[interview] with Androcell (by Gagarin Project)

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Dear psychill lovers,

as promised we present you an interview with Androcell, the enveloping, electronic dub infused music project of producer and artist, Tyler Smith. For almost two decades he has been at the controls of music production, experimenting with different styles and emotions in sonic art form. After four full-length albums plus various compilations, EPs, and remixes to the name, the Androcell project will soon release the 4th Androcell studio album entitled Imbue. This release will be free (pay what you want) for download through the Androcell Bandcamp page and for purchase in limited edition collector’s CD format directly through the project and Altar Records.

This interview was taken by Gagarin Project in september 2014 in awaiting the fresh release. Enjoy!

Hi Tyler, i am very happy to be able to chat with you and to ask this questions!

Hello and thank your for your interest in the project. :)

:) It looks like an important event is happening in the life of Androcell project. You are releasing “Imbue”, your fourth full length album, on October 17th, 2014. I would like to ask you some question about it. How long did it take you to write it and which was the oldest track from it written and which track was it ? 

Overall, it took me roughly 2 years to finally get what it is on the record. The oldest track is Root Of Pharmacology. I think I started it in August 2011 but I spent at least 9 months or more aside from this album working on the Entheomythic Remixed EP release in the time between then and now.

And how can you describe the sound of new Androcell release, in comparison with your previous works ? 

The sound of the new release is what I was feeling over the course of the past few years. I wouldn’t attempt to describe the sound but I can compare it with previous works in that it has a lot of diversity of style, bass, and feelings.

How would you say your music has evolved over the years? Your first album was released in 2004, how can you compare your first production with the latest ones, are they more complex, are they more or less organic, etc?

My production quality and song structures have been up and down over the 10 years span as Androcell. I just write what I feel so anything that seems more or less complex wouldn’t be apparent to me. Music is mostly about feeling to me which is why sometimes my work doesn’t always sound the best, but it hopefully is conveying a feeling I was feeling at the time or hoped others would feel.  Maintaining a suitable balance of organic and inorganic is what I seem to be always trying desperately to achieve.

Tell us, what was your inspiration to write this album? 

This album is about my personal life’s evolution. During the creation of it was a time of immense inner reflection to understand who I am now and what I have grown from.

We’ll change the subject a bit. What do you think about the piracy ?

In one way, it is free promotion as I know of people who downloaded pirated copies of my music first and then bought it directly from me later. Or they at least donated to me directly. I have a donation system set up at my website and people who download my music through free pirate websites can actually be cool and kick me some coin. But when I have found my music for sale through pirated websites, it has been a bit disconcerting. What does one do? Waste time merely “trying” to stop piracy and be angry or be happy, smile on, and keep writing new music that they do not have access to yet? The choice is simple for me.

Positive approach) What would you like to say to your listeners who would like to buy the album ?

When released on October 17th, 2014, you will be able to get the new album on CD from both the record label and directly from myself.
It will feature original cover art by artist Jack Shure:

www.jhsart.com

Quality mastering by Colin Bennun @ Stooodio Mastering, UK:
www.oood.net/mastering

CD will be available direct from the artist at:
www.androcell.com

The CD will also be available for purchase from Altar Records Bandcamp webpage:

www.altar.bandcamp.com

What would you like to say to your listeners that would like to download the album for free?

A free (pay what you want) digital download will only be available through my Androcell Bandcamp webpage:

www.androcell.com

How did you find your way to Altar Records ?

If I recall correctly, in the summer of 2013, label owner Gabriel (DJ Zen) and I were at a festival in Quebec and discussed the possibility of Altar Records releasing my next album on CD. I either pitched him the idea or vice versa, but either way we quickly became on the same page, so to speak, about releasing a full-length in alliance. Being friends already and having released Androcell and Distant System songs on his label in the past, I knew Gabriel would be a trusted and quality source for presenting this album on CD. Gab is a great guy and I really appreciate his label’s support with this release!

Cool! Since how long the album is ready? Did you have to wait to be able to release it or the september date was “reserved” before the album was finished? 

It was just wrapped up in the second week of September and sent off to the manufacturers so everything will hopefully be in order for a mid-October release date.

Who did the mastering ? Was it an easy process or there was several iteration on sound? 

Colin Bennun @ Stooodio Mastering in Bristol, UK did the mastering for this release.

www.oood.net/mastering

Sure, there were iterations but only due to minor, subjective elements. Colin knows what he is doing with his gear and that was clearly evident. Any changes were due in part to my personal sonic taste and nothing more. I had some personal preferences and Colin did an outstanding job working with those parameters while still using his professional judgment to achieve maximum sonic potential with my provided mixes.

We would like to hear your opinion on what you think about modern psychedelic downtempo music?!

The sound design and sound quality is pretty amazing sometimes. I feel pretty disconnected from what is modern but some tunes out there occasionally pass by my ears that just seem so absolutely top-notch it is ridiculous.

Do you listen to any of psy downtempo music ? If yes what are your recent favourite artists or albums ?

I feel I am too out of the loop with what is “recent” to be able to answer.  But I am constantly hearing amazing ideas and production / engineering from people all across the planet. A lot of people are finally finding an affordable approach to their creativity and so we are living in times of abundant musical output.

Right! What about the trance or techno music ? Do you like it ?

They are music styles that have their time and place for people wanting that vibe. I don’t really listen to either anymore but that is not to say I do not like it.

Fair enough. What music do you listen in the car?

