From the October 2021 Desktop News | Dr. Tyler Walker, an assistant professor at UA’s School of Music, is a man of many talents. In addition to teaching students music composition and serving as director of the Alabama Electronic Music Studios, he makes up one half of the experimental music duo Gone to Color.
Walker and his collaborator Matthew Heim formed Gone to Color in 2013, and released their first single, “The 606,” this year. The song made its mark in the indie music scene, and was featured in NPR’s All Things Considered, Paste Magazine’s 10 Best New Songs, and Vevo’s Incoming Indie YouTube playlist.
The duo began creating music together in 2004, after meeting at graduate school at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, where a late-night jam session in a concert hall became a nearly two-decade long friendship and musical collaboration.
Gone to Color’s collaboration doesn’t end at the duo—almost every track they’ve created has featured an external collaborator, many of whom Walker admired long before making contact. These collaborators include Jessie Stein of The Luyas, Merchandise’s Carson Cox, Wilco’s Pat Sansone, and Richard Devine. For Walker, these collaborations only strengthen the pieces that Gone to Color creates.
“Channeling your ideas through another individual’s creative filter is a really powerful process,” Walker said. “The question is, more or less, can you achieve something different by using teamwork? And the answer to that is always yes. My favorite part is working with artists who are inspiring and with whom you never anticipated crossing paths. Curating an experience can be a refreshing and rewarding experience.”
Through their own work and the help of their collaborators, Gone to Color has created a unique and individual sound. Explained by Walker as “electroacoustic experimentalism often featuring guitars and vocals,” Gone to Color’s music has been described by American Songwriter as “a vibrant synthpop project complete with sophisticated songwriting boasting a transportive, wonder-inspiring quality.”
Walker says that the journey he’s on with Gone to Color will allow him to teach his composition and electronic music students more about the music business. After graduate school, Walker was able to work with a Grammy-winning band, where he was able to use the best tools available to understand more about audio and how to balance creating art with the experience of sharing that art with the rest of the world.
“My experience taught me that having the best things, or a lot of awards, doesn’t make creating art any easier,” Walker said. “We need a healthy balance between intuition, process, technology, and how we frame our art in the world. My hope is that my students appreciate the constant encouragement to engage with the world and the people who inspire them. Musician employability demands a broad skill set not limited to writing down or performing notes.”
Since their debut single, Gone to Color has released four more singles, which have been included in several popular playlists, including Spotify’s Fresh Finds: POP, Brooklyn Vegan’s Weekly Playlist, NPR Music’s New Music Friday. They’ve also received coverage from the BBC, Sirius XM, and Under the Rader, among other major publications and music outlets. The band’s debut album releases in October 2021. To find out more or to listen to their music, visit their website.