Amon Tobin on the perks of technology and why all electronic music is called dubstep these days
New Year's Eve is packed full of amazing shows and events, but few will compare to the party that is in store at City Hall with Amon Tobin. Before the spectacle begins, we caught up with the longtime experimental producer while he was on a holiday trip to Quebec, and he enlightened us with his wisdom on dubstep as it stands in North America, what it's like being an (uber) music nerd, and the joys of finding new sounds thanks to the advancements in technology.
Westword: I understand you're on the East Coast right now. Whereabouts are you?
Amon Tobin: Taking a little holiday break up in northern Quebec in a remote fishing village. It's really Christmasy here. I'm just taking a few days with some friends. I heard there is a storm on its way, so I hope that the flights don't get messed up. They say it might pass in the next day or two.
I saw you play on some previous stops through Denver for ISAM with the cubes, but you aren't bringing that, right?
The album I released is called ISAM, and the show with the cubes is the show for the ISAM record. On New Year's Eve, I'm DJ'ing. I had such a good time at the after-party in Denver last time, so when they invited me for NYE, I thought it would be a good time. I'll try to be a little less drunk. I think I might have fallen on the stage.
So you had a good time?
It's really a party, and it's NYE, so I'm trying to have a good time.
Are we getting a Two Fingers set? Can you tell me a little more about this project?
Pretty much, it's real drum-and-bass-orientated sounds. The whole record is something I've been building since 2005 or 2006, and it's just sort of bass-centric with heavy drum-and-bass influence music that I make in between my own stuff, which is much more personal and exploratory. Two Fingers is just naughty bass music. I'll be playing that kind of stuff, all kinds of bass-driven music -- everything except for dubstep. I don't have anything against dubstep, but if I hear another high-pitched screech I might stab myself in the leg.
You don't like dubstep?
It's weird, because a lot of those sounds are from productions like Noisia and Phace in the mid-2000s [which] then got mutated into the North American style of dubstep. I guess what people are now familiar with as "dubstep" is derived mainly from those drum-and-bass synths -- which is interesting, because it doesn't have much to do with U.K. dubstep, and it's this hybrid of drum-and-bass and dubstep.
So what exactly is Two Fingers?
Basically, it's kind of weird with Two Fingers. It has nothing to do with dubstep -- and everything to do with those sounds. The album came out, and it kind of got eclipsed by the dubstep moniker even though it's 173 half-step. I'm trying to make an effort to demonstrate what this kind of bass music is. It's a whole other creature, really.
Which do you like more: Two Fingers or the ISAM set?
It's nice to deejay a sweaty club environment instead of a glass cube for a change. It's a fun outlet.
Continue reading for more on Amon Tobin's NYE set.