Originating in a New York apartment and completed in a garage in suburban Sydney, Jonti’s new album Tokorats is a psychedelic, harmony-rich dream-hop journey.
“This album was heavily inspired by the artist Moebius,” says Jonti, “In a lot of his images, there is a character sitting in a desolate landscape with some strange supernatural reflection of them occurring. I felt like those characters while making these songs, and each song is in a different setting (a city, a beach, underground hangout etc.).”
We asked him to talk us through the studio gear he uses to create such rich, magical soundscapes.
Moog Opus 3
This is probably the most important piece of gear I own, at least in terms of contributing to my sound. In high school, I started getting curious about the world of synths, Moog and Kraftwerk. I saved up and on eBay I came across this Opus 3 for $500. Researching it, it seemed to be known as a cheaper, lesser Moog, but I would take it over any 5k on the market. It's split into 3 sections - strings/brass (which is the Moogy oscillator part) and the organ. Unfortunately, my string section died and I can't seem to find someone who can fix it. I miss it deeply. But for such a limited synth, it really can achieve anything and always sounds good.
Moog Sonic Six
I got this before I started Tokorats. I felt like the Opus was a child of mine and now it has a sibling. I'm still fully figuring out what it's capable of, but sonically it is out of this world. So rich and beautiful. It has a very 'midnight blue laser' sound. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it really does have this cinematic, CS-80 like quality. And its got badass speakers, a crazy LFO system, is duophonic, and folds up in a case. Dream synth for sure.
I've always had an affinity with these SP samplers. I've used the 303,404, and this one extensively, mainly to collect sounds and make sketches of beats. I would always record everything through the effects. I used an SM57 into the 303's reverb as my vocal chain for a long time. But on Tokorats I've been using a Sebatron Preamp with a Spring Verb and other mics for vocals.
My DAW of choice. I use Ableton too now, but it always lands up in DP. I don't why I chose it but there are features in there I can't live without, like the POLAR looper and the way you can print plugins on audio. It's always marketed to Hollywood composers, but it's so amazing for electronic and hip-hop production. I guess it could do anything.
This is a $25 analog delay. It's cheap and it's the delay of my dreams.
60s Fender Mustang & Fender Strat Plus
The Strat was my first "real" big time instrument. It changed my life. I got the Mustang when I was doing the Gotye tour. I was overseas and needed a guitar for the shows and just came across it and fell deeply in love. I love the Strat too, but the Mustang has become my go to. I used it for the album, for live shows, and when I played with the Avalanches.
This is a recent purchase, but I think it's taking over my world. I've been learning it while doing this 'Beat Of The Week' series, and it's become the beat machine of my dreams. Exactly what I used to fantasize about when I got into sample-based production. I customised mine with blue pads.
Analogue Solutions Telemark
I feel bad because I want to explore it so bad, but I used it on the road for many years and now it needs a fix up. It is a huge beautiful sounding synth. It takes me to another world when it's lit up and all patched up. Beautiful synth.
Tokorats is out now via Stones Throw Records. For more information about Jonti, please click here.
Photo Credit: Theