Audeze talks to electronic music pioneer Amon Tobin

August 18, 2021

Audeze talks to electronic music pioneer Amon Tobin

Amon Tobin’s life and work in sound design, spanning over 25 years, has produced some of the most important, era-defining records of his time. His work has continuously set the pace of sonic exploration and musical adventurism that has helped to shape much of what has come since.

"I use them for a detailed view of my recordings, checking the imperfections I might overlook otherwise, and of course stereo imaging." - Amon Tobin
Here's our chat with Amon:
Can you pick out any favorites from your work that you're particularly proud of?

The records I'm most proud of currently are aliases I've released under, namely figueroa and stone giants. They represent everything I've learned up to this point along with being uncomfortably new territory for me.

How would you define your main role on most of the projects you work on these days?

Thankfully this hasn't changed since I started making music. I write music, record and produce it, then sometimes I perform it too. Lately I've also taken on the role of a label owner but that's a separate thing and luckily I have amazing people helping with that.

How did you get started in music? What kind of music did you listen to while growing up and how has that progressed?

I started by playing around with cassettes when I was a teenager. I'd edit songs and make different versions of them. This moved into samplers, field recording and eventually synthesis of recorded sound. My interests now encompass all of these things along with many other forms of synthesis.

Can you name any factors that influenced the course of your musical life? Heroes, role models, moments, interactions, etc?

I'm mainly motivated by curiosity, love and vengeance. Role models might include Prince for raw talent and charm, Bob Dylan for uncompromised dedication to a personal expression, and Jodorowsky for spirit and originality.

Can you briefly describe a moment of frustration from your past work, and what you may have done to overcome the obstacles? Would you approach it differently now?

I tend to think of obstacles as the driving force that underlies creativity. Whether it's the ingenuity to escape meager resources or the force to punch through boundaries others have created. None of this makes any of it less frustrating of course, it fucking sucks a lot of the time but there's a point to it I think.

There are loads of things I'd do differently now if I could go back for a second try, but I'd be robbing myself of the rewarding experience of learning and the mistakes I needed to make.

Is there any gear you find yourself turning to most when working on a project? What are some of your favorite tools/instruments recently?

I love my Neve eq's and compressors. I love them so much.  I use them every day on whatever I'm mixing. Also my awkward Buchla synths, my tube based equipment and a Neumann M49 mic I'm lucky enough to have here in the studio.

Do you have any words of wisdom for people who might aspire toward a similar path for their own careers?

I'd say embrace your limitations as they are your friends. They'll force you to develop the areas of yourself that are unique in order to overcome them.

How do you typically use your Audeze LCD-XC headphones in your workflow?

I use them for a detailed view of my recordings, checking the imperfections I might overlook otherwise, and of course stereo imaging. I do often just listen in headphones for pleasure too, there's something undeniably immersive about a good headphone listening experience.

Can you tell us what you've been working on with them lately?

I've been working on a lot of vocal recordings lately. I've used the closed back design of my original pair to monitor my voice while recording. Also as a reliable alternate reference against my studio monitors.