I feel I’m at a place where I can be proud of the work I’ve put in, and am excited to share my compositions with the world. 

Thank you again for your time, and for having me be a part of this amazing thing you’ve got going on! I’ve been following Pulse Music Journal since its inception, and I am honoured to be included. 

Click image to watch “Stimulating” Video releasing on February 12th 2021

Upcoming Shows

February 13th at Somewhere Else Pub – Connor Newton and friends

February 14th at BlackCat Tavern – hosted by Mykel Somvong

All photos inside article supplied by artist.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT GRAHAM TILSLEY, VISIT WWW.GRAHAMTILSLEY.COM

UPCOMING EVENTS

WHAT EVENTS WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO…

March 6th

BUY TICKETS
BUY TICKETS

May 4th

BUY TICKETS
BUY TICKETS

July 30th

BUY TICKETS
BUY TICKETS

Oct 21st

BUY TICKETS
BUY TICKETS

LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT’S TO COME…