Androcell is the Psy-Dub project of Tyler Smith, a fellow midwesterner that has relocated to Colorado. He has been producing music for almost two decades now and it definitely shows in the quality of his releases. Much of his music is laced with expansive synth textures that call to mind beautiful (and psychedelic) asiatic pilgrimages. “Seahorse Dreams” is the first track I can recall listening to (I discovered it on an ambient playlist) and thought it was an absolutely stellar piece of music. With organic sounds, lush and hypnotic vocals, and crystal clear mixing, it was very easy to become enraptured with this outstanding track and I decided to explore more of his storied catalogue. After listening to the trippy and relaxing “Efflorescence” (featuring perhaps his most famous track “Neurosomatic Circuit” and one of my personal favorites, “Atmos-Spheres") I discovered the stunning “Entheomythic”, which features gorgeous cover art and deep, complex, multi-layered productions. I’ve found that the rhythms, vocals (which seem to be in a mostly Indian or Arabic dialect), and polyrhythmic percussions tend to lend themselves quite nicely to my own “special pilgrimages” if you know what I mean.
His releases are certainly unique and while there are other Psy-Dub producers, his productions have a uniqueness and clarity that arguably place him at the head of his class. His most recent release “Imbue” has received wonderful reception from fans and critics alike and it appears that he is quickly becoming THE Psy-Dub producer.
Prox: Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up, how long have you been producing, and what got you into music?
AC: My name is Tyler Smith and I have been producing music as Androcell since 2003. I was born and raised on the central Great Plains of the Midwest of the United States (where the fields seemingly never end). I started down a path of seriously decoding how to make electronic music in 1996 at age 17. Curiosity would have to be the core motivation that pulled me into making this type of music having come from a mainly conventional music background. The more amazing electronic music I discovered and would listen to throughout the 90’s into the early 00’s, the more I became hungry to figure out how it was being done.
Prox: Androcell is an awesome production name! What’s the story behind it?
AC: Androcell is a term I picked up from a visionary rocket-propulsion engineer named Krafft Arnold Ehricke. He describes the theoretical object in his essay “Extraterrestrial Imperative”, referring to it as “a new beginning” for humankind. He believed that human creativity had no limits. Since I was at a musical crossroads in 2003 and needing a name for my then newly beginning psychedelic downtempo project, his term “Androcell” indicated to me a notion of the creative human spirit having no limits and obviously represented a technological protection of the creative human in the pursuit of going beyond currently perceived limits. This was grand inspiration being that I felt I always wanted to make electronic, technological music that could possibly help safely dissolve limitations and boundaries of human hearts, minds, and nervous systems. I realized if I chose this name it would help to reinforce an aspiration of continuously pushing to improve upon my own limits as an electronic music producer.
Prox: Did you get into Psy-Dub/Psyambient by way of other artists that inspired you from the genre? Did you begin your musical career in a different genre and end up here?
AC: I stumbled upon the Blueroom Released music label by happenstance. This allowed for the discovery of a band called The Infinity Project and their “Mystical Experiences” album from 1995 that included some early audio wizardry of the legendary Simon Posford. This album was a serious trip for me back then and made me feel compelled to hopefully someday make similar music that I could alter my own and other people’s consciousness and nervous systems with. Experiencing the highly influential album “Are You Shpongled?” on Twisted Records brought my attention to an evolved sense of this after it was released in 1998. There was a song named “Avalon” in 1997 by a French band called Spectral that has a particular feeling and was a big inspiration as well. Over the years, many astounding electronic artists from a very wide range of genres and styles would inadvertently tutor me each time I bought and listened to their work.
It was evident that there was a growing discography of psychedelic electronic music already being produced just waiting to be finally discovered in a record store or online. I primarily wrote psytrance early on under the moniker Prabhamandala because in youth I fed a lot on that kind of musical energy. Androcell started at age 24 after extensive experiences with many musical experiments and I started to get a better handle on what I was doing both production-wise and engineering-wise.
Prox: Who are some artists that you would say had the most profound impact on your work? Are they exclusively musical or have other mediums influenced you as well?
AC: I would say that a lineage of European electronic music has mainly inspired me. If you listen closely back through the musical history, it seems you can kind of connect some of the dots of who influenced who, here and there, going back over many years. I am really influenced more so by the emotional content of my life experience and perception in general and try to take cues from my own nervous system as much as possible. What I create to come from the speakers has to make me feel something in particular in hopes that it will make others feel that same something. Even if a tune only translates to just simply feeling good, it is that feeling that is of upmost importance to me. It can be an arduous but extremely rewarding process of concocting something that not just sounds good, but incites a certain vibe or feeling when played back.
