Filed under: Interviews | Tags: Androcell, Celestial Dragon, Distant System, interview, Tyler Smith
The hugely talented Tyler Smith aka Androcell/Distant System has experimented with electronic music for over 10 years, and has been involved in music throughout most of his life, stemming from a piano, vocal, and percussion background. He designs his music as an aural habitat for cognisant chillers who seek to experience excursions through sound. Tyler recently took time out from his busy schedule to give us some insight in to the man who is at the forefront of pushing electronic music production to the next level…
Who is the man behind Androcell/Distant System
I’m Tyler Smith, born a Pisces in 1979 in the United States. My key interests are love, balance, and a conscious life vibration.
Where are you currently based Tyler?
What musical influences did you have growing up and do you feel they shaped you to be the musician that you are today?
My core musical influence was my mother. She showed me at a very young age that music which personally resonates with the individual can have an immense positive impact on the soul.
Was there a defining moment early on in your life that made you think “Yes…I’m going to make music for people to enjoy”
Yes, when I sold my drum kit to help finance studio equipment 🙂
When did the Androcell project begin Tyler and can you tell us more about the project?
Androcell began in 2003. I had used psy-trance production for years prior as a development system for trying to understand the studio equipment acquired along with my friend, Jason Major. We released a few albums together as Prabhamandala and had great fun, learning a lot through experimentation, But once I felt I had more of a grasp of how to express myself with the studio as instrument, we disbanded, and I moved forward with my personal, emotional music expressions and visions as Androcell.
Why the name Androcell?
I chose the name Androcell after stumbling upon it’s brief description in The Extra-Terrestrial Encyclopaedia: Our Search for Life in Outer Space. I think the words “human-made new world” had a lot to do with impacting me aside from the fact that it’s an astounding concept that may eventually become necessary. For me, the solo artist effort was a new beginning marked by a term that by definition implicates a new beginning. But now that I’ve had time to ponder the impact the music is making on receptive people I see the term Androcell, for me, as “an androgynous cell” or a musical structure having both masculine and feminine characteristics, equally. Or, a state of the structural spirit unit where opposites are transcended. It’s very ambiguous so the mystery of the answer remains.
More recently you have a new project Distant System. What was the inspiration behind the project?
Distant System begain in 2006. From being a fan of Ultimae Records for years, I realised that a few of the artists were making an ambient-trance sound that closely resonated with my ponderings of space phenomena. So by taking influence I began construction of an aural starship that is hopefully transporting minds to an imaginary
experience of the subject each track title suggests. That is my intent.
Why the name Distant System?
The machinery of the known universe seems to be operating under a system and that system seems very distant from our own experience and understanding as earthlings. So Distant System is my musical answer to acknowledging a working universe where even the most chaotic event seems calculated by a complex series of sequential occurrences. Inside of that we have humans trying to figure out their destiny amidst other worlds in the expanse of space where technology and artificial intelligence seem to be carving the way. I was raised on the science fantasy of such themes and yet am living a life that is closer to seeing humans begin the great leap from earth. Distant System is a name that will keep the project unlimited by design.
When/Where was the first gig/event you played at-How did it go-How did you feel?
I was 8 or so at my first piano recital. I was a bundle of nerves but confident enough to make out OK. A simple life lesson that believing in myself was key to overcoming anxiety and apprehension.
What equipment do you use when playing live?
Well, first I really want to say that I do my best to inform each promoter on a per booking basis of what I plan to do and lately haven’t be doing anything “live”. I commonly suggest to promoters they should advertise accordingly. After the third Androcell album is complete I plan to start doing the full live PA again. The equipment for this consists of an Apple Powerbook running Ableton Live and Battery in conjunction with a MOTU Ultralite I/O. I use a Roland SPD-20 to trigger samples and percussion not heard on the album in Battery and play back composite tracks with additional seperate production clips in Ableton Live. Additional effects control in Ableton Live is harnessed with a Behringer BCR-2000 B-Control. Usually I try to have a promoter provide a keyboard that I own and use in my own studio, to MIDI load with custom patches before the show for improvisational key playing or additional production not heard on the album.
Describe how you feel when you play live to an audience…
It really all depends on the audience and setting. Generally, it feels like a strong affirmation of being alive. When the environment is tight and the mood is exceptionally right it feels like samadhi or whatever you choose to call that unified feeling with everything.
What kind of studio equipment do you use Tyler
I use Apple Computers, Mackie Monitors and mixing console, MOTU interfaces, Keyboards, synth modules, drum triggers by Access, Korg, E-MU, Sequential Circuits. Roland. Various outboard effects processors and units by TC Electronics, Korg, Roland, Alesis. Software by MOTU (Digital Performer), Ableton (Live), Native Instruments ( Battery, Absynth, Reaktor ) Korg ( Wavestation ) Mics by Rode. Plug-ins by TC Works, dFX, etc, etc, etc, etc
Any of these companies can kindly send me a t-shirt. 🙂
Did it take a long time to build up your studio?
12 years of patience and dedication and still going. How much spent? Too much compared to nowadays standard due to a youthful zeal that couldn’t be shaken at the time when the electronic live PA meant performing the music as live as possible with MIDI sequencers, multiple synths/modules, and outboard effects. I’ve shed a lot of the dead weight of those past choices and streamlined a bit over years. I am highly thankful of what I have to play with although I definitely could use a new Access Virus TI Snow.
Any tips for someone just starting out with regards to building a home studio?
Spend within your means with what you have in hand. Don’t extend yourself on credit.
Do you have a Fav piece of studio hardware?
Comfy workstation chair…. it beats a drum throne any day. 🙂
Do you have a process that you like to stick to Tyler when working on new material in the studio?
Trust my ears and follow my heart, the hands will follow and capture the part.
Tell us about the musical movement (chillout) going on at the moment? How do you feel the scene is advancing?
To be honest I’m not the best at keeping with what is current in the scene. I’m just always happy to get another supportive gig and share in good times with fellow chillers.
How does visual/visionary art fit in to what you do and why?
Visual art fits into the equation in that it’s my other artistic ability which allows me to share my imagination in a different sensory approach and help translate the themes of the music in another medium.
What genre would you say your music fits into?
I’ll leave that one to the critics. 🙂
What are Tyler’s plans for the future?
A couple upcoming gigs in September. Details at each respective project website.
New Distant System track titled “Lost Sequence” will be coming up on a Celestial Dragon compilation.
Other than that just working diligently on new Androcell album progress.
Why is music important to you Tyler……………
Because it seems to have the power to help restore and balance human lives.
What words can you give to new artists wanting to make music…….
Overcome doubt and enjoy yourself.
Tyler’s Musical Biography:
2004 – Androcell – Emotivision – CDREC-01 – Celestial Dragon
2004 – V.A. – Gnostic Traveller – LOB0001 – Lobogistic Labs
2005 – V.A. – Portal of Perceptions – CDREC-02 – Celestial Dragon
2006 – Androcell – Efflorescence – CDRE-03 – Celestial Dragon
2007 – V.A. – Intermittent Memories – CDREC-08 – Celestial Dragon
2007 – Androcell – Further Unfolding EP – fakescience.com/self-released
2008 – Distant System – Spiral Empire – CDREC-12 – Celestial Dragon
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