Tyler Schwende Band
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"Tyler Schwende - Crossings Album Review"

Local singer/songwriter Tyler Schwende is the best unheralded local act you will see this year. At the age of 21 Schwende already has more road time under his belt than musicians twice his age, and that experience is evident throughout *Crossings*. Unabashedly sweet and soulful, *Crossings* goes deep and takes the listener with it despite utilising only vocals and acoustic guitar. Schwende tends towards Dashboard-style epics, alternately nodding and driving while taking full advantage of his bewildering vocal range. He also has some Clapton in him, as proved by the ponderous “February.” The definite high point of *Crossings* is its title track, a passionately soaring song with enough pop appeal to make you wonder why you’ve never heard it before. *Crossings* is necessary. Visit www.tylerschwende.com and pick one up as soon as you can. [KO] *Schwende averages 3 shows a week in and around K-W: check www.tylerschwende.com for details* - Echo Weekly


"Musician has no axe to grind doing it solo"

Since hitting the Southern Ontario circuit 10 months back, Tyler Schwende has already racked up more than 130 gigs.
And this 20-year-old Kitchener-Waterloo singer/songwriter has been doing it solo acoustic, with an even split between covers and originals.
He hits the Devil's Harp this Friday night, armed with songs from his debut disc Crossings, and a balance of Classic Rock (Pink Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd), and Top 40 (Matchbox 20, Maroon 5).
But can he get people moving with just an acoustic axe, in hand?
"Yeah, yeah," he says. "I try to get people involved in the show. And if they want to sing, (they're welcome up)."
He finds they're picking up most on his own material, which reflects such influences as the late Jeff Buckley, and Irish acoustic pop star Damien Rice.
"Usually it's the vocals. That's kind of what I'm focusing on," he said.
His low-fi arrangements leave all kinds of room for his heartfelt vocalizing - about love lost, soulsearching, etc. The track Boundless is impossibly pretty; while Don't Say delivers an infectious rock riff.
While a solid rhythm player, songwriting is his priority.
"That's all I do basically in my free time," he said. "I try to keep on writing."
"I think it's innate almost -- music cannot not be part of me. It's an expression of myself more than anything, but it's more than a (stress reliever). I feel very blessed."
While still a bit green, Schwende really does offer your proverbial total package.
He's a good-looking kid. And level-headed.
"I'm actually going back to school, as a Business Major at Wilfred Laurier (University)," he adds. "(At the same time), I'm going to be putting together a three-piece band -- trying to get original shows promoting myself as an original artist, not just as an entertainer in the bars."
- The Mississauga News


"Schwende Band Triumphs at LBS"

The final installment of the A-Team’s Last Band Standing proved to be popular amongst the school’s indie rocker / alcohol consumption enthusiasts.

Pounding out beats as the crowd pounded back drinks, the Tyler Schwende Band came out victorious in the end. Beating out Will Currie and the Country French, The Unibrows and Macro Fiesta, the Schwende band claimed the $1000 grand prize along with bragging rights for 2007.

Starting the night off in a positive light, the garishly named Macro Fiesta took the stage to open with an inspirational Bedouin Soundclash cover, playing up to a crowd that was just starting to warm up. Unfortunately, what followed was a 15-minute delay until their next song due to what was the first of a few technical issues of the night. The Hawaiian shirt-sporting frontman still managed to crank some solid reggae tunes, despite being the self-proclaimed underdog of the night.

The champions of the evening, the Tyler Schwende Band, appeared the most experienced group of the pack. With Schwende remaining in control over the crowd, especially the females in attendance, his set was lively. Unfortunately for his bandmates, their lack of gusto let them fade easily into the proverbial background as Schwende stole the spotlight.

This alternative/moderate rock group, following in the tradition of John Mayer and Dave Matthews, left the female audience (as men sometimes do) on the cusp of fulfillment, with many shouting “One more song!”
Do you remember that feeling you got when you were just a wee child, cookie crumbs on your shirt and chocolate stains on your forehead, your parents shouting at you to brush your teeth? Then all of a sudden, you heard the theme to Sesame Street come on and nothing else mattered?

