Westend—aka Tyler Morris—is part of a cohort of stateside producers whose arrival signaled a dramatic shift in the prevailing sound of house music. When future house exploded, they swerved left and took on an aesthetic brimming with the soulful swagger of classic New York house, bubbling notes of a bass-forward UK aesthetic, and a touch of West Coast wonky weird. As tech-house eclipsed EDM as the sound-of-the mainstage, Morris found himself at the forefront of a movement that brings house music full circle. American producers are once again at the helm of the culture. And his ever-expanding sonic footprint is the blueprint for a new generation of producers. He now boasts releases on Insomniac Records, Sink or Swim, Solotoko, and Repopulate Mars. He's among the top-selling tech-house artists on Beatport. Yet, even his early releases on the now-defunct Audiophile imprint, an incubator for innovative artists like Dillon Nathaniel, J Worra, Black V Neck, and Steve Darko, were a strong indication of his future status. They showed signs of his trademark polish and ability to channel classic sensibilities into a modern context. There are no childhood dreams of stardom in his past, though. He only considered himself a casual listener until high school, his taste shifting from East Coast hip hop to rock and pop. "I never played an instrument or anything. I was never listening to music all the time," he explains. "It was more in the car, on the bus to school. I didn't go to many concerts when I was very young.” In the late aughts, the internet and dance music created a perfect storm that became a vector for the rise of dance music in the US. The blog house era found the union between the slinky funk of house and the brash fuck it all attitude of punk rock. And as the internet eclipsed radio as a medium for discovery, a new generation was initiated into the eclectic spirit that birthed house music in the 80s. “Justice was really big for me. I listened to their album Cross front to back and I was like, this is bad ass because it kind of has like that rock and roll to it. But it's pretty much all electronic.." His iPod overflowed with tracks from MSTRKRFT, Crookers, Bart B More, and the Bloody Beetroots downloaded from Limewire, the peer-to-peer music sharing site. He even admits that he owned a replica of the iconic Bloody Beetroots mask. As luck would have it, Morris went to the Bronx High School of Science, alma matter of famed synth engineer and inventor Robert Moog. The digital music lab donated by Moog's family introduced him to the tools for production. And the unique way New York City kids throw a high school rager drew out the performer hidden within. Kids in the suburbs throw parties at home when their parents leave for the weekend (or so the movies say). When you share walls with your neighbors, you have no such luxury. City kids used fake IDs to secure venues for micro-raves. They hire their adolescent friends with DJ controllers to soundtrack the night. “I had a friend that was a DJ. And I was like, I want to do that, I want to be the one behind the decks kind of controlling energy, the room.” So, he went and got a $150 Vestax controller. His love for the culture truly blossomed when he went to Terminal Five in NYC. He was lucky enough to catch Gessafelstein’s first US appearance in 2014. “That was the first time that I got like, obsessed with music. When it wasn't just listening to music in the car. I was like this is gonna be my personality.” Morriss went off to college at Duke University and returned home to start a job in tech. All the while plugging away at music and gigs here and there to keep the fires burning. “I think the big turning point for me," he begins. "I was getting a lot of support from other DJs like Justin Martin was playing a lot of my music, I just had signed to Dirtybird. I just felt like there was this real kind of momentum there. I really believed that I could make this project bigger and turn this momentum into something bigger.” The sense of clarity that comes with devoting your life to art comes with pervasive uncertainty. Those who succeed do so with either the power of belief or confidence that makes failure impossible. “I'm not a very physical verbal manifester,” he admits, “but I do have a confidence.” "Yeah, you kind of can manifest it, if you if you really do believe. For me, it's a little bit more subtle. I'm not doing these chants every morning. I don't have a whiteboard." He takes a practical approach to his success, he says. "You know, if I ever—and this happens all the time—get down, get like a little imposter syndrome. The little devil on your shoulder is like, 'yeah, you're a fraud.' " He continues, "You kind of feel like, no, I've done X, Y, Z to get to this point, and I'm gonna do X, Y, Z more to get to the next point.” His practical positivity shines through in everything he tells me. Even when he talks about how he turned the pandemic into an opportunity for himself and others. He started receiving messages from producers asking for tips and lessons. When he was touring, he never considered teaching an option. But with the extra time on his hands, he decided to take on a few students. He now leads a community of producers who depend on each other for feedback and advice. He prides himself on being a source of goodwill and encouragement for the community. “I kind of fell in love and got a passion for just teaching other people and, you know, helping other people and really seeing them take in things and improve. It's a great feeling.” It's not all about production tips. He has some practical advice for producers. "When you're a[n] up and coming artists, and you start to have some success, there's a temptation to repeat the formula over and over again." It's a trap he fell into after he signed "Ambidextrous" to Dirtybird. "I was thinking too much about making this song for this one moment in the set." His output over the last year has more range. It's intentional, he tells me. "If you're playing basketball and you're just shooting three-pointers all the time, yeah, there are players like that that serve like one role. But that's not who I want to be. I want to be able to make music that you want to listen to on a road trip, and that you want to listen to in a club."
Born and raised in New York City, Tyler Morris, better known as Westend, is a 27 year old shining star in the tech-house music scene. A fascination with electronic music led him to dive into music production during his teenage years while attending the Bronx High School of Science, the same school attended by synth pioneer Robert Moog. He adopted the moniker Westend, a tribute to the area of NYC that nurtured his musical passion.
During his teenage years, Westend developed a deep appreciation for the sounds of MSTRKRFT, The Bloody Beetroots, and Justice. This musical influence coupled with his city's energy has shaped his unique sound, a dynamic blend of driving basslines, polished vocals, and meticulous production. His distinctive style catapulted him into the spotlight in 2018, as he continued to demonstrate his remarkable production skills through a series of successful tracks released on renowned labels such as Solotoko, Toolroom Records, Techne, Repopulate Mars, and Insomniac Records.
His ability to remain on the leading edge while staying true to the roots of house music has created peak dancefloor moments for ravers across the globe and led to releases on esteemed imprints like Repopulate Mars, Insomniac, Armada, and D4 D4NCE. As one of Beatport's top ten best-selling tech house producers, hit records like 2021's "Jumpin'"—with fellow New Yorker CID—have not only spent weeks dominating the top of the charts, they've landed into the crates of MK, Diplo, Lee Foss, John Summit, and Sonny Fodera.
Each passing year brings breakthrough moments. In 2022 he collaborated with latin house kingpin, HUGEL and Cumbiafrica on "Aguila," which sat in the top 10 for a staggering eight weeks. In 2023, he collaborated with longtime friend Noizu on the rave-tinged anthem "Push To Start," which quickly rocketed to peak positions on the tech house and overall chart. While he continues to climb the charts, he's also been a faithful steward of the producer community leading the Kick and Bass network, where he shares his vast production knowledge with several hundred budding producers.
As 2023 moves forward, Westend continues to produce infectious tracks like his latin house heater "Maracuya" released on Spinnin Deep and "Over" with Maur & Cami Bear released on Toolroom Records. Beyond his production prowess, Westend crisscrosses the country, regularly performing at festivals and clubs from EDC and CRSSD to Shambhala and The Brooklyn Mirage. He made his first forays onto the international scene with gigs in Liverpool and a desired set time on Insomniac's kineticFIELD at EDC Mexico.
Westend's creativity is constantly expanding and his plans include launching his label in late 2023 and embarking on his first solo headline tour. His remarkable journey from throwing micro-raves for New York high schoolers to headlining festival stages exemplifies how the DIY spirit of dance music continues to permeate the culture.