PSYPHERIX 

Shaylena Hess, Staff Reporter

Have you ever wondered what musical talent hides with our non-music majors? 

Psypherix is a music loving and making android, specializing in music that resembles that of Trance, House, and Techno music. It’s said that even the android itself doesn’t know it’s origin, but it’s rumored that it’s slowly starting to remember. Communication with it is difficult, since it uses holographic images on its face to portray what it’s thinking and feeling and tends to be synced up to the live music it plays. An interview was done with this Mysterious music making machine.  

The man behind this creation is Logan. He is not only a DJ and Music producer as Psypherix, but he also studies Business Information Systems Management and minors in Computer Science here at Fairmont State University. I sat down and talked with him about Psypherix and his music.  

What got you into listening to Electronic Music in the first place? 

So, I guess what really got me into wanting to write electronic music was back in 2010 while I was in 7th grade, the movie “TRON: Legacy” came out. I kind of always liked that electronic sound that synthesizers and computers made because I was (and still kind of am) a computer and video game nerd. But this movie was amazing to me at the age of 12. The visuals of the movie were amazing, but the score and sound design are what kept me really immersed into the movie. I kept wondering who made this music so I when the movie was over, I saw it said the music was by someone named “Daft Punk” When I went home, I learned that Daft Punk was actually aFrench house duo that had been making music since before I was born. I thought it was amazing that I discovered this kind of music that none of my family and none of my friends have heard of Daft Punk, let alone electronic music and the house sub-genre of it. I kind of kept it to myself and enjoyed it at home and on the school bus on the way to school. I mostly listened to only Daft Punk in regard to electronic music at this point. It wasn’t until I went to the Beach in 2011 where I met my Cousin’s at-the-time boyfriend and he saw me listening to Daft Punk on my iPod. We started talking about the Duo and that’s when he showed me the larger genre of Electronic Music musicians who make music very similar to Daft Punk. But one artist stuck out to me the most. An artist called “deadmau5”. When I first discovered him, you have no idea the impact that it had on me. Listening to his music was like I had found another person who made the kind of music that I imagined myself making. The sounds that came from his music were close to the sounds that ran around in my head.” 

Why did you start wanting to make Electronic Music? 

Listening to the music that deadmau5 made sparked my curiosity in how electronic music was made. I did a bunch of research on what little time I had on the internet at my middle school. I downloaded this program called “MilkyTracker” that I tried to make music with. It’s kind of taught me the basics of music. I was able to make these very simple little tunes called “chip tunes”. I could only make music similar to what the original Nintendo Entertainment System could do but a bit better. It was music, but not music that regular people listened to. And the Laptop I had at the time was extremely under powered, so making intricate songs was way out of the question.  I was limited by the abilities of the program and my computer which really upset me because I couldn’t fully get my ideas out there. It was also around this time that I started to DJ my Middle School’s social events. My Science Teacher noticed that I liked to play with music on the computers and they wanted something different than someone just putting a CD in a music player and pressing play and leaving it run on repeat for the entire 3 hour event. I had no DJ’ing equipment at this time. The only thing I had was a very slow and underpowered laptop with a giant library of music from the popular artists of the time. Those events sparked my DJ’ing career. At this point the DJ’ing was more of the dominant hobby. I got made fun of quite a bit for DJ’ing the social events and for the weird music I made at the time. But it didn’t really bother me that much because it was something I enjoyed doing. 

Can you describe the evolution of the hardware you use to make your music? 