That’s probably the best, and most abstract, way to describe the third band gracing the stage, Will Currie and the Country French. Their eclectic mix of band members and musical styles evokes a presence reminiscent of a young Elton John, minus the funky glasses and over-the-top outfits. People near the front couldn’t help but flail their limbs about and sing along to the happy sounds coming from the stage. This band is busting at the seams with raw musical talent, the harnessing of which can only propel them upwards from their second-place finish.

And then there were the Unibrows. To my dismay, they were all multi-browed but not multi-faceted in their performing capabilities or musical skill. In their defence, they did have what was arguably the toughest set of the night, as playing last has a smaller, more sombre crowd, which wasn’t necessarily better for their hard and fast style of music. In a final attempt to arouse some pop music allure, they played an ear-piercing rendition of Gwen Stefani’s “Sweet Escape”.

In the end, the compulsory Simon, Randy and Paula of the night opted to dish out the dough to Schwende, in what was surely a nod to his pop potential and not the musical prowess of the French. The night was very well-attended, bringing a successful cap to another year of Last Band Standing.
- The Cord Newspaper


"A commitment"

August 16, 2007
JASON SCHNEIDER
FOR NIGHTLIFE

(Aug 16, 2007)

Like most budding singer-songwriters, Waterloo's Tyler Schwende has been paying his dues for the last few years by playing cover songs that patrons of pubs like East Side Mario's and the Whale & Ale want to hear. It's helped him on the way to completing a business degree at Wilfrid Laurier University, but now with his first self-titled EP of original material finished, Schwende says that now's the time to give music his best shot.
"I recorded the EP last July over a two-week period, and it was one of those magical moments where everything got pulled together really quickly, and the results turned out to be pretty good," Schwende says. "But the songs had been kicking around for a while, some of them for about three years, so I'd say the recording is about half old and half new."

What Schwende is most proud of is that he was able to put a five-piece band together for the project, a much-needed change in approach from his usual solo gigs.
"Most of the time I play in a duo that does covers, and we're often out there four nights a week," he says. "It wears you down as a musician because it eventually becomes more like a job. So when I put my band together last summer it was really exciting to be able to concentrate on my original material for the first time. We played a lot of shows on campus, and we won a competition called Last Band Standing. Now we're ready to get into the wider music scene."
Not surprisingly, Schwende describes his songwriting as deeply personal, as a reaction to the amount of time he spends playing other peoples' material. However, he admits to being most influenced by Jeff Buckley and Radiohead, while maintaining a soft spot for the classic rock of his childhood, bands like Queen and Boston. It's a sound he has a lot of trouble describing, relying instead on the vague-but-convenient catch-all, "alternative progressive pop."
"I think with writing, it's good to get outside of the space that you're normally in," he says. "To me, the best songs are the most emotional, when you can really hear the strain in someone's voice. So I try to write stuff that's close to me, and not a product for someone else. I never consciously try to write a song based on what someone else has done."

On the other hand, Schwende also has no fear of being labelled a "mainstream" artist, saying that for his first real experience in the studio, he wanted the end result to be as polished as possible. He is now focused on transferring that sound to the stage with what he agrees is essentially his "coming-out party" within the local scene.
"We're going to have a lot of energy when we're up there, but mostly I want to do my best to make a connection with people," he says. "I want to have a lot of interaction in a way that they'll hopefully get to know me. Building a fan base is so different now with new technology, so I'm not entirely sure at the moment what I should be doing. But the most important thing is still making connections with the audience, and with all the other great acts on the bill, it should be an amazing night to do that."

LIVE TYLER SCHWENDE BAND WITH MANDIPPAL JANDU, PRIZE FIGHTER AND MATT YORK GIG THEATRE, 137 ONTARIO ST., KITCHENER AUG. 18 7 P.M. $10
- The Record Newspaper


"2008 Rocked: Here are 10 local reasons why"

December 31, 2008
Colin Hunter
NightLife staff

Here's my take on the year 2008: it rocked. It rocked for me because it was the year I started writing this column, Within Earshot, where I get to review a new local music release every week.

