The music world doesn't happen on its own. What we see on the surface is the result of passionate people behind the scenes, writing, creating, organizing, promoting, and working tirelessly to bring music to the venues, bars, and houses of Metro Phoenix. We will look at 25 here, some familiar, some new . Be sure to check out our 100 Tastemakers and 100 Creatives as well.
Phoenician Tyler Broderick has been around long enough to see the changing of the guard in the DIY music scene. The people he grew up watching and idolizing have left Phoenix or stopped performing, and a new wave of artists has risen in their place.
"I see the past five years as a transitional time," Broderick says. "I wouldn’t see it as a ‘passing down the torch’ thing, either. It’s a whole new torch. I’m stoked to see younger bands doing stuff more and more often. Appreciate them now, Phoenix! If you don’t, they’ll all move to Seattle or Philadelphia."
But Broderick is one of those musicians who has stayed, and the music community is stronger as a result. He grew up in Mesa and has been living in Phoenix since 2012, and he's been all over the music scene ever since. In 2007, when he was 14, his parents drove him to the first concert he played downtown, at (naturally) Trunk Space. That's when his world really changed.
"I feel lucky enough to have caught a quick glimpse of what Phoenix was like before a lot of the gentrification, or at least that’s how I feel," he says. "I’ve stayed in Arizona for a lot of reasons, but it all boils down to music."
He's best known for his solo project Diners (which just released a full-length album, three) though he's been a member of a number of other groups, notable Dogbreth, through the years. He writes pop songs, he says simply, inspired by artists like the Beach Boys and Harry Nilsson.
"I purposely try not to stylize the songs I write; I try to let the songs stylize themselves," he says. "If I write a good song, it’s purely coincidental. I’m totally fine with writing a bad song because I feel it’s almost out of my control."
He's also a great booster of the scene, approaching the DIY world with unflinching optimism.
"I love seeing what people are working on and I love being inspired by my friend's art," he says. "It feels good to support passionate artists. The music community is my social life and my artistic life in one."
We talked to Broderick about the needs of the music scene, the best places to see shows in the Valley, and what's influencing his music.
How would you describe what you do? Lately, my approach is to be less of a songwriter and more of a “songfinder”. Sometimes I’ll be at work or driving in the car and a melody or hook or something will pop into my head. I’ll have to hum the melody into my phone’s audio recorder to remember it and come back later to try and let the song write itself or find it’s path. Letting the song write itself can make me a little indecisive sometimes, but I interpret it as subconscious songwriting.
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What makes a good song? There are so many different kinds of good songs out there, I just think there's no wrong way to write a song. Like, it's a good song if you like it! Growing up with The Trunk Space, I was able to witness an eclectic music community that spanned a kinds of genres, sounds, people, and statements. I believe that was crucial for me. Really broadened my taste and changed me for the better. It's all relative. I like a lot of music that's the exact opposite of what I do. I like music with important or new statements too. A song is good if you like it!
What's your favorite local band? Gosh, I love so many artists, but if I had to pick just one it one, I’d say that Cesar Ruiz is probably favorite artist in Arizona. His album "Bb" is phenomenal! Cesar is a wiz with his songs and production. He makes me rethink what I’m doing all the time, he writes songs that I wish I wrote.
What do you think the music scene needs most? Inclusivity. The community needs safer spaces, big time. We have too many "cool guys" and cool guy clubs. Too many all straight, cis, white guy shows and not enough folks out there actively trying to book more diverse shows. I need to do a better job at it and other bookers can do better job at too. I see younger people in the community getting this and pushing for it, I see mostly older people complaining or not caring. I’ve heard a lot of people in our music scene, who believe themselves to be allies to oppressed peoples, say all kinds of dopey, classist, transmisogynistic crap and it's depressing.