We first stumbled across Anthonie Tonnon as part of Tono & the Finance Company a few years ago, when his unique voice and witty, political lyrics struck a chord. What must have been many months, even years later, we saw him in a beautiful and intimate little concert at Freida Margolis in Grey Lynn. He’s the kind of performer that settles in the memory – charming and faintly mysterious. There is the sense that you might slip and fall into Anthonie’s next song just by being in his presence, as if his every experience is potential fodder for a new lyrical exploration. India caught him for a few questions ahead of the release of his new solo album, Successor.
What can we expect from your new record?
Two deaths, two political careers ending in failure, one concussion, a dream sequence, flashbacks, ambiguous endings, one krautrock song, lots of tape hiss. Loud guitars, strange guitars, a choir of women and boys.
How does it differ from your last release?
It’s almost entirely written in second person narratives – like that brief period in my childhood when R.L Stine experimented with ‘Pick-A-Path Goosebumps books.
What other artists are you influenced by?
Writers, and particularly journalists. I love long-form articles such as those in “The Reporter At Large” section of The New Yorker, and I find it hard to comprehend the research and time that goes in to them. A couple of my favourite New Zealand writers in this arena are Steve Braunius and Donna Chisholm.
What was the best show you’ve ever played and why?
I couldn’t say best – but supporting Beirut at the Wellington Opera House and looking into the full three-tiered stands comes to mind. But then, playing to 12 people in Adelaide one fateful evening, some revelations about performance hit me like lightning in the middle of the set, and it’s possibly still my best ever show.
What leg of your NZ tour are you most looking forward to?
I couldn’t possibly say, but the band is very much looking forward to playing The Barrytown Hall on the West Coast, and then taking on the townsfolk at table tennis afterward.
If you could spend the day with any musician/band who would it be and why?
Leonard Cohen. I would want to do exactly what he does in a day and see if it helps me write at all.
If you could instantly master any one instrument, what would it be and why?
I would choose anything from brass section – because there are no good digital replicas for those instruments.
Do you remember what your first favourite song was? If so, what was it?
“Don’t Leave Me Now” – Supertramp, on drives to the west coast on Cassette tape. Great Sax solo.
If you weren’t a musician how would you spend your days?
Swimming in money and self loathing.
Who are some of your favourite NZ bands?
HEAVY, Fazerdaze, TEETH, New Gum Sarn, Nakey, Moonpup, Males, Bad Sav. As luck would have it they’re all playing somewhere on our tour.
Where’s your favourite place in Auckland?
The under-loved beaches around Herne Bay, which owe their sparse bathing populations to the irrational fears of born-and-bred Aucklanders.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Release Successor in the USA and Australia, perhaps tour Europe, and I would like go back to writing in solitude at some point.
You can pre-order Anthonie Tonnon’s new album here.
To catch him on tour, head over here.
Like him on facebook right here.