Storytellers takes a glimpse into an artist’s inner psyche through a story of their choice.
A late 80′s cartoon called Vytor: The Starfire Champion, some fictional characters named Skyla and Myzor Sarcophogus, and a pair of animation-studio-running parents had a lot to do with Tyler Burton’s decision to name his future-r&b project Vyxor.
I grew up in an animation studio. Every day after school I was in the animation studio. Late nights at the animation studio, cereal for dinner. Walk past reception, past the darkroom. The storyboards were tacked on every wall, so you could follow the narrative down the hall (the dino dude grabbed his skateboard and gave chase in panel three). Walk through the corrosive cloud spilling out of the ink and paint department, past the clumsy grey-green Moviolas, outside into the parking lot, past the porn studios and the model airplane manufacturer, the budget movie theater and 50′s diner, and into the quiet, comforting mush of the light-industrial enclave of the San Fernando Valley.
In 1989, Vytor the Starfire Champion teamed up with Skyla to defeat Myzor Sarcophogus and reclaim the Saturn Orb. This sci-fi battle for power and peace and one-liners was fought over a period of four episodes and then quickly shut down. Big production costs and no toy deal contributed to an early cancellation. Even the awesome lightning-summoning synthesizer weapon featured in episode #2 couldn’t save it.
The studio quickly moved on to other projects. And I casually watched over the next decade or so, immersed but never a part of the meetings and deadlines, the successes and stresses, the gleefully dirty-minded illustrators and voice actors, the Northridge earthquake, the devastating water damage, the multiple relocations, the dedication of a small team, the steady decline and eventual closure.
I’ve been composing and recording for many years now, but recently my method shifted, and my music changed. Unsatisfied with my standard cache of emotional tropes and genre signifiers, I wanted to create a narrative outside of myself, a separate universe, something cartoonish and a little silly, operating at an exaggerated velocity. A new property with shades of sci-fi, unto itself, and probably no toy deal. I looked back and decided to borrow the Starfire Champion’s name, accidentally tipping over the ‘t’ in the process. I invoked Vytor’s name to summon the promise of an animated epic filled with sky castles and magic orbs, but more importantly, to remember the studio at its best: the positive creative fantasy without the business. The name looks convoluted, but there’s a simple, personal meaning behind it. It gives me the strength to continue working on this musical passion project, which luckily, no one can cancel.