Stepping into Amon Tobin’s residence studio in the hilly Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles on the hundred-somethingth sunny Southern California day in a row, it takes a couple of minutes to your eyes to regulate. With the home windows coated in thick blankets and two low-wattage Edison bulbs that solid lengthy shadows over the prolonged room, it offers off the vibes of an old-timey speakeasy — or possibly a womb.
“I start working during the day, but it f—ed me up sitting there in bright light,” explains the 47-year-old producer whose huge catalog of angular digital music accommodates little of what is perhaps described as sunny music. “I found if I kept things so it felt like nighttime, I could at least operate. It felt familiar.”
In this darkened house, Tobin has gestated not one, not two, not even three, however seven new albums he plans to launch inside 12 months on his new Nomark report label. As of this writing, he’s virtually midway there, with Fear in a Handful of Dust and Time to Run (the latter below his plucky art-rock pseudonym Only Child Tyrant) dropping in April and July respectively. The newest is one other Amon Tobin joint, Long Stories, out Friday, a moody ambient companion piece to Fear composed primarily on a malfunctioning Suzuki Omnichord, an archaic synthesizer performed like a harpsichord that briefly discovered favor with Brian Eno and The Human League in the ’80s.
“I was so fascinated by that instrument,” Tobin says. “I just kept making more and more tracks based around it — and got to a point of thinking it might be a coherent little body of work.”
That openness to happenstance informs Tobin’s present deluge of releases, which can even embody music from newly minted aliases Figueroa, Paperboy and Stone Giants, in addition to his club-oriented bass music challenge Two Fingers. It’s the latter that has just lately stored Tobin in the general public eye, with a smattering of releases and DJ gigs throughout an otherwise-extended hiatus from the stage and streaming providers.
Prior to this present flurry of music, Tobin’s final album was launched manner again in 2011, lengthy earlier than streaming’s primacy was enshrined. That report, ISAM, included a panoramic reside present that took Tobin’s “unperformable” musical abstractions to new heights through onstage audio-visual integration. The present was a shock hit and made Tobin probably the most obtuse act to experience the wave of early ’00s digital music spectacles to competition phases worldwide. It additionally landed him in austere venues just like the Sydney Opera House and the Olympia in Paris, in addition to in mainstream shops like Wired journal and NPR, new territory for the producer whose six earlier full-lengths, all on impartial London imprint Ninja Tune, hardly ever made waves exterior of that label’s sizable-yet-niche viewers.
“We thought it’d be a f—ing disaster,” Tobin laughs. “We thought the thing would burn down on the first night because it was so cobbled together … I toured that thing for two years, just paying it off. Eventually, I made some money on the last five shows or something — but it was totally worth it. It got my music out there and it was great.”
ISAM did put Tobin in the “luxurious position of just making music all the time and not having to worry about sharing it, touring it, presenting it, talking about it.” That’s modified with the Nomark label. For the primary time, Tobin is absolutely immersed not solely in making his artwork, but additionally promoting it.
“I’m the worst person to be running a label, in all honesty,” he admits, “however I must f—ing sharpen up on all that in order to keep up my potential to make music for a dwelling slightly than getting a job.”
As half of his new enterprise savvy, Tobin has partnered closely with Bandcamp, utilizing the platform’s Vinyl Campaign service to fund urgent data through preorder gross sales. He’s additionally providing a digital subscription service, The Nomark Club, that can give members entry to all of the present and upcoming Nomark releases, plus subscriber-only materials, for an annual price of $60.
When I ask him, Tobin isn’t positive what number of people have signed up for TNC, however given the truth that the vinyl for Long Stories is presently funded to 248% (with three weeks left to order), it appears he is stumbled upon a sustainable approach to keep away from the dreaded day gig.
“I’ve no idea if any of it will work as a business model,” he says, “however I have religion in the music.”
That music-first instance carries throughout Tobin’s “brand,” which largely eschews personalised social media messaging and such.
“All that endless groveling,” he calls it. “It’s just so disingenuous. I do think there’s somewhere in between where you can be smart about what you’re doing and be around people who understand that and not become a cartoon version of yourself.” He was absolutely happy, then, that the questions throughout his latest Reddit AMA have been virtually solely nerdy gear and tech inquiries.
Bringing issues to a manageable degree appears to be what Tobin’s present marketing campaign is admittedly all about. He’s not promising any reside exhibits in the speedy future, sans some extra Two Fingers DJ units. He has little urge for food to return to the large phases of ISAM, and suspects his viewers feels the identical.
“There’s a glass ceiling for that sort of behemoth,” he suggests. “People will eventually feel there’s a lack of intimacy and connection with the artist.”
What’s left then is, as he’s mentioned all alongside, the music, of which there’s lots; and new methods to share it with those that care to hear. Hopefully, that shall be sufficient in the intervening time
“Building your own communities like that seems really healthy,” Tobin concludes. “Having things that matter to maybe fewer people, but they do at least matter.”
Listen to “Full Panther” from Tobin’s Long Stories under, and look out for the album’s full launch Friday.