It wasn’t until I started my Freshman Year of High School at Bridgeport that I saved up a bit and bought myself a used 2006 MacBook. Not a Pro or an Air model, one of the first plastic ones. It was extremely faster than the old laptop I had used all through middle school. When I got this MacBook from its previous owner, I noticed that it had the entire iLife ’06 suite installed. I started to mess with this program I had never heard of called Garageband. It was a massive upgrade from MilkyTracker because it could use samples, and MIDI instruments! I was now limited by my ideas instead of the Software and the Hardware. When the second semester of my Freshman year came around, I found this program that Apple also made called Logic Pro 9. I used it for the longest time and all the experience I had gotten from Garageband translated over to Logic Pro because it felt like Garageband was basically a stripped-down version of Logic Pro. The transition was almost seamless. Even all my old Garageband project files worked in Logic Pro 9. Since I had a program that I could use to make more “real” sounding music I started to learn about VST-based Software Synths and all kinds of 3rd party plugins to further expand Logic Pro 9. I also used this MacBook for a lot of DJ’ing events too. I even used it for the 2014 Benedum Festival in which I closed out the night by DJ’ing until Midnight. But as expected, I eventually started to reach the limits of this MacBook because my songs were getting more complicated and used a lot of 3rd party plugins and the program I used to DJ with was starting to make my MacBook lag and stutter which is something you don’t want to happen during a live performance. Before I started my Junior Year of High School, my mother had gotten me a Late 2011 13” MacBook Pro for Christmas. It was a major upgrade from the old 2006 MacBook. It ran the latest version of all the software I had used before. Something I couldn’t do before on my old MacBook because it was so old it was no longer supported by Apple and other companies who made the music plugins I used. Because I finally had a Machine that could handle all the latest software, I upgraded to Logic Pro X, which is the software I use to this day. When I became a Sophomore in college, I upgraded to a 2015 MacBook Pro that I currently am using to write all my music on. However, I’ve recently built what is commonly known as a “Hackintosh”. Essentially, a PC that is hacked to run Apple’s macOS. And I’ve recently started to invest in hardware analog synthesizers to make sounds that no one else can unless they have my exact synthesizer. That’s the beauty of analog synthesizers. They have their own tonalities just like guitars. Guitars don’t all have the same sound.” 

How did you come up with the name “Psypherix? 

So, the name originated from a computer program that I wrote for a college assignment that was designed to encrypt and decrypt data using cyphers. I jokingly called is Cypher 10, because it was the 10th revision of the program, I had written due to my struggles with getting the previous ones to work properly. Eventually I just started shortening the name to “CypherX” with ‘X’ being the roman numeral for 10. Eventually I stopped working on the program because I was done with the project. When I was cleaning out my hard drive to get ready to start the Winter break. I saw that I had still had the code for that program, and I thought it was a pretty cool name. Originally, I was going to go by “Cypher” for my music. It was a cool computer word that I liked and wanted to use for my music, but I started to compare myself to the program I had created. We both in a way created code or data (in my case, music.) that some people/computers can easily understand, and others struggle. Basically, we both generated data. However, the program was known to be random. It had unexpected glitches and quirks that I honestly couldn’t explain. I’d give it a problem to solve and it’d give me some data, and sometimes if I gave it the same data, it would give a different result. Even rarer, it sometimes would give up and not be able to find the answer, even if I gave it the same problem to solve. As a lover of sci-fi movies, I always thought of it as the precursor of an Artificial Intelligence. It fascinated me that something I created almost seemed like it had a mind of its own. I had always been made fun of in Middle School and High School for liking computers. I was called names like Tinman, Robot and other ones that basically dehumanized me and made me feel like I was a machine… However, it was at this point, that I started to get the idea of making music under this sort of AI persona. What if I took the names that were used against me and embraced it? Turn it around on them and use it to tell a story. A story about an AI. Something like, I don’t make the music, the AI makes the music. It can’t speak through words and even when it tries, it struggles resulting in glitchy text on screen and garbled sound if it tries to speak using sound, but rather it speaks through the “data” it generates. The data resembles music. The idea of a Glitchy AI really started to stick with me and I knew it was something I wanted to pursue. I don’t currently have an ETA for an album, but I know that for the first Album I make, I want it to tell a story. The songs will convey the story this AI has to tell. I won’t get into much detail because it’s a work in progress idea, and I don’t want to spoil too much, but I feel like it’s a really cool concept that should be explored. But I needed a name for this AI persona. So, I went back to playing with the name of that old program I made. I started replacing the letters with letters that made it sound the same but didn’t make it look like the original words. It became PsypherX at first, but then I started to think that it might not make sense that way, so I changed the last part to ‘ix’ and I ended up with Psypherix. Looking back at it, I realize that I basically counted down a number. Like I went from ‘X’ (10) to ‘IX’ (9) But I thought it looked like a cool name, so I stuck with it and decided I wanted to start making music under this AI persona with this unusual name. It was nice to finally have a name to release my music under because for the longest time, I didn’t have a name for myself when it came to my DJ’ing or music projects.” 

Psypherix invites you to experience his world of music for yourself here.