Through this column, I've discovered -- and, I hope, helped other people discover -- heaps and scads of great music being recorded right under our noses.

Granted, a few of the albums have been underwhelming, but the majority have showcased an impressive array of talent in the local scene.

And, of course, I had some favourites, which leads me to this:

My Top-10 Local Albums of 2008

10. The Tyler Schwende Band, Beautiful Catastrophe. A richly textured and slickly produced pop-rock record that belies the word "catastrophe" in its title. Though the songs are built on simple pop foundations, Schwende's musical chops shine through when he builds multi-layered instrumentals atop those foundations.
- The Record


"Schweet! - Interview with University Publication"

By - Amanda Steiner, Jan. 14, 2009.

Student by day, musician by night, Tyler Schwende is one of Laurier’s own fast-rising stars.
Determined to make music his life, Schwende focuses on making his songs and style special in order to stand out. And he hopes that his music is anything but ordinary.

“I want to be unique,” Schwende said to The Cord. “I want to try and stand out to some degree. I don’t just want to be another mediocre rock/pop band. I don’t want to be translucent.”

Schwende’s style is hard to describe – making his desire for distinctiveness an apt accomplishment. No two songs have exactly the same approach, which is a refreshing change from today’s monotony.

To most, it’s a rare thing to find a CD with a majority of songs you actually want to listen to.

Usually there are one or two good tracks, but often people don’t find the entire album good enough to buy. In the end, people just download.

The Cord asked Schwende for his perspective. “I do it too,” he said honestly. “Here’s my theory. If someone had eight amazing songs on an album that they worked really hard on, the album would sell. If they only have one or two good songs just to get it out there, people are just going to download the ones they like!”
It seems to Schwende that people have lost the true meaning of art in their music.

“Listen to old rock albums; you can listen to them right through. Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon, if you took any song out of that it wouldn’t make sense.

They all tell a story, there’s ups and downs, dynamics, and I just think people write different ways, to relate in different ways, and that’s what’s important.”

So how does Schwende do it? When asked, he said it can take him months to write a song.

“You can’t force creativity,” he said. “Sometimes you feel like writing and sometimes you don’t. It’s a long process. I want to make sure I have it right. There’s a whole story behind every song – it has to be perfect.”

When asked why he was majoring in business at Laurier, Schwende said he thought it was essential.

“Everyone knows the music industry is not entirely about music. It’s about business and understanding relationships and building it from there. So if you want to progress or meet promoters, or agents or anything like that, you have to understand [the business] side of it.”

And the music industry is unquestionably a challenge. “The biggest one,” Schwende said, “is definitely direction – where to go and how to make it. There’s no clear route to the top anymore, it’s gone. Finding that is the most difficult task.”

With the accessibility of the Internet and so many people thinking they have the talent to be musicians, it becomes hard for artists like Schwende to progress.

“Everyone thinks they can sing but, I’m sorry, you make it worse off for people like me.”

“If you’re really going to do this, do it 110 percent or don’t do it at all. I might seem harsh, but I work so hard at this. I want this to be my career; I’m so passionate about it.”

It’s clear that this passion was put to work on 2008’s Beautiful Catastrophe, the band’s radio-friendly debut album.

The record showcases Schwende’s keen pop sensibilities, featuring slick production values and a rich, orchestral vibe.

Moreover, it’s Schwende’s talent as a frontman that is sure to catch your attention – it can’t be denied that the man has pipes. But if there’s one thing he prides himself on, it’s his song-crafting ability.

“A lot of my music is theme-writing,” Schwende said. “Creating characters and creating visual characterization. There are a lot of stories on the CD, like a take on a soldier, and also one on an individual and his romanticized take on the simple life.”

Schwende is different and catchy – bridging the gap between creativity and pop music and doing it in a way that is both accessible and memorable.

