“I never meant to play or record In Your Name , I never meant to write it either. I was sitting on the porch at my parent’s house when her doctor called to tell us that her sickness had gathered enough momentum and velocity that it was now an unstoppable force, and ultimately that she was going to die soon.

All of the years of my family praying that she would get better shot through my mind, and then alternatively, all of the things people had claimed God had answered their prayers about – weather, sports, traveling mercies or whatever. It seemed so trivial and impossible. Like the big power was only toying with us. I wrote In Your Name in only a few minutes longer than it takes to play it. It came out of me, pretty angry, and some of the things I had been afraid to vocalize for a lot of years, when it was still possible that she could get better”

Tyson took a little time out too answer some of our questions whilst on a USA tour with James Bay.

Is Tyson Motsenbocker your real name, where does it come from?

It is my real name. It’s German. It’s hard to spell.

When I was a kid my dad told me “Tyson, you have a really strange name. Everybody will remember the way you made them feel and they will attach it to your name.” So when people ask me if I’m going to change my name, I tell them that I’m keeping it even though it’s a pain in the ass.

Where do you come from and where are you living now?

Originally Eastern Washington State, all over the cold high desert of Washington State in the Pacific Northwest. Now I live in Southern California.

You always have a camera with you, what camera’s do you use and where can we see your pictures?

I carry around a 70’s Pentax K1000 film camera. Being a touring musician it gets really easy to have your entire life blur into a sequence of road images and late nights. I decided a few years ago to make active steps towards capturing the present, I think as a response to feeling like my life was slipping by me without pulling the diamonds out as it was passing. I decided to write everyday and take photos of the places I saw, which has helped a lot. You can see some of my photos here:


Are all the songs on Letters To Lost Loves based on real experiences?

Letters is almost 100% autobiographical, maybe with the exception of the song House in the Hills, which was born out my imagination walking around the WWI museum in Kansas City. Most of the songs were written while I was walking from San Diego to San Francisco after my mom passed – or, specifically the content was created.

Where did you record the album?

We did half of it in San Diego and half of it in Victoria BC. I think records emulate the places they are made. I wanted a bit of my past and my present, being California and the green rainy North West.

When we were talking about making a video for this song, I wasn’t sure how we could do it without it feeling too self-serious or on the nose. The filmmaker for this video, Dustin Miller had a friend in Florida who traveled around taking pictures of people living in these run down motels on the main drags of the coastal towns. I imagined all of those people, living out hard times under the evangelical fear of the American South. Something about this guy seeing the trouble that the cultural church didn’t, it felt like a parallel image of the song.

Feature by Simon Jay Price