• Photographed by Nathan Seabrook.
  • Photographed by Paul Labonte.
  • Amon playing at ISAM Live at Roundhouse. Photographed by Frazer Waller.
  • Amon playing at ISAM Live at Roundhouse. Photographed by Frazer Waller.
  • Amon playing at ISAM Live at Roundhouse. Photographed by Frazer Waller.
  • Amon playing at ISAM Live at Roundhouse. Photographed by Frazer Waller.
Oct 12, 2012

Amon Tobin

Composer and producer Amon Tobin creates electronic music that is innovative and influential. Since signing with London-based record label Ninja Tune in 1996, the Brazilian musician has produced seven major studio albums. Tobin is considered to be one of the most significant electronic musicians due to his creativity and unique style. Many of his pieces have been used in award-winning independent films, major motion pictures and video game scores. Earlier this month, Tobin released his latest album, Two Fingers, and is currently wrapping up a tour for ISAM Live!

When did you get into DJ’ing and making music?

When I was about 13 I started out editing cassettes on a twin tape deck. My dad had tapes from his school to help with the English language pronunciation. and I'd cut them up to say silly stuff. Also, I would record the top 40 from the radio and make alternate edits for the kids at school.

Where are you based?

San Francisco.

How would you describe the music you make?

When people ask me this, I usually say, "We'll it's kind of like weird electronic stuff all done with computers." That normally translates into, "Oh, like Daft Punk then?"…which is fine.

How did you first get into the electro house/dubstep genre?

I suppose the best way to answer is say I'm not really a DJ. I have DJ’d and still do on occasion, but I've spent the majority of my music-making life experimenting with sound and its possibilities. The end result isn't much to do with dance music, even though I appreciate all kinds of dance music.

Where do you get inspiration for your songs?

I get my inspiration from learning about how music works in quite a technical way. The more I discover, the more lost I am in a world of possibilities, which is very exciting.

How has new technology made this genre possible?

It might sound corny, but although electronic music is realized by technology, it's just made by people. Therefore, its boundaries are very much set by imagination and a person’s emotional input. People who sell technology would have us think otherwise.

Do you have a signature style of playing music?

Over the years I've tried many different ways of working with lots of different tools, but, strangely, the music always sounds like something I did, which I suppose reinforces what I'm trying to say about people behind the machines.

What do you think the next revolution in music will be?

My money's on harmonica! I play harmonica and when the revolution comes round I'll be ready.

What do you listen to besides electronic music?

I listen to a lot of rock music, psyche rock, classic rock—Hendrix, The Stones, Zeppelin. Also newer bands like The White Stripes and Arctic Monkeys and I still love The Hives! I guess a lot of soundtrack stuff too and, of course, there will always be a place in my heart for ‘80s hip hop.

Listen to Amon Tobin on Spotify:

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