Mandurah Millennials on a Mission: Introducing up-and-coming music and fashion icon Tye Turner

Tye Turner is a passionate and talented young creative, dividing his time between his love for music and fashion as both a well-known DJ and up-and-coming designer.

Rising up from humble beginnings, Tye taught himself how to DJ using YouTube videos and watching friends at house parties.

Since then he has gone on to play to thousands of screaming fans on some of Western Australia's biggest stages - including at Groovin' The Moo and Origin Fields festivals.

He is also building up his own fashion empire, Medicle - a self-expression of his personal taste, inspired by traditional uniforms.

At just 22 years old, Tye is driven, full of ideas and is only just getting started in carving out his own impressive career as a creative entrepreneur.

Tye is the fifth profile in the new Mandurah Millennials on a Mission series, as we meet the young people from around the region helping to shape a new narrative.

The series aims to provide an insight into some of the fresh new talent who have grown up in our great city, and are just getting started making a name for themselves.

Introducing Tye Turner

As Tye walked towards the cafe we had arranged to meet at, I recognised his iconic look from miles away.

He was wearing a black "Choose Hal" shirt I'd seen him sport in many an Instagram post, as well as dozens of bold rings across his fingers.

If I didn't already know him, his signature style might make me think he's a bit of a dark and mysterious character.

But, I've known Tye since he was knee high to a grasshopper - we even share the same birthday.

I have watched him pursue his dreams and take on the world quietly and confidently over the past few years.

Tye's latest business venture - his very own fashion label - adds to a long list of career goals this twenty-something has already achieved, including being a prominent Perth DJ.

It's not often someone rises up the ranks into a position of influence and recognition without getting a big head about it, but Tye is an exception to that.

And, despite everything he's already accomplished, Tye has plenty more vision and drive for future creative projects.

Let me tell you, you are going to hear a lot more of Tye Turner's name.

'I used to play the French horn'

Tye moved to Mandurah with his family when he was nine years old - first attending Halls Head Primary School before moving on to Dawesville Catholic.

This was about when I first met a very young and adorable Tye, along with his twin brother Jules. The pair's first friend in town happened to be my younger brother and the trio still to this day get along famously.

I remember Tye being top of his classes and quite academically focused, so my first question was how he ended up on this super creative path.

He takes a sip of his flat white and nods his head to agree.

"I used to play the French Horn in primary school so I guess I do have a bit of a music background," he laughed.

"But no, in high school I went to Frederick Irwin where I studied a lot of science and maths.

"It is interesting because I didn't follow that path."

I used to play the French Horn in primary school so I guess I do have a bit of a music background.

Burdened with the terrifying decision of what to do with our lives upon graduating high school, Tye decided to embrace his knack for science and maths and studied engineering at university.

Around the same time, local entrepreneur and last week's Mandurah Millennials on a Mission profile, Nic Bevan, had started up Ugly DJ Co with his close friend, Andrew Britton.

Tye tagged along to a house party with Nic and fellow Ugly DJ, Brodie Hedges, and fell in love with the tunes, the vibes, the whole atmosphere that the entertainment company promoted.

Tye, who was a few years younger than the boys and looking for a new hobby to break up all that university study, asked if he could jump on board as one of their resident DJs.

And he had no idea how that one request would change his whole life.

A Disc Jockey 

Disc Jockey doesn't quite have the same ring to it as DJ does it? Definitely not as cool.

But Tye oozes cool vibes, so let's stick with DJ.

"Everything I've done, my whole career, started with DJing through Ugly," Tye said.

Basically my first ever club gig was two weeks after I learned how to DJ.

"After that house party, I borrowed Brodie's controller and taught myself to DJ in a week. I started playing my own house parties for free to get experience and then Nic asked me if I wanted to open the first Ugly event.

"So basically my first ever club gig was two weeks after I learned how to DJ."

That was four years ago.

And Tye has spent almost every weekend since DJing in clubs and at festivals all around the state.

But, as he started to rise up the ranks of an ever-growing industry, Tye decided to put the traditional university journey on hold.

"It was hard to juggle because I was putting all my time into DJing and I was only just keeping up with my studies," he said.

"My parents put the hard word on me so I ended up changing course to app development, thinking it would be more interesting for me, but the whole time I kept doing events and DJing and that was my passion.

"It got to a point where I didn't have a real job but I was making my own way just doing this - I thought 'maybe I'm onto something'.

"I ended up going to uni for three years but I failed classes and so I dropped out with no degree. Even though that sucks, I said I would give myself one year to see if I enjoy what I'm doing and can make a living from it.

"That's been 2019 and it's been great, it's been crazy."

hanzo vs THAI

Tye splits his music talents between two main projects - hanzo and THAI.

Started with his mate, and the aforementioned Ugly DJ Brodie in 2016, hanzo is the duo's outlet for music production - a self proclaimed "experimental electronic project".

Just two years into that venture, Brodie and Tye had already released a track on a label, played at the famous Bunbury festival, Groovin' The Moo, and rocked the roof off plenty of Perth gigs.

Tye starts to move on but I interrupt him - "hold up, this was your first festival set in front of thousands! Tell me more!" I demanded.

"It was an unreal feeling," he laughed.

"It feels so different having that disconnect from the crowd because they're not right next to you. People were so far away and everyone was looking up at me - I was the thing, you know, it was crazy.

"The vibes were so good and everyone's there for the music - it was just very cool, a very big moment for us."

And then there's THAI - his own personal DJ brand that is making waves among the titans of the music industry.

