Staying in this evening, as I’m emotional exhausted from being in public all day long. I need to wind down and get ready for 2015. I haven’t been able to listen to much downtempo for the majority of 2014 so I completely skipped the release of Imbue. You can listen on YouTube but it makes more sense to buy it from the band camp site.
Have a listen, you’ll feel like your doing some soul healing.
Art for me is a practice of alchemy, not only with the mixed mediums but alchemy of the soul. With art, I am constantly processing, healing, transforming and transmuting. When I create a painting my goal is to give the viewer a portal or gateway into a sacred realm, to give them a piece of my interpretation of the sacred space that I have experienced. So that they may find their own sacred space within to listen for the subtle, but potent message that art can teach us about ourselves. When we paint with an open heart and mind we see into who we have the potential to become and we put it all on the line for the world to see, silently.
– Jack Shure
I can’t think of an artist more suited for the artwork of this album. Androcell is always someone I’ve listened to during a transforming point of my life. Heard him play in Texas as both Androcell and Distant System sets. Totally bad ass. Would love another weekend like that. I didn’t why I focusing on finding good downtempo to listen to. I’ve had a slew of changes happen this year so I need to go inward. I just need a break from my typical hyper state of relaxing as the cold comes in.
Androcell a.k.a electronic producer Tyler Smith a.k.a. Distant System.
I got turned onto Deep Heads late in 2012 but I’ve loved so much of tracks on their soundcloud page – that I even started following Deep Heads on youtube.com It’s not just one label or not artist – it’s a group & is very deep and various forms. Love this mix. Not too often do I LIKE having a voice through out a mix but I felt like I was in deep head school. It was great to hear about the tracks being played & I’ve found a couple of new artists that I like.
Nostaligic day today & ran across a lot of downtempo however this mix stood out. Kastle is has a deep soulful sound that really brought me where I need to be mentally to endure this past week. Totally beautiful. The intro was a reading of Plato’s Symposium – which is the reason the phrase “soul mates” is even around. Wow, it set the entire pace for this mix. I personally do not believe in soul mates being forever or even as long as both live but more of for that time in each person’s life. Either way my brain rattled on thinking about my personal relationships & letting go while having a steady bass line throughout the ethereal tracks. My favorite part is how this mix is a “mixtape series dedicated to coffee, the universe and love.” That’s all my favorite stuff.
Tell me where you’re from, where you currently live.
I was born and raised in San Antonio, Tx. After a brief stint in College Station I made my way to Austin where I’ve been for most of the last six years. I’ve taken a few extended vacations from Austin. One to Asheville, NC, where I got engulfed in the magic of the psytrance community, and one to the west coast on the annual fall hippie migration to the Nevada dessert and norCal. Austin is where I always end up though, and it’s a great place to be. There’s so many things going on all the time that you’re always able to find something fun to do and there’s a great EDM/Burner community.
What kind of music & parties did you first go to?
Ha, oh man! Big raves for sure.. My first party was Meltdown in Dallas and I was blown away from the start. Most of my first parties were more mainstream raves in Dallas and Austin. That was all when I lived in College Station and I was into the more mainstream producers and genres like house and breaks. Dubstep wasn’t really on the scene yet, but I always had a thing for DnB and 2-step.. It wasn’t until I moved to Austin that I started going to more underground warehouse and house parties though. I kinda got sucked into the Austin EDM scene when I got here. There were so many fun parties that weren’t in downtown clubs and it’s a pretty close-knit community, really most of my friends here I’ve met through electronic music scene. Then one day I found psytrance and nothing has been the same ever since..
When you started djing, you played so many different things. As your style has progressed how would describe it?
