Emily Tullock, - on 8/2/12
Multi-instrumentalist, producer and vocalist Jonti is currently on tour with St Jerome's Laneway Festival, which wraps up this weekend in Adelaide and Perth. He kindly took some time out from his busy touring schedule to chat with Pulse's Emily Tullock about his current work, collaborating with artists as varied as OFWGKTA's Hodgy Beats and Sean Lennon, plus his thoughts on the quality of the Australian music scene.
Pulse: What are you up to at the moment? Jonti: Right now I am just chilling at home.
On your Facebook profile picture you’re wearing a bright pink furry jumpsuit, is that something you wear often or are wearing now? [Laughs]. I guess so. No, it’s for a video clip that we were doing and I sort of liked that pink outfit, like really vivid pink. We just did some shooting in it and had some photos.
What video was it for? I don’t want to speak too soon because I don’t know what it’s going to be used for; we just did some shooting. We might use it for something else, there’s a lot of projects coming up.
You recently put out Sine & Moon, what was the idea behind it; is it what a math function on the moon would sound like? I guess so. Sine & Moon, I was really into the band Lullatone and their whole thing is that they make really pure music for kids. And the sine wave is the purest wave form in music. That was what that whole project was about, all the early works and stuff was all like that. It wasn’t made for any other purpose than just to be made.
Is it different from the Stones Throw podcast of the same name? There’s only just some different mixes and one extra track, that’s basically it. Just a few little tweaks here and there.
You were signed to Stones Throw after Twirligig sat finished for two years – how did it feel to finally be signed to them and work with Peanut Butter Wolf? It was amazing. It was like a dream come true. Those guys are like my heroes when I was growing up and stuff. Just to then fly to LA and meet them all, work with them all and see them on a regular basis was really surreal.
What are some of the most enjoyable collaborations you’ve done? The Hodgy Beats one was pretty fun. It was really just spur of the moment, we went to the studio and it was just a really fun session. There was also all the Odd Future guys and stuff. Then there’s a good friend of mine, Jonwayne, he was also just signed to Stones Throw. He was someone who I collaborated with many years ago on Myspace and then we just landed up in the same room together. He became a really good friend and helped me a lot in LA.
Rhythmetic Fox, did you write it with beer in mind, or was it a pre-existing song? I don’t think so because it was written during a competition I won that went over two weeks. There was one week where we would write songs and collaborate with other artists, and another week where we would record the song. It was just one of the songs; we wrote quite a few songs every day, and that was just the one that stood out the most. It just came out of the jam session and we developed it the week after.
How was it to work with really big names like Mark Ronson, Sean Paul, Sean Lennon and John Taylor from Duran Duran on that song? That was my first experience like that in the industry and I was really thrown in the deep end. It was incredible; I learnt so much and got to see how it worked. It was a lot of fun. They were just normal dudes trying to have as much fun as possible. It was pretty cool.
Having to change your artist name from Danimals to Jonti because of yoghurt company, did it actually allow you to reinvent yourself as a musician or was it just really annoying? Well I guess the music was kind of done before the name change. Twirligig was definitely made by this guy called Danimals who had this whole image. I’ve got an album coming out called Tokorats; well I’m still working on that now so I don’t want to speak too soon, but that documented the whole change and reinvention. Yeah it was funny, I definitely had to learn to make music. First I was trying to make it as animated and as crazy as possible but now it’s got my face to it. It works more if it’s human and relatable so I’m trying to make it more like that.
So Jonti is actually different from Danimals? Oh yeah. When it came to super super crazy animated stuff, I had more of a license to do that under Danimals but I didn’t have a license to do more personal stuff. Which is what I guess I feel more comfortable doing under my own name.
What’s behind the name of your upcoming album, Tokorats? It’s kind of clichéd, it’s actually just one of the track titles that stood out from the rest of the album. I guess I was all into tokoloshe which in South Africa, in folklore, they’re these weird demons that would come and steal your ancestors. These weird little purple things; people would put bricks under their beds to scare them away for some reason. I just remember growing up with that, all those demon elements, all those funky little demons. For some reason, they’re really strange and they have huge genitals. I don’t know why but they kind of became my thing – not because of the huge genitals or anything. That song Tokorats is just a little theme song for them.
So is that where Die Antwoord get their huge genital props idea from as well? Totally. They are massively influenced by tokoloshe and I think that song Evil Boy, that’s all about them.
After having lived in LA for a while, what are your thoughts on where the music scene is at in Australia? The music scene, I think it’s really great. It’s still in early days and in transformation – especially in terms of electronic music. I’d say there’s more and more acts that can compete on an international level coming out every day. These really really amazing artists. It’s pretty different because we’re more out here on our own little island and we have our own interpretation of international stuff, and it’s unique in that way. I think we both have good things going on and it was pretty refreshing to come back here as well and see all these artists. It’s pretty cool but it’s still early days.
How did you feel about being asked to play Laneway Festival? It’s like a dream come true. I’ve been every year since I moved from South Africa and I just such a massive fan. Then this year’s line-up is just ridiculous as well. It’s something I’d just go to just as a fan. Just to play, it’s a huge honour.
What artists are you looking forward to seeing? Probably SBTRKT, Toro y Moi, Bullion, Feist, Cults. There’s plenty more that have probably escaped my mind at the moment.
When you’re playing gigs is it just you up there on the stage making sounds? Yeah which is really scary. I’m always travelling solo and it’s not really feasible yet. I’d love to play with other musicians but at the moment it’s just something I have to figure out how to do, how to perform shows by myself. So it’s just me for now.
What’s next for you? There’s Laneway, SXSW, and I’m just working on that Tokorats album. There’s a song; again I don’t want to speak too soon but, I’m working on a track for the Avalanches album. Hopefully that will come through. Just working, recording and trying to have as much fun with the live shows and nail these recordings coming up.
start selling tickets with ease
start sharing your music for free