We had the good fortune of connecting with Tyler James and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tyler, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
Music impacts everyone. Notes strung together and played in sync with rhythm have a seemingly magical way of communicating across borders and languages. It’s an immensely powerful thing and can change the way that people experience life. I believe that music brings people together in ways that nothing else can. People rely on music for momentary enjoyment, to get them through the day, through their workout, to help them focus, to fire them up for protests, to party, to celebrate, while they’re in love, while they’re in lust, breakups, transitions, you-name-it, there are musical sounds that capture those moments, and that’s valuable. I think music has the power to heal and to unite, and I hope that I can be a bridge-builder with my music.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I make music called “Nice Ghost.” It’s a mashup of my favorite styles, with a deliberate dose of 90s flavor. I’m proud to have self-started the whole thing, and to have recorded everything myself. It takes an incredible amount of work, because I’m the only person responsible for anything Nice Ghost related. This makes me not just the artist/songwriter, but the session player, the producer, recording engineer, marketing manager, booking agent, social media manager, merchandise manager…. everything. It’s a lot of work, but I like it because it’s mine and I’m not micromanaged by anyone but myself. The challenges I’ve faced are often based in my mental health. It’s hard to wake up and work 12 hours when I don’t want to get out of bed some days, talk to anyone, or do anything. So, on my “bad days,” I have to either push myself to work, or push myself to be forgiving of myself for self-caring instead of working. I’ve burned myself out enough times to know now that taking breaks is necessary, and the grind-grind-grind-hustle-hustle-hustle mentality that seems so pervasive today is really harmful.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh, we live in LA, there are so many places. First thing I’d do though is take them for Leo’s Tacos Al Pastor, right when they get off the plane. They need to understand what our taco situation is all about here, and that’s a high priority. After that, over the week I think we’d spend a tremendous amount of time walking around and taking the metro – I know LA is a driving city for many, but for me, it’s best experienced on foot, so I make all my friends walk miles and miles with me when they visit. (Bonus, they get tired at a reasonable hour instead of wanting to go out at like, 11 PM.. which is not my favorite). Anyway, I’d make sure they load their metro TAP card, and we’d hop on board. Grand Central Market downtown, Arts District, Broadway, are among our first stops. I’d also be sure that we spent some time out by the coast – maybe an afternoon in Venice wandering around checking out shops and drinking fancy lattes. Griffith Park is also high on my list for a hike with a view, but if they’re up for it, I’d prefer to take them up to the Echo Mountain/Sam Merrill trail that starts in Altadena. That’s one of my favorite moderate hikes in the area. Now, if they’re REALLY, REALLY crazy like I am, I’d even consider doing a Mt. Wilson hike or Inspiration Point, something that will take up most of the day. Like I said though, that’s if they’re really ready. We’d get breakfast at Nick’s Cafe downtown, grab a burger for lunch at Father’s Office, slam some shrimp for dinner at Boiling Crab, and then probably once again, hit up Leo’s for late night tacos. I imagine we’ll go to Leo’s a few times, actually. Most of the time though, we’ll be soaking up the sun and sights on foot, or sitting on the metro, taking in the scene.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The last few years have really lit a fire of encouragement under me, and that’s largely thanks to anyone involved with The Foo Flannels (my local cover band) or Rock Circus LA. Stuart, Nathan, Chris, Phil, Teddy, Colton, Jason, Brock, Chelsea, Lisa-Marie, to name just a few. It all started as a side thing just for fun, but has since evolved into a lot more, and has been a really empowering experience. They’ve all encouraged me to be me, whether they realize it or not. I truly feel I’m surrounded with supportive people that want me to succeed, and that’s a beautiful and rare thing. I struggle a lot with self doubt, but I find that when I’m around my band mates in Foo Flannels or the Rock Circus scene, I feel like I can fly. I wouldn’t be pursuing “my own thing” right now if it weren’t for you all making me feel like I had something of value to offer. So, thank you to all of you.
Franny Kovacs, Teddy Ramirez, Tyler Miles, Salpy Talian