Oh I’m still all over the place when I dj. I’ve really tried to build my collection to be able to play just about any vibe of music from chilled out to tripped out to danced out and my influences are across the board: dubstep, breaks, glitch, idm, dnb, psytrance, house.. I try to find music that combines elements of all those into something that can’t be described by a single genre, and instead look for what a track does to me when I listen to it. I guess that’s why it’s always been so hard for me to answer the ‘what do you play?’ question, it really depends on when and where I’m playing but ‘psychedelic bass music’ is usually a good blanket term.
I’ve definitely come a long way from some of the first SoundShaman sets. That was around 2 years ago, and I was playing a lot of Mimosa, Heyoka, Vibesquad, mostly the west-coast bass music pioneers, and it all had that ‘slow and low’ dubstep/glitchop vibe. Now I tend to go for music that’s more upbeat and cerebral and really works it’s way into you and takes control. It took me a while to get comfortable playing more complex music and utilizing the dj software I use (Traktor!). I like being able to shift the bpm’s around in a set rather than staying in one place the whole time. It really gives me a lot of freedom to read the crowd while I’m playing. If people are really into it, I can keep going with that vibe and if not, I can switch it to something totally different. Or sometimes everyone is really into it and I’ll switch to something totally different anyways =P I’ll do things like go from a heart-opening emotional track into the nastiest wall of sound you’ve ever heard into something so goofy you can’t help but laugh at. I guess that’s a good metaphor for my dj’ing philosophy: take it serious, push peoples limits, but don’t forget to make it fun!
As you’ve tour different festivals & events, what experienced really made you love what you do? Any challenges?
I think SoulRise was one of my stand-out dj experiences. I played a 3-hour set at sunrise that capped off an amazing weekend, so many of my friends dancing and vibin’ out.. It definitely gave me a feeling of ‘this is why I do it’. There’s been many other moments like that.. Any time everyone is really into the music and feelin it, it’s an awesome feeling to be up there in the dj booth when that’s going on.
I suppose the biggest difficulty has been getting myself into the dj booth at the right time and place. Early on I would always get stuck on the chill stages at weird times, and end up having more people dancing than the main stage, or end up playing an awesome set to 3 people.. It took a while to get given the better time slots, but honestly now that I’m getting booked to play more festivals, I enjoy the challenge of putting together a set to fit a certain time, regardless of when it is.
What are some producers that you encourage others to listen to?
I’ve been really digging all the stuff from Australia I’ve been finding. Merkaba/Kalya Scintilla, Goosebumpz, Blatwax, Meat Axe, Mr. Bill, Sun in Aquarius, Mindbuffer, Circuit Bent, Hypnagog.. Luke Mandala and Jpod out of Canada are pretty sick too. Street Ritual out of California has some great artists like Thriftworks, JOBOT, and Knowa Knowone.
As Re:Growth nears, what are you looking forward to?
I’m really excited about Old Growth! The venue looks prime, so many friends and amazing musicians on the lineup, and friends and family from all over the country will be there.. It’s gonna be a great time! I’m playing at 1:30pm Saturday afternoon, which is one of my favorite times at a festival so look forward to some vibey daytime grooves!
Do you have any shouts or thanks to give?
So many! Pretty much all my friends all over the country, many of whom unknowingly influenced my dj’ing in some way or another, for listening to my dj sets and supporting my efforts. My brotha from anotha motha and all-around homie for life Joshuasca, who has been a huge musical influence in my life since we met. DJ Nod, the only person to play dubstep at World Bridge, for showing me both Traktor, and what it means to play a vibe rather than a genre. Brian, Jessica, and the rest of the Atrium Obscurum crew for all the awesome work they’ve done for the psytrance scene in Texas, and for booking me to play their festivals! Lydia and the Synergy I.D.E. Crew from Austin, where I played my first gig as SoundShaman, for constantly pushing me to evolve musically. All my friends from Asheville and Atlanta, who invited me into their tribe with open arms and showed me how awesome the psytrance family was! And everyone in Austin who has been coming to my gigs and rockin out on the dance floor for the last 2 years.. And thanks to you Ally for doing this interview with me!