Prox: Currently, who are some of your favorites? Who are some artists that you enjoy outside of Psy-Dub/Psyambient?
AC: Unfortunately, I don’t make enough time for a lot of casual listening these days so it is hard for me to play favorites. Globular and Spatialize are a couple artists from the U.K. doing nice work, though. Anything by Seb Taylor of Hibernation and Kaya Project is worth listening into. Hopefully, Third Ear Audio will release another album at some point. Also, Shanti Planti Records has a lot of interesting artists doing some quality work, like Akasha Project or Quanta, for instance. All types of sonic goodness can be discovered at their respective Bandcamp pages.
Prox: Entheomythic is my favorite release from your catalogue. Where were you at mentally and emotionally when you began working on it? How did you settle on the beautiful cover art and title?
AC: I was in a very transitional phase in my life having relocated into city life in Colorado after six inspirational years of previously living in more rural northern Arizona. The high desert region with scatterings of sweet smelling Ponderosa pine forests became very special to me and I had some nice places I could easily go hang out to get away or catch an inspiring sunset whenever the impulse struck. In Colorado, my wife Alicia and I began to share one vehicle and I ended up becoming a bit cut off from accessing unrestricted nature as easily as where we had lived previously. So, it became absolutely necessary to escape into my imagination through sound creation and an assortment of different emotions and feelings came through into various musical forms during this period.
The title and cover concept were based on my imagination and interpretation of an ancient moon goddess or night sorceress performing a magical rite. I wanted to convey a strong sense of feminine power balanced with benevolence. Extensive durations of contemplation eventually led me to forge the words “entheo” meaning God or Goddess and “mythic” meaning of myth or imagination. I then tried to personally create cover artwork that would live up to this conceptualization.
Prox: A vast majority of your tracks are extremely complex, featuring many different layers of synths, polyrhythmic drums, an array of effects, and vocal samples. Is it difficult to compose such intricate tracks or has it become second nature at this point?
AC: After have written numerous tracks for many years I can say that making a “good” tune has not become any easier or comes about any faster. With every song created there are bursts, blocks, and breakthroughs.
Prox: What is your favorite song and album from your discography? Which project was the most personal for you?
AC: I have had a lot of good moments over the years watching audiences get deep into the song “Neurosomatic Circuit” from the “Efflorescence” album released in 2006. The combination of the soundscape with the hypnotic tone of Robert Anton Wilson’s voice seems to have made for an admirable tune. Producing the fourth Androcell album “Imbue” released in 2014 has definitely been the most personal for me. My friend, Jack Shure, had offered to paint the album cover and the artwork he exclusively created is very personal and extremely meaningful to me as well.
Prox: How does it feel to receive so much critical acclaim for your latest album, Imbue?
AC: It feels amazing to see many people accept it as a whole after I felt like Entheomythic was kind of a failure as an album for many fans.
Prox: Much of your work has a very asiatic soundscape. Has any particular Eastern doctrine or dogma shaped your own personal philosophy?
AC: I try not to subscribe to any doctrine or dogma. It is not the agnostic way. Such musical scales and sounds can often induce a very pleasant, exotic feeling for me. I simply follow the feeling.
Prox: Have you ever experimented with psychedelic drugs? If so, which ones and how much would you say they’ve impacted your life and work?
AC: No, but they surely have experimented with me. :)
Prox: Where are some of your favorite places to perform live sets? What’s the energy of the venue like?
AC: I like performing anywhere that a crowd of human beings decide to come together collectively like one pulsing organism, radiating respect and a sense of community for each other through demonstrations of smiles, hugs, or any other gesture of camaraderie, and most importantly losing themselves in the music through their dance. The energy feels that of a unifying respect and hopefully appreciation for each other together in sharing this strange and wonderful experience we call life.
Prox: What are some of your favorite hobbies? What other field could you see yourself working in?
AC: I really enjoy snowboarding during the season when I can afford it. I love becoming one in the flow with the mountain. In the past, I did professional graphic design and commissioned digital artwork for some record labels so it would be super sweet to potentially create graphics for a snowboard company.
Prox: Ultimately, what do you wish to say with your music?
AC: Now feel this. :)
Prox: Tips for new artists?
AC: Trust your ears and the rest will follow.
Prox: Final thoughts?
AC: 5 new songs are in the slow cooker and to be released as the “Creatures” EP in late 2015, possibly early 2016. www.androcell.com
You can purchase Androcell’s work, here.