With a gig scheduled in almost every Friday and Saturday night, he plays everything from party anthems to hip-hop, dubstep, trap and house music.

THAI has played to thousands of screaming fans on the main stages at Icecream Factory and Seasons, as well as at prominent Perth clubs Villa, Cheek and Metro City.

He has run his own event, Frankie's, under the banner of Ugly DJ Co, which have sold out all but once since they started over two years ago.

But, possibly his greatest achievement to date is playing at the iconic New Year's Eve festival - Origin Fields. Not just once, but twice.

Tye said there was a lot to love about getting up on that stage as his alter-ego.

"I always move around and dance and recently I've started using the microphone, which has been the best thing," he said.

"I value having stage energy and putting on a performance for the crowd. It's so much fun when everyone is getting involved.

"A lot of the opportunities I've had have been because of who I know. Of course, it's also talent and hard work but a lot of the time, that little push is networking."

Read more:

A year of tragedy and inspiration

While 2019 brought plenty of success Tye's way, it was also plagued by heartbreak.

I remember my brother telling me Tye and Jules' dad had passed away after fighting a long battle with cancer.

I wasn't going to bring it up in our interview to avoid sparking any painful memories, but Tye said it was a real turning point for him personally, and in his career.

"When dad passed away, I don't think I really mourned because he was really sick and I feel like it was what was meant to happen," he said.

"I was almost in denial. It was surreal and I didn't feel like he'd actually gone.

"It's such a weird thing to think that this person that's been with you for 21 years just isn't anymore.

"But I've taken on this idea of doing as much as I can to make my dad proud. Because of that, even though we lost him last year, I do think it was the best year of my life."

It's such a weird thing to think that this person that's been with you for 21 years just isn't anymore.

The reason? Medicle - Tye's very own fashion label, which hit the ground running, faster than he ever expected, about six months ago.

"At the start of 2019 I told myself I wanted to start my own fashion line but I'd do it in a few years," he said.

"Then my dad passed away and all these things were happening so I just asked myself 'why don't I start this now? If I start this now, who knows where I'll be in a couple of years when I said I'd start?'

"If you told me even a year ago that I'd have a fashion label, I'd say 'no way'."

Medicle

Despite being only 21 when he started toying with the idea of a clothing brand, Tye was looking for his legacy.

"Being a DJ is something you grow out of," he said.

"That inspired me to think of something I could do that people would remember me by."

And so Medicle was born - a line of luxury street wear inspired by business and office uniforms.

Tye describes it as his own self-expression of his personal taste for clothing.

"When I finished school I began to experiment with different styles, starting off surfy and changing a lot as I developed my own fashion sense," he said.

"I had no fashion knowledge or anything in high school, I didn't care about it at all but now, this label is my main goal at the moment.

"I have this crazy idea where I don't see myself ever having a 'real' job - I always want to be creative and find my own way. So the concept of uniforms is like me making my own uniform to go to my own job."

Tye launched the brand with his very own runway show featuring professional models, styled outfits and an audience waiting in anticipation.

His unique style has already taken the world by storm with a prominent Russian rapper getting in touch to request a shirt to wear at a gig of his own.

"Another guy wore one of my shirts at Rolling Loud in America," Tye laughed.

"The response has been really good so far and I've sold a lot more garments than I thought I would and it's only been up six months.

"I'm working on the next lot of stuff at the moment and that's going to be more specifically around office wear."

Lifestyle of an up-and-comer

Okay, so clubs, parties, festivals, his own fashion label? Surely this guy gets recognised out and about all the time, I'm thinking.

Instead of being subtle, I come straight out with the burning questions - "what's it like being famous?"

But an always-humble Tye denies this is even true - laughing off the suggestion and taking another sip of his now definitely cold coffee.

"I mean, it's a strange and surreal feeling to have people come up to me and congratulate me," he said.

"I appreciate that but it's weird to me because I'm just doing what makes me happy, I'm not doing anything in particular.

"I've realised that people trust my opinion and I do like the idea of being known, but more from an influential point of view where I can inspire other people.

"I don't want to be famous just for doing something dumb, I want to help people. So I try to portray myself as real as I can on Instagram - I think how you present yourself to the world is really important."

And he knows exactly where he came from, championing his regional roots in Mandurah.

"I still live in Mandurah, despite spending a lot of time in Perth, and I've got a lot of fond memories here," he said.

"Coming to the foreshore to hang out on the weekend, going to a movie and then getting icecream with friends - that was the spot where all the boys and the girls would come down and catch up.

"But now, in terms of support networks, creative people, people to talk to - there are so many in Mandurah. It's so collaborative."

It's always worth following your passion.

What good would a profile be without some closing words of wisdom to budding entrepreneurs or passionate music and fashion lovers?

Despite not feeling like he had quite earned the right to pass on advice, Tye's parting words were simple - "whatever you want to do, just do it."

"No one is forcing you to do anything you don't want to, just do whatever makes you happy," he said.

"But nothing happens overnight - no one goes from being nothing to a touring artist overnight. It will always be challenging but that's part of it.

"There were times that I wasn't making much money and I doubted if it was going to pick up or work at all. I've had so many failed events, I've played so many gigs where no one has rocked up, I've had so many gigs cancelled.

"But it's always worth following your passion."

The next Mandurah Millennials on a Mission profile will take a look at how a Mandurah local took her inquisitive nature and love for dogs and turned it into her own business as a canine behavioural therapist.