When asked for some advice to give to other hopeful musicians, Schwende replied, “Make it your passion, make it your life. If you’re not willing to do that then there’s no point.”

Aspiring Laurier songwriters and music fans alike can catch Schwende as he performs with his full band February 7 at Maxwell’s Music House on King at 9:00 p.m. Entrance fee is only $5.
- The Cord - Wilfrid Laurier University Publication


"There's Nothing Catastrophic Here - Beautiful Catastrophe Album Review"

December 04, 2008
Colin Hunter
NightLife staff

The name of The Tyler Schwende Band's new album, Beautiful Catastrophe, is only a half-truth.

Thankfully, the true half is the first bit: "Beautiful."

"Catastrophe," on the other hand, is a rather ill-fitting adjective to describe an album as catchy, self-assured and repeatedly listenable as this one.

But in fairness, titles like "Beautiful Catchiness" and "Beautiful Repeated-Listenability" just don't have as snazzy a ring to them as Beautiful Catastrophe.

The album is actually named after its second track, a straight-ahead, melodic pop-rocker that evokes bands like Billy Talent and My Chemical Romance.

That song lays a solid foundation for the rest of the album, which remains accessible and radio-friendly while galloping through moods, tempos and songwriting styles.

The title track is sandwiched by two songs that nicely juxtapose it -- the pulsating rocker After All is Said and Done, and the soft piano ballad You're My Undertow.

Tyler Schwende is a familiar face to anyone who frequents the live music scene in Waterloo Region. When he's not playing with his full band, he's often playing solo or jamming with SweetFire guitarist Jesse Webber (in a duo dubbed Schwebbs).

Beautiful Catastrophe finds Schwende's full band firing on all cylinders, building lush arrangements atop standard pop foundations. Guitars, bass and drums are bolstered by piano and electronic instrumentation, along with Schwende's versatile vocals.

In lesser hands, an album like this one could have indeed become a catastrophe -- a by-the-numbers rehash of clichéd pop hooks and lyrics. There are plenty of catastrophic albums out there treading all-too-familiar territory with predictably paltry results.

But Schwende is clearly a notch above such peers as a songwriter and a player, and his band is suitably talented to do his songs justice.

Schwende and the boys will officially launch the album with a Dec. 13 gig at Maxwell's Music House Waterloo. It oughta be beautiful
- The Record


"Potentially Beautiful - Tyler Schwende Band Interview"

Tyler Schwende ready to turn up the volume with his new band
March 19, 2009
Jason Schneider
for NightLife

You don't have to spend too much time around musicians to know that punctuality is not one of their strong suits. So it was a nice surprise when Tyler Schwende actually called five minutes prior to our scheduled phone interview time. It was only the first indication of the excitement the young Waterloo singer/songwriter is feeling about the release of his six-song debut EP, Beautiful Catastrophe, along with playing his first shows with his new full-time backing band.

"We're just starting to get a head of steam behind us," Schwende says.

"I want this to be my career, so we're trying to build a network that will hopefully help us get somewhere. I'm thrilled that the EP's been getting good reviews so far, because I haven't had time to mount any kind of radio campaign. I'm finishing my degree at (Wilfrid) Laurier right now, but by the summer I'm planning on devoting all my time and energy to music."

Beautiful Catastrophe is certainly a good starting point: a well-written, well-executed jolt of modern, melodic rock. Schwende says it was a year in the making, and the attention to detail proved to be crucial.

"I originally wanted to put out a full-length album, but all the time and money we invested ended up only allowing us to finish six songs," he explains. "But my producer, Sean Riley, was excellent. He really got the sound I was looking for."

Although Schwende can regularly be heard around town playing as part of an acoustic duo with Jesse Webber from the band Sweetfire, he says that he only has his band in mind now when he's writing songs.

"Having the band now sort of completes my vision as a songwriter. I really hate playing my songs as an acoustic artist, because it just feels like I'm missing so many of the elements."

