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Anthonie Tonnon

Anthonie Tonnon

Interviewed by
Danielle Street
Thursday 26th February, 2015 12:22PM

Auckland-based songwriter and performer Anthonie Tonnon is poised to release his new record, Successor, next week. The album is the first under his own name and will be composed of nine tracks that are (for the most part) written as second person narratives. "I wanted to write songs which, when you heard them, could feel like a condensed experience of reading The New Yorker’s "Reporter At Large" column," Tonnon explains. Long-time fans will be familiar with Tonnon's narrative style from earlier efforts Up Here For Dancing (2012) and Fragile Thing (2010), both of which were released under the Tono And The Finance Company banner that was retired in 2013, making room for new projects including writing and road-testing the material for a new album.

The recording of the Successor was undertaken at The Lab studios in Auckland and utilised a personal collection of analogue equipment, giving a mixture of fidelities to the album, which has been kept fairly tightly underwraps in anticipation for next week's release. UnderTheRadar was lucky enough to have a sneak peek at the track listings and decided to delve a little deeper and ask Tonnon some questions around the song names...

UTR: What memories do the words RAILWAY LINES evoke for you?

AT: I would actually say that for my generation in the South Island, railways are no longer nostalgia, they're fantasy. Commuter rail disappeared in the 70s, the Christchurch to Dunedin line closed before I left high school. All we have left is a tourist train, and while the Taieri Gorge track is incredible, I had a hollow feeling riding it because no one needs it anymore. The chance to ride real functional trains was part of my excitement with moving to Auckland. I love riding the western line, I think it's one of the best experiences in Auckland.

If you had BIRD BRAINS what kind of bird would you be?

Pied Shag. Best combination of air and water abilities, and I like that they still hang out around city harbours.

Are you more likely to put SUGAR IN THE PETROL TANK, or be the victim of such a prank?

I find it hard to imagine either. Though I will admit that when I'm sitting beside a sugar bowl at a cafe, eyeing up a Land Rover parked outside, I do daydream.

When you think about THE SONGS OF YOUR YOUTH, which ones are the most memorable?

'Don't Leave Me Now' - Supertramp: on cassette during holidays to the West Coast with my family. 'Something Good' - Bic Runga: one of the first songs I learned on guitar - such a great bridge in that song. 'Hard To Explain" - The Strokes: I waited 24 hours to download a video of The Strokes playing that song on Kazaa.

Extraterrestrial liquid water, or WATER UNDERGROUND, is a subject of great interest because it indicates the possibility of life on other planets. Do you believe in aliens, and if so, what do you think they would be like?

Amazing question! And I like that you asked this here rather than for 'Mt. Cargill', which is a song about alien abduction. I think that Aliens are a great device in fiction. My favourite aliens are the Tralfamadorians in Kurt Vonnegurt's Slaughterhouse Five. Just imagining that there may be aliens who experience time all at once and know the moment of their death and the end of the universe really helped me process life differently.

Have you ever had A FRIEND FROM ARGENTINA?

There is a gentleman in Buenos Aires named Pablo who is a big fan of Tono and the Finance Company. He put up this incredible cover of 'Twenty-Three' on Youtube.

What makes MT. CARGILL special?

It's the great landmark of Dunedin, and twice as high as the Sky Tower. On a hot day in Dunedin, there is a blanket of cloud just on top of the mountain, and in winter it's often snow capped. Those things, and the possibility of alien abduction if you walk to the broadcast antenna at the top.

You grew up in Dunedin, and now live in Auckland, but have you ever spent much time in THE CAPITAL?

Yes, I've been there so often, but never for long enough to lose my romance for the place. To visit is to arrive in a pop up book world. I was planning to move there from Dunedin until a good friend of mine told me that I was much more suited to Auckland. But I like to think that there is an alternate dimension where I live there, and you can find me with a glazed expression trying to choose my next rigger from Regional Wines and Spirits.

Have you ever been DUMPSTER DIVING?

Yes but it was an embarrassing effort. I battled with guilt and nerves right away and I just wanted to go home. I got my wish when we found the dumpster was locked.

Anthonie Tonnon is kicking off an extensive tour of the country next week to mark the release of Successor, head over here for more details and to buy tickets.


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