The beginning... 93-98
Tycho Brahe came into existence in 1993, using a top secret base location to launch a two-piece attack on the Brisbane music scene. Absent were the usual three guitars and drum kit; instead TB used synthesisers, sequencing, live bass guitar and vocals to create a progressive synthpop sound. TB are a committed gig band; willing to go the distance and get onstage whenever possible. Their hard work paid off and TB developed a devoted following.
Performances at the annual Bloodlust Ball in 1997 and 1998 were something of a turning point - excellent performances to a large crowd, giving the band some good exposure. In the months following the 1998 ball, TB played frequently at stalwart Brisbane venues such as the Normanby Hotel, the Alliance Hotel and the dodgy ol' Orient Hotel.
With increased live performance came a desire to develop a slightly more organic structure; hence the inclusion of Stephen Birt on live drums in early 1999. The new lineup settled into place ready for a special gig - after a great deal of work, Ken brought together TB, Real Life and the re-formed Pseudo Echo. That night the Buffalo Club was very full, very loud, and very very hot. The gig involved the T-Y-C-H-O incident and was generally a great show. It was particularly good for Tycho fans to hear the band through a serious PA.
Late 1999 saw another change in the lineup and some Real Life vs. TB remixing. Alison Barclay joined the band, playing live keyboard bass and generally conspiring with Steve to play In Your Heart at double speed ("Hijacked again!" says Ken). Real Life chose to remix White Room.
2000 was dominated somewhat by the release of TB's debut album, Cassiopeia; not to mention a great run of gigs. The appearance of the long-await disc was well received not just locally, but globally; with synthpop DJs around the world discovering the TB sound. An impressive number of compilation inclusions followed.
In 2001 the band produced some stunning new tracks and mastered two EPs (aka MCDs); which were ultimately combined into a single-disc release. Late in the year Alison Barclay decided to leave the band; remaining close friends with the other members and departing with a fun sendoff gig. The call went out for another live synth player; and Lana Gishkariany joined the band shortly after, performing with TB for several months. TB finished the year with the release of Tasty, a "budget album" chock full of remixes and at least one purring cat.
In 2002 the band continued to impress; settling back into a three-piece lineup and playing new material at gigs to really get the fans champing at the bit for a new album. A lot of remix work went on in the Tycho Room, not just on TB tracks but on songs by Irish band Empire State Human as well. Tycho tracks earned their place in local club playlists, getting plenty of spins along with the standard fare of big-name acts. To top the year off, the short-run single Avarice was released.
2003 was the year of the remix, or at least it seemed that way for a while. Although helped along by a freshly rebuilt Tycho Room; the new album was continually delayed by sudden remix opportunities cropping up. The band allege that the new Tycho Room is "clean and tidy"; those who saw the old incarnation remain unconvinced. With remixes and album tracks flying in all directions; TB tracks found their way into all sorts of interesting places (like Human League launch parties). After covert rehearsals, it was announced mid-year that the band had been joined by "Special Guest" Andy Walls, on synth bass.
2004 kicked off with the new album's name, Atlantic, being announced; along with the news that Stephen Birt was leaving the band. Steve stayed on to finish studio work for Atlantic before pursuing new ventures. The band went back to a three-piece lineup for several months, before Francis Tohill joined the band as "Special Guest" drummer. Andy was promoted to "Very Special Guest" and Francis was thrown in at the deep end, as the band immediately went on a mini-tour to Melbourne; playing with Real Life and Ikon.
2005 saw some huge gigs including a support spot for UK industrial legends VNV Nation; a gig with interstate act Angel Theory; and another Melbourne tour playing with Real Life and Dead Inside The Chrysalis. A release date was finally announced for Atlantic, on Cohaagen Music and with distributors including the ever-popular Metropolis Records.
2006 was a big one for releases, with Free, Atlantic and Don't Feel That Way all released in one year. The band also recorded its first film clip, for Don't Feel That Way. Tycho played a memorable gig alongside Ponyloaf and Victor XRay, as part of the Trans:Com Silhouette Series.