Schwende adds, "I understand that a song's greatness is often determined by how it sounds bare-bones, but I feel like my stuff has a lot of complex rhythmic parts going on that I just can't reproduce on my own. I really see playing with the band all the time as my future."

Schwende also plans on putting out another record in some form later this year, and he's started that process by working on new material with Ian Smith of Spirits/Miniatures fame. The pair met at last year's Word On The Street festival, where they each played solo sets, and began collaborating soon after.

"I've always been impressed by what he's done, and I think he was impressed by how passionate I was about what I was doing, so it kind of went from there," Schwende says. "We've written one song together so far, and I'd like to see him get a few more credits on the next thing I put out. It's kind of hard right now though because I haven't really seen Beautiful Catastrophe reach its full potential yet. Somehow I have to figure out how to focus on the songwriting, while at the same time expanding the fan base and seeing how far this record will take me."
- The Record


Discography

2008 - Tyler Schwende Band - Beautiful Catastrophe
- Named one of the 10 ten local albums of 2008 by Kitchener-Waterloo Record.
- Tracks receiving airplay:
-- "After All Is Said and Done"
- Currently in day time, regular rotation at CFCA 105.3 KOOL FM in Waterloo.
- In rotation at CJIQ 88.3 FM, Conestoga College's New Rock station
-- "Beautiful Catastrophe"
- Showcased on University of Waterloo's station 100.3 FM & Mohawk College's station C101.5.
- Entire album on rotation at Radio Laurier, Wilfrid Laurier University's online radio station.

2007 - Tyler Schwende - Self Titled EP
- Song "Roads to Nowhere" received consistent airplay at 94.3 FAITH FM.
- Showcased on CJIQ, 88.3 FM.
- Multiple tracks played on Radio Laurier, Wilfrid Laurier University's Online radio station.

Photos

Bio

The Tyler Schwende Band’s debut EP, Beautiful Catastrophe, is a modern edgy pop-rock release from a 24-year-old singer, songwriter and guitarist inspired by grander world issues and more personal self-assessment.

Produced by up-and-comer Sean Riley (Oceanship, Prizefighter), and mixed by Siegfried Meier (The Salads, Holly McNarland, Seconds to Go), the EP was named one of the top 10 local albums of 2008 by Colin Hunter of The Record. He labels the disc “accessible and radio-friendly while galloping through moods, tempos and songwriting styles,” and added it to his fave list, even though it only came out in December. Since then, the band has already garnished rave reviews from other local publications , opened for Canadian rock staples the Trews and in turn a growing, devout fan base.

After only one year since Schwende's first solo release, his songwriting has improved exponentially. The evidence is in his new band's polished, dynamic sound that boasts definite mainstream appeal. One listen through Beautiful Catastrophe proves that Schwende’s evolution is the real deal. The six-song recording explores the reaches of melodic, crashing guitar-filled rock to delay-soaked, ambient pop. Moreover, the EP’s rich orchestration weaves tales of overcoming tragedy, regret, and love that seamlessly flow in and out to create a sonic journey that draws the listener in. Finally, tying the album together are Schwende's powerful, ethereal vocals that one cannot help but take notice.

In the end, this band is intent on not becoming translucent among today’s modern pop/rock. Instead, their desire to move audiences with their unique voice puts them on a path that is bound for success.

For the band's full bio check out: www.tylerschwende.com

"Beautiful Catastrophe is certainly a good starting point: a well-written, well-executed jolt of modern, melodic rock. Schwende says it was a year in the making, and the attention to detail proved to be crucial."
- Jason Schneider, The Record

"Schwende’s style is hard to describe – making his desire for distinctiveness an apt accomplishment. No two songs have exactly the same approach, which is a refreshing change from today’s monotony. To most, it’s a rare thing to find a CD with a majority of songs you actually want to listen to"
- Amanda Steiner, The Cord Weekly

"Beautiful Catastrophe finds Schwende's full band firing on all cylinders, building lush arrangements atop standard pop foundations. All while the album remains accessible and radio-friendly while galloping through moods, tempos and songwriting styles."
- Colin Hunter, The Record