This Tuesday, we’ve lined up a trio of video interviews for your viewing pleasure. But one is rarer than the others. Amon Tobin tends to shy away from interviews, generally, let alone those on camera. Here, he agreed to talk to Beatport about his work.
Flanked by racks of very lovely gear from Moog and others, plus a computer running Steinberg Cubase as the central digital hub and recording center, Tobin emphasizes mainly the philosophy behind his approach. He emphasizes in particular his passion for experimentation, contrasting “entertainment,” which “depends on the approval of other people,” with what he describes as a “labor of love.” And that includes his ongoing Two Fingers project on the beat-making side, and his work under his own name, which eschewing any sort of commercial appeal, he calls “a weird art project that I’ve been working on for 15 years.”
Speaking of fingers, some of that weirdness comes from the Haken Continuum Fingerboard; there’s a nice moment where you can hear it making beautifully-mangled samples. For his part, Tobin is quick to add that you don’t need these tools – that “people will make amazing stuff out of nothing.” But to me, the Fingerboard’s role is important; it is quantitatively more accurate and expressive than something like an iPad.
It had better be, of course, costing a lot more, but I think it’s worth saying. While you can use an iPad for a similar purpose, you do have to work against some of those limitations, and this is a case where there is something to be said about different tools. (He doesn’t mention it, but notice, too, the Madrona Labs Soundplane lying just behind the Fingerboard, another compelling take on the same idea.)
Thanks to Steinberg for pointing this our way. Their nicely-maintained Google+ account is a great resource for Cubase users wanting extra tips and inspiration.
Also worth watching: here’s video of that ISAM Live show, its 2.0 iteration:
Now a few years old, but we went behind the scenes of an earlier version. (And yes, Amon is cagey about any discussion of greater details!)
There’s more detail on his “spectrum morph” approach to sound in a 2011 video accompanying ISAM:
And he really is rather musical on the Continuum:
And for more Two Fingers goodness, here’s a free DJ set from last year: