HUP caught up with incredible Whanganui-based songwriter and performer Anthonie Tonnon mid-tour, ahead of his show at The Meteor on Friday 26th of January in support of his latest release, the Hands EP.
Kia ora Anthonie! How has the tour been going?
It has been a joy - we had a really magical show at an observatory hall in Whanganui - it had a one person stage for giving Astronomy lectures, and I played on that.
You recently moved there from Auckland, what was behind that move?
I've moved in the last year - I spend a lot of time travelling throughout the year, but I like Whanganui as a home - there's a good energy there at the moment, with a lot of creative people moving there. I feel like that's starting to happen to a few regional cities, because it feels time to try new places.
How would you describe your music to people that haven’t heard it?
Pop music, but from a strange part of the pop music family tree, evolved in parallel but not quite the same. I'm in Australia on tour at the moment, and the analogy I'd draw is - imagine all you ever knew were placental mammals, and then you came to Australia and found all the mammals were marsupials.
What are your main inspirations, both in life and musically?
I get inspired by people I know or people I meet as I work. When you have people you know and understand, and they come out with a profound truth, that's a really deep inspiration to me.
What are your favourite songs to play live?
Songs come and go from my set. Every song goes through a cycle: first it's difficult to play, then I start to get it right, then it's wonderful, and an anchor in the set - then eventually it needs to be retired for a while. Then I'll change technical things in my set and the song might come back to life in a new version. I've just started playing Sugar In The Petrol Tank again with a new arrangement - that song started from anecdotes from my Dad about being a Boy Racer in Morrinsville in the 70s. But I'm also playing a lot of quite upbeat music with drum machines and synths. Two Free Hands is a pretty good anchor at the moment.
How has the rich musical history of your hometown Dunedin influenced your music?
Dunedin music is what I mean about parallel evolution in pop music. All the stuff I love from the history you mention is pop music, but it feels pretty close to a different species. I had a pretty working-class upbringing where I grew up on top 40 and The Beatles, and I developed as a musician by listening to other musicians I knew, but the music from the 80s and 90s in Dunedin gave me a framework that said it's okay to be odd.
What can the good folk of Hamilton expect on Jan 26 at The Meteor?
It'll be a full spectrum experience with an interdisciplinary, performance art approach to it. The music is my take on semi-electronic music, but I try hard to be a good instrumentalist - everything takes as much concentration and practise as if I was playing a piano concerto. But there are dance moves and lazers too - all things I like to have to make it worthy of a great theatrical space like The Meteor.
Buy tickets for the show here and download the 'Hands' EP here!