Your production has beautiful layers, what kind of training and experience do you have in music production?
My Father and Grandfather are both musicians so I grew up around instruments. When I was young, about Six or Seven years old, my Dad bought me a drum set and an electric guitar. He always had synths and keyboards, too. So, I played on those a lot as kid. My parents never pushed me to do any music lessons, and I really just liked to experiment anyway. It wasn’t until my Thirteenth Birthday that I was given a nice acoustic and electric guitar that I really started to get serious. Sometime after that I found the rave scene and sold my guitars for turntables and then my turntables for my first synth. In 2002 I was introduced to Fruity Loops and moved from there to Ableton. I have owned about Fifteen or so different synths, but for now I am strictly “in the box”.
During your live sets there is a cinematic feel as if there is a story being told. Is there a method to your performances?
I love movies, so that is neat that you can pick up on that. My music definitely is influenced by things in, and periods of, my life – hope, love, friends, lessons, beauty, growth, struggles, and the conflict of change and emotions. So, while my performance may not intentionally be telling a story… Each song is.
Overall the gene of Twin Shape is called Down Tempo but there are various genes that come up in just a single track. What are your influences in your sound?
I listen to a pretty wide range of music, but for the longest time I really cut back so I wouldn’t be too influenced by the artists I was being exposed to in this realm of music (when working on the Twin Shape project). The first Artist that had an impact on me, for this sound, was Phutureprimitive, namely his Subconscious album. The fist Twin Shape type track I made came about by accident, really, I just started playing with the BPM of a track I was working on in another genre and something grabbed me. It was a month or so after hearing Subconscious and it reminded me of it, so I knew I had to be careful what I listened to so I could follow the threads path. At that point I had never felt so connected to the music I was writing and I knew I was where I needed to be. Other than that I grew up listening to a The Cars, Depeche Mode, Devo, The Cure… A lot of 80’s Synth Pop, but I have listened to Industrial, Rock, etc, too. Other than what I grew up with I would say EDM had a huge impact as well. I love all forms of Progressive, Psytrance, Breaks, and DnB. And of course I listen to a lot of Trip Hop and Psychill like: Massive Attack, Ott, Lamb, Androcell, Shpongle, and tons of other artists.
You’ve been touring for a while now. Is there a favorite event that you’ve played so far?
It is hard to pick a favorite… My most memorable would have to be my first performance, which was for Atrium Obscurum at Peto Lux Lucis. It had the biggest impact. I had passed up a few bookings prior to that because I hadn’t yet completed enough music for an entire set, but I took this one because I knew it would force me to be ready. It was far enough out that I knew if I stuck to it I would be OK. So, I told all of my friends that I wouldn’t be around for a while, moved into a friends place over an hour away from everything, with no internet, and I spent everyday working until I was done. It was like being alone really because my friend worked nights. The show wasn’t perfect, but it felt so good to finally play live and share my music. And that is something I had been wanting to do for many years. I learned a lot and am thankful that I was given that opportunity, plus I met a lot of great people.
There is a mystery around the psychedelic mask that you wear when you perform, why the mask?
I think it shows my true face better than the one under it. If people really want to know “me”, the music I play and the art I wear say a lot more than my words and skin cells do. I like to take that part of myself out of the equation and try to align my true self with the emotion and message in the music for people to share with me. I think it helps me feel not so naked as well; I never feel so bare as when people hear my music.
Huge thank you to everyone, and everything, that has been in my life and shown me or taught me something.
Twin Shape is performing Wisdom of the Aegis, June 19-21, 2015 at Armadillo Acres (Hughes Springs, TX)
For detailed directions go to www.atriumobscurum.com
Please look for a sign on the fence that says AO –>
That sign will be approximately 30 feet to the left of the entrance to the land. The sign is white with black paint.
He’s currently working a full length album. A remix to be released in November on Harmonious Discord.