Sunday 4 November 2012

Tyler Hilton // Headline UK Tour Interview & Live Review

The last time Est.1987 caught up with Tyler Hilton it was back in June and he was over here for the first time supporting Boyce Avenue. After falling in love with the UK, he is currently working his way through his first European headline tour and with most of the dates selling it he has definitely made an impression.

Est.1987 headed down to Manchester to chat with the main man himself and see what his headline show had to offer…

Tyler Hilton onstage in Manchester 

So, when we saw you last it was your first time over here supporting Boyce Avenue. Now you’re on your first UK headline tour; how’s it been playing a full set?
Yeah, because I normally do these kinds of sets in the States but here I was more shocked that people have actually come to the shows. We started small to see if anyone would come and lots of people have been coming down.

A lot of the shows have sold out; was that unexpected?
Yeah, I didn’t expect that at all. But the exciting thing is I want to keep coming back, so I was hoping I would do well here so I can have an excuse to come back and it is. So that’s been the most surprising part.

Tonight is the last night in the UK before you head off to mainland Europe; have you been able to see more of the UK this trip?
I haven’t done any sight-seeing at all. I mean the main part of the country that I got to see was driving here from Glasgow last night and today; it was beautiful. I got to see a little bit of London, but the inside of the venues are pretty much all we get to see. I’ve seen some things today that I never get to see in the States; I saw the most amazing rainbow! I never thought I would be so into a rainbow in my life. I was like “that looks fake, it looks like a CGI rainbow” and the scenery was just beautiful.

And did you get to try some good Scotch after tweeting about it?
Yeah, someone gave it to me at the venue last night as a gift for selling out, so it was perfect. I’m still on the fence if I like it. Sometimes I love it; sometimes I’m like I don’t know if I can do it.

Tyler Hilton on his debut UK headline tour

Do you feel like you’ve shaken off “Chris Keller” yet and become a stand alone musician, or I guess because One Tree Hill was such as huge show do people still associate you with him?
I don’t know right now because the show just ended this year and I think a lot of the fans that are here are One Tree Hill Fans. So I’m sure at some point something else will take its place and at the moment I don’t mind. I think a lot of the fans are excited to see someone from the show and it’s just exciting to be around people that are stoked.

You played some of your own music in the show as Chris Keller so there is that crossover as well
Yeah, exactly.

Would you say you get more nervous before going on stage or onto set acting?
Definitely on set; I’m more comfortable here going on stage.

Tyler Hilton
I would’ve thought it was the other way around; on stage you only get one chance and it’s make or break whereas on set you can always re-take
I know, it’s weird. That’s true, but I’ve been doing the live thing for so many years. I started when I was fifteen and I’m twenty-eight now. Being on set is still kind of new to me. By the end of One Tree Hill I was a little more comfortable, but if I had to film something tomorrow I would be like “wait, how do I do this again?”

You’re on tour with Dion Roy; is he a friend from America and how did you get him on the line-up?
We originally met on a tour two years ago and since then I hired him as my manager and he’s always doing such a great job for me. So, this is kind of fun for us, I wanted to do Europe with a friend and he always wanted to tour Europe. We’ve learnt a lot and we really want to come back.

It was Halloween last night when you played in Glasgow? Halloween’s quite a big thing in America – how was it being over here for it? Did you get dressed up?
I didn’t really get dressed up, but everyone else was. I didn’t really have time to get a costume, but I got a fake moustache and some vampire teeth, but people there were like dressed up, which was cool. But yeah, in the States it’s really big. My neighbourhood is really cute, there are a lot of little houses, and so now I love to put some liquor in a flask and walk around with my friends all dressed up and watch all the little kids trick or treat. It’s so fun.

What’s next for you musically and touring?
Yeah my last tour ends at the end of January so just touring until then and then I’ll look into doing some more acting and writing for this record next year. I have to be back at home to write really but I can write and do acting at the same time. With all the travelling I feel like when I’m on tour my job is mostly meeting people and loading gear so there’s not a lot of time to write.

Tyler on stage at Manchester Academy 2
You also have your record label. Would you ever want to expand it and get other bands signed to it? Or was it set up purely with the intention to release your own records?
Yeah, I really want to. I’ve looked at some other artists but before I rush into anything like that I wanted to make sure I really knew what I was doing on my record. And I put out a live record too and just kind of figured out all the kinks. I’ve always wanted to get other artists involved, but I don’t want to put them through some of the things I had to go through in the past.

Are you business minded and are you enjoying having that control?
Yeah I am; I’m surprised about how much I like that side of it. But I think it’s just having years of not liking how things were going and then realising I can just do it myself.

And here’s what happened when Tyler Hilton took to the stage…

Tyler in Manchester
Tyler already admitted that he was surprised that so many UK audiences were coming down to support him on what was his first UK headline tour and the Manchester crowd were out in full force. Confessing that this would be the biggest crowd he was playing to, on the final night in the UK, it was set to be something special.
Treating fans to newer hits and Tyler classics, he also dropped in the odd One Tree Hill song for the plethora of fans of the show that had come to check out Tyler Hilton “the musician”. And no one was disappointed. With only Tyler on the stage all eyes were on him; vocally, musically, the entire performance. However, this is something that isn’t new to Tyler and his raspy vocals and intricate guitar playing holds the room through songs such as “Jenny” and “When It Comes”. Up on stage alone also has its benefits; Tyler isn’t locked down to a definitive set list and this only works in his favour. He feeds off the crowd; his set is both organic and focussed, but he finds time for spontaneity. The audience don’t know what’s coming next, including a cover of John Waite’s “Missing You” alongside his own “Prince Of Nothing Charming”, the entire audience joining in. He even makes his own percussion by knocking on his guitar body.

Tyler Hilton 
“C’mon baby, why you shy?- you got this” laughs Tyler, talking to his guitar before breaking into the more folky, upbeat “California” which documents his eighteen year old self who went travelling. Next comes the more heartfelt love song “I Belong”: his voice breaking after the toll of the long tour, but this only works in his favour because the nature of the song.  Tyler also shakes things up a bit; “You’ll Ask For Me” transforms into Coldplay’s “The Scientist”, whilst his own hit “Kicking My Heels” turns into One Tree Hill’s theme tune which sends the crowd into a frenzy. The last time we saw Tyler in Leeds many of the crowd were new to his music but now, here in Manchester, there was an entire venue full of his fans. We even spied a Tyler Hilton banner or two! His storybook of folk-based songs with a classic rock n roll twist soon comes to an end with the gritty “Loaded Gun”.  “Thanks for coming”, says Tyler modestly before leaving the stage and the lights abruptly come on. After a few chants the audience soon woo him back onto the stage for one last song, “Ain’t No Fooling Me”. Tonight certainly confirms that there is definitely a place in the UK for Tyler Hilton.

Want even more of your Tyler Hilton fix? Click HERE to read our interview and review from back in June when he supported Boyce Avenue at Leeds Academy