The evolution of a musician

[Photo courtesy of Tyler Carden]

Tyler Carden has always had an infatuation with music, whether it’s listening to it or writing it.

He first picked up his tenor saxophone and a pair of drumsticks at the age of 10. Later, in high school, he began playing guitar and bass.

Learning to play the drums came to him easily. “You hit something and it makes a sound. Basically everyone can play ‘Born to be Wild’ on drums,” he said. For Carden, learning guitar and bass was harder.

“You can’t just come out swinging and play ‘Stairway to Heaven’ on guitar. That’s just not how it works.”

More than 10 years later, his practice has paid off. At this point in his career, Carden, an FSU senior, has played in numerous rock bands.

From 2014 to 2016, Carden played drums in live shows for the band HADEAN. He also hit the studio to record the sax sections of the band’s first two albums.

“Musically, I focus on extreme metal … Stuff that’s more melancholic, misanthropic, slower. I’ve been playing drums in the style of death metal and black metal since I started playing,” he said. HADEAN falls into a number of those categories.

According to their bandcamp page, “HADEAN is a chamber metal quintet.” They have a unique sound that combines elements of black metal and progressive and post-rock.

While playing with HADEAN, Carden was also a resident assistant on campus. “I don’t find the job to be particularly stressful,” he said.

Carden said was able to manage working with both the band and his fellow students. For him, the hardest part was the distance. His drumset is an hour away from campus and most shows were farther than that.

Carden’s floor partner, junior Valerie Paradise, said working with him is a lot of fun. “He cares about the RA position and about his co-workers, and that’s obviously really important,” she said. When Paradise first started as an RA last semester, Carden would go out of his way to help her whenever she needed it.

He can’t go anywhere without listening to something. “He’s always playing music, including when he’s on duty,” said Paradise

Carden listens to a wide variety of music. “I’ve always focused on more extreme stuff, but I also like jazz and swing music,” he said. Carden also plays tenor sax in Framingham State’s Symphonic Band.

Dave Lombardo, the drummer of Slayer, and Buddy Rich, who Carden called “the best drummer of all time,” inspired him to take up the instrument.

But his greatest inspiration “as far as musicianship goes,” is Varg Vikernes, a Norwegian multi-instrumentalist who performed vocals, guitars, keyboard, bass and drums under the name Burzum. He released 11 albums between 1992 and 2014. “It’s cool when people can be multi-prolific in their abilities,” said Carden.

Senior Kelsey Morgan is a close friend of Carden’s. So close, they have matching tattoos of a Menzingers lyric. “Burzum comes up at least three times a day. At least,” she said. “He’ll just throw out these random facts about him. He plays him in the car a lot and talks about weird things Burzum fans do and the weird things Burzum himself did.”

Burzum was arrested for murder and burning down three churches in 1994.

Carden spent most of his high school days listening to Burzum. Vikernes “really inspired me to become more of a prolific self-musician,” he said. “He can write, record and release his own music. I’d love to be able to do that, too.”

Carden sees himself working on a project similar to Vikernes’ in which he plays all the instrumentation himself. However, he doesn’t “have the time to formulate songs right now” as a result of his academic endeavors, but down the line, he sees this happening. Every now and then, he’ll pick up his guitar and start writing a little. Eventually, this will evolve into a fully fleshed-out project.

While Carden appreciates the “three-or-four-minute straight-forward rock songs,” he figures that there can be more to a track than “just one tempo and one time signature.” He prefers to make and listen to longer songs because it’s “more of an experience,” he said. “I’ll just zone out and listen to it.”

He’s hopeful that he’ll be able to make his record, but it’s tough for him at the moment. Recording an album takes a lot of “effort and practicing that I just don’t feel that I can fully dedicate myself to right now,” said Carden.

Morgan thinks Carden “totally could” record an album all on his own. “He’s the kind of person who sets his mind on something and does it. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he composed an album entirely by himself.”

Carden said he wants to make music that’s recognizable. “You hear a System of a Down riff and you instantly know it’s them. You hear Gerard Way’s voice and it’s like ‘Oh, that’s My Chemical Romance.’ I like that distinct nature.”

While he wants to focus on more aggressive music when the time comes, Carden has also written a few pieces that “bridge the gap” between acoustic and metal.

He wrote more music as a freshman and sophomore than in the past two years. He hasn’t written anything since last semester, but he said he’ll “pick up the guitar every couple days and play around a little bit” just to make sure he hasn’t lost it.

Where Carden’s music career will take him in the future is a mystery. Who knows, maybe he’ll even teach himself how to play more instruments – the way Morgan put it “that kid can pick up any instrument and just play music.”

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