2007 saw the release of "the most jinxed album ever", the remix album Transatlantic. Gigs included the "Upgrade" gig, which had a massive lineup including Boxcar and Severed Heads. As a little Christmas gift, the video clip for Don't Feel That Way was played on Rage twice in December.
In 2008 Ken's remixes of the The Human League track Rebound proved to be a major online hit, with thousands of people downloading the tracks. The gigs with big name international acts continued, including Assemblage 23, John Foxx, VNV Nation and Covenant. Francis Tohill was unavailable for gigs for most of the year; and in September he officially left the band. Former member Stephen Birt stepped in to fill in drumming duties gig by gig, which was made all the more fun by Tycho's newly acquired red Simmons drum kit.
2009 saw one of the band's greatest moments of "terror and elation", when they discovered with just 96 hours notice they were booked to support The Human League on an interstate tour. Panic and logistical acrobatics ensued, but the final result was Tycho Brahe playing two gigs the band consider their best to date. Shortly after this success they joined Pseudo Echo on their Queensland tour.
2009 also marked the ten year anniversary of the Tycho website. To mark the occasion the site was secretly rebuilt and launched as a surprise to the band. The new site reached the Top 50 in the prestigious McFarlane Prize and the design was included in the McFarlane Prize 2009 book.
2010 saw the YouTube channel launched and the Shmoozing With Tycho gallery go up. But most exciting of all was the recording of a live album, released for free no less! The ...what you paid for EP captures the glorious chaos of recording live, gig style, in a studio. The tracks are a selection of band favourites and voted requests from long time fans.
On January 12th 2011, Ken informed the email list
Tycho Central is under water. Although all music gear and masters were saved, the house and studio went under in the worst flood to hit Brisbane since 1974. In the aftermath the music community launched two separate fund raisers to help the Tychos rebuild.
With typical Tycho grit, Ken reported "signs of life" from a temporary studio just a few months later; and the band returned to the stage at the Bloodlust Ball/Prometheus Bound in August.
2011 also saw the announcement that after 8 years with the band, Andy Walls had decided to hang up the keytar. It was an amicable departure, leaving the band with some crazy tour stories and songwriting contributions including Don't Feel That Way, Metropolis and Loveless. Later in the year, new member Sam Morrison joined the band to play keyboards and bass guitar.
In August the band played the Bloodlust Ball... and having unleashed their Tycho Martini recipe onto the world in 2011, it was featured on the Ball's drinks menu. Cheers! Sadly the evening also marked Sam Morrison's last gig with TB before he moved to the UK.
In October Sex Rocket was released, along with the band's new online store - allowing tychfans to get the CD, buy the tshirt and even lay their hands on a sexy coaster for their Tycho Martinis. What's not to love?!
The year kicked off with a bang: the official Sex Rocket video clip went live on January 1st, going on to clock over 60,000 views on YouTube. The LEGO theme continued in August with the release of Super Hot Robot, which Ken describes as part of
Tycho Brahe's side-exploration of vocoder-driven mid '80s Hi-NRG novelty cowbell dance music. A return to more-usual fare came in December with the release of Triplex Part 1.
2013 was also a year of rebuilding, as the relocation of Tycho Central required a corresponding rebuild of the studio. Thus, the Tycho Room was born...
Triplex Part 2 was released in May, continuing the 'album in three parts'. Outside the studio, the band returned to the Bloodlust Ball in August. This was Tycho's fifth time playing the iconic event, in four-piece mode with Steve on drums. They followed this up with a full electro three-piece assault in October, playing in a big lineup of bands at the long-running Faith nightclub.
A period of quiet was explained in late 2015 when Ken was able to publicly reveal he had been working on a secret project... working with Peter Hook and the Light creating backing sequences for classic New Order songs, for their Substance tour.
Although delayed a bit by the sequencing work, Triplex Part 3 was released in December.
The studio work for Peter Hook and the Light continued through 2016, allowing Ken to stretch the legs of various pieces of vintage gear the envy of synth fans the world over. Continuing the tradition, Tycho played again at the Bloodlust Ball in August for the sixth time.
Last updated 2017.01.14