elektro Exclusive Interview w/ Amon Tobin
Amon Tobin is one of the true pioneers in electronic music, continually pushing the boundaries with his unusual methodology in sound production and music manipulation. Over the course of his career, Tobin has evolved his techniques from album to album. His latest release was ISAM, which featured thousands of live recordings (door creaks, insects, etc) to create the album. Tobin is currently prepping for the ISAM Live 2.0 beginning next month in America, which will also include material from his Two Fingers project. He took some time out of his schedule to have a chat with elektro.
Getting started with music production without any formal training?
“The process was primarily organic,” said Tobin. When he was 13, Tobin had twin cassette recorders. “My father was an English teacher with educational tapes,” which Tobin started poking around and changing the structure of. He then “moved onto recording the top 40 on weekends,” further altering, editing the audio and taking out the choruses. After getting his first sampler, it was a lot of similar trial and error and frankly, the production wasn’t good. Amon notes, “Most of this initial experimenting is out there for fans to listen to.”
On creating music from putting together so many different pieces, which at times can number in the tens of thousands of different recordings?
It’s typically a process that starts out with a “solid idea in my head and getting the closest to how I can with the recording.” ISAM was a specific process to “synthesize field recordings in the digital realm into playable instruments.” This was then reverted back into synthetic form.
Amon details that the “common thread has been to take sounds around him and manipulate them.” Of course, technology has enabled techniques which allow a higher level of refinement and the ability “to take transformations further and quicker.” In the end, however, it takes the same effort and hard work to innovate and avoid generic sounds. Despite the possibilities granted by technology, sounds are ultimately limited by [one’s] own imagination.”
The ISAM Tour
The tour “was a solution to a problem [because] ISAM was such a different record,” notes Tobin. ISAM was an electronic album, but didn’t offer dancefloor music to perform in a traditional way. As a result, he worked on “a visual interpretation of the music which was a much more narrative driven, structured set.”
Two Fingers Project
Two Fingers is Tobin’s latest project which has a heavy hip-hop influence and “a lot of heavier, straight up beats [with] production in line with drum & bass.” Although listeners might expect vocals given the hip-hop influence, Amon notes it it “much more instrumental with few vocals.” Fans can catch the Two Fingers performance as an addition to the ISAM 2.0 America tour.
It’s been an intense, hectic year for Tobin, who has worked on various projects and is currently in the middle of touring. He plans on moving onto the next step as soon the tour is completed, heading “back to the drawing board and into the studio.” Additionally, Amon is busy with various side projects, including film-related projects.
Amon Tobin [Plus Guests] – ISAM Live 2.0 Tour
09/01/12 Seattle, Washington: Wamu Theatre
09/02/12 Portland, Oregon: Roseland Theater
09/04/12 Denver, Colorado: Ellie Caulkins Opera House
09/06/12 Minneapolis, Minnesota: Orpheum Theatre
09/07/12 Chicago, Illinois: Congress Theater
09/08/12 Chicago, Illinois: Congress Theater
09/09/12 Detroit, Michigan: Royal Oak Music Hall
09/10/12 Toronto, Ontario: Kool Haus
09/12/12 Boston, Massachusetts: House of Blues
09/13/12 Montclair, New Jersey: Wellmont Theatre
09/14/12 New York, New York: Hammerstein Ballroom
09/17/12 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Electric Factory
09/19/12 Clemson, South Carolina: Brooks Center at Clemson University
09/20/12 Atlanta, Georgia: The Tabernacle
09/21/12 Orlando, Florida: House of Blues
09/22/12 Miami, Florida: The Fillmore at Jackie Gleason
09/24/12 Dallas, Texas: Palladium Ballroom
09/25/12 Austin, Texas: Austin Music Hall
09/27/12 San Diego, California: House Of Blues
10/05/12 Berkeley, California: Greek Theatre Berkeley
10/12/12 Los Angeles, California: Greek Theatre
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