Whatever CD I happened to remember to grab. If I forget one, then road noise becomes my driving soundtrack.

What kind of music do you listen at home ?

If I am not working in the studio, I generally am not listening to music as my ears generally get enough action in there during the days. If listening at home, the ipod is usually on random with stuff from my older music collection. If I really get in the mood for something specific I will put on the CD and lounge back with eyes closed to give it my full attention.

Nice) CDs , digital or streaming?

I prefer CDs but I am from an outmoded generation.

What do you enjoy in life apart from music ?

Aside from music I enjoy family and friends, good food, chilling out, being outdoors, and gardening to name a few.

Great! TV or books?

If I had to choose one over the other I would take books.

Alright, sound production or internet?

If you are asking would I rather be on the internet or creating music the answer is sound production. My studio machine is not connected to the internet for a reason. ;)

Perfect idea) What is Saiko Sounds ?

Saiko Sounds was a music distributor and music retail website based out of Hong Kong. Unfortunately, they are no longer in business.

What are your favourites sites in internet? 

www.synthtopia.com

www.soundonsound.com

www.synthmuseum.com

Where do you get your music news from ?

Artist websites and facebook pages.

We are curious if you visit psybient.org?! What do you think about this project and our current interface ? 

I do not but I really appreciate the support and awareness that you are helping to generate for artists. Thank you!

You are more than welcome, Tyler! We are working on the web forum project now, do you think that it is something that will be popular and in need? 

I wouldn’t know as I haven’t spent any time in a forum in years.

Got you! Do you have any musical education? If no, have you ever felt a lack of it?

I don’t know if I would call my background “musical education”. I rejected a lot of the formality of reading music and played by ear most of the time. I definitely feel a lack of musicianship and ability when it comes to playing stringed instruments and as I fumble around on the keys. I also feel a severe lack of training in sound engineering as I struggle on my own to learn how to make things sound better.

To go deeper into the music creation, tell me about your production tools, what DAW do you use now? What are your favourite VSTs ?

I currently use Ableton Live 8 and Apple Logic 8.  I really like the Urs Heckmann stuff. That guy is a REAL wizard.

www.u-he.com

I know you have some analog gear in your studio, what did you use for this album ? 

Access Virus Indigo B keyboard
Korg MS-20mini
Roland HPD-10
Moog MF-101
Boss SX-700

What are the monitors and sound card that you use in production? 

I have a few different monitor setups depending on the referencing situation.
Mackie HR-624mkII
Blueroom Minipods (original)
Boston MicroMedia 2.1
Alesis Elevate3

In the studio, my soundcard is a MOTU 24i unit which connects via a firewire cable to a dedicated MOTU PCI card in a MacPro Quad Core.

Tell us, what other musical projects are you invloved in? What are their styles?

I create music also as Distant System. It has been described as “Ambient Trance” but some of it also has slow break beat type rhythms as well. It is a great outlet for exploring a purely electronic sound scheme and the science fiction / space motif.

– Many of your listeners and readers of thie interview would like to start producing, what would you recommend them to to start with? Did you learn sound production with somebody or are you a self-taught artist ?

I am 100% self taught. There are probably many shortcomings to my work with this approach. But I will always say to anyone interested that they should just a get a decent laptop running Logic or Live along with a decent keyboard controller with knobs and teach their self if they are passionate enough. That is enough stuff to try and learn the ropes and keep a novice busy for a few years. If you lose interest, then you didn’t break the bank. If you gain interest, just move on to what naturally feels is the next evolution in your process, like possibly buying a nice outboard synthesizer. I originally taught myself Digital Performer 2.7 and wrote the first two Androcell albums in DP on a G4 powerpc tower by sequencing and recording a lot of outboard gear I had in my studio at that time. Today the processing power for music applications seems light years beyond what I was dealing with then and virtual instruments are sounding so much better and reliable. It seems if you keep fun at the center what you are doing instead of frustration then good things naturally seem to kind of start making sense.

Agree! What about live shows, did you play at any recently ? Do you have any dates planned to promote your new album ?

I have not played for a couple months now. Nothing is currently locked down as of now. I hope to be able to expose the new material as much as possible.

Yes, we sincerely wish you that! How do you usually play your live sets: which soft do you use? any analogue equipment? In your setup, how easy is it for you to change the order of the tracks? Can you remix a track on the fly or the main structure is “fixed” ?

I use Ableton Live 8. It depends on the set construction as to whether I can change up a song order or not. Sometimes the main structure is generally fixed with additional sequenced elements that can be manipulated along with additional real-time live improvisation. Other times I create a set where I can randomly choose the song and manipulate mapped parameters on an external controller.

What are your future plans related to music?

Most likely I will just keep trying to focus on getting better at the craft.

Good) What will be the next Androcell or Distant System?

The next Androcell music will probably be a follow up EP down the road. I am planning to get back to work on the second Distant System album later this fall and through winter.

Thanks for your time, Tyler! This was a very interesting interview. We, at psybient.org, wish you much more inspiration for your next project and we hope that many people will buy the album! 

Thank you for your support and exposure of my work! I really appreciate all you are doing for underground artists. Cheers! ;)

We love what you are doing and beautiful psychedelic downtempo, cheers! Any last words for our readers?

Peace and dub! ;)

SOME USEFUL LINKS

FB PAGE: www.facebook.com/androcell

WEB PAGE: www.androcell.com

SC: www.soundcloud.com/androcell

also have a look at some selected altar releases referenced at www.psybient.org:

www.psybient.org/love/label/altar

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