INTERVIEW | Tone of Arc
Rumor has it your house is on a property that the Grateful Dead once frequented. Are you still living here? Is your studio here as well?
We used to live Healdsburg California on a vineyard in the house that the Grateful Dead lived for a summer yes tripping balls and running around naked at the river making music. We did all that too. We also got married there. We live closer to SF now but still in the woods. A family of deer and huge owls live at our house. We are far enough away were we can blast music as loud as we want and the neighbors can’t hear anything. Its nice walking out your house and not seeing humans. Especially after traveling the world and playing some of the biggest parties. Gotta ground out ya know.
Speaking of your studio, I imagine it as some mystical, ethereal space with hanging vines and cosmic dust. Am I too far off?
On some dimensions you are not far off. The crystal altar is right outside the door. It’s wall to wall instruments and foam padding. Dead is the term used to describe it but it is the heart of the house.
What is the writing process for you like? Any favorite synths or instruments?
Every session is different than the last so that could take forever to explain. Pick an instrument and go pretty much. Favorite synths are the Arturia plug-ins, korg ms2000. Favorite instruments we have is this set of Tama drums we just inherited, my Ibanez 9000 japanese slap bass from 1990, and this peavy telecaster my dad just got me with 6 pickups on it. My favorite and most valued instrument would be my wife though lol.
While some artists often find the creative process to be a slow and steady battle, it seems as though it flows quite easily for you. What do you attribute to this? What inspires you?
Practice makes perfect and once we started taking this career seriously it has all come together beautifully. We just had another wave of “can do” attitude hit hard so nothing stands in our way to make this career even bigger and better and more professional. It’s all for the people after all!
You were working on a solo project under moniker Dead Seal before teaming up with your wife and partner, Zoë, to form Tone of Arc. What led to the decision to become a duo? While it must be rewarding to pursue creative endeavors with your significant other, does it ever provide challenges?
Dead Seal still lives.. Thats me and comes out in all my music. Once I found out Zoe could sing I knew we would do great things. She would complete my work. It just made sense to keep at it. Challenges come and they go but can’t stop what we are doing. We have a really good formula that works so that is all that matters.
You’ve mentioned that you used to clear dance floors with your music prior to Tone of Arc. What do you think has caused the shift in response from the audience/dance floor to a very positive one? How would you compare your music then to now?
My music was ahead of it’s time. Im still releasing music from those days. Politics and empty dance floors is a story that every dj experiences in the beginning. So what I experienced was nothing special. SF is a clicky little town too so you are either one of the dj’s that plays all the time and gets respect or not. There is something that happens when a person is successful too. People all of a sudden trust you when you want to take them on a path less beaten. When people trust you you get positive energy focused on you and you become more confident and comfortable to be yourself. I was misunderstood and young. Now Im the bigger badder version.
You guys recently played Creamfields Brasil in front of a crowd of five thousand – how was the gig? Was this your biggest audience to date?
It was amazing. Super fun crowd. When the crowd is fun it makes for a show that lifts my soul. That was Zoe’s biggest crowd. I had played for 10,000 before in Montreal a couple years ago with Art Department.
In regards to your forthcoming Burning Man art installation, “The Crystal Chamber of Enlightenment” – do tell.
Burning man is not ready for this one. Not yet… I have to plan and pull together a lot of money and get the biggest crystals I can find from all over the world. It’s going to be the best installation ever experienced at Burning Man when Im done. It will be made to reach super consciousness.
Tone of Arc has been a part of this “live” movement that seems to be sweeping the dance music scene. Do you see live acts becoming a more prevalent part of electronic music?
In my opinion If you don’t start playing instruments you will be forgotten in less than 5 years and your records will be filled with samples and unoriginal material that gets lost in the endless void of bad music. People are far more talented and hungry for raising the standards these days. We are just getting started with all that. It’s a much bigger challenge to put together a full band. Everyone grows up and everyone experiences the real deal at some point and it’s hard to go back once you become a more experienced listener. But what do I know. I can’t go back is all I know. Forward is the key.
You’ve been busy playing shows around all corners of the earth and releasing a bundle of free music to your fans. What’s next for Tone of Arc? Is a new album in the mix?
We have a remix we did for Navid from Wolf+Lamb coming out on Touch Of Class in May, a 4 song EP coming out on Touch Of Class this summer, and a full length LP that needs a home outside of dance labels. The hunt is on and the album is sounding so good. In fact you will hear a bunch of songs from it at Bang Bang !!!
Can we expect any costumes at Bang Bang this Saturday?
Do you want Costumes?? We can do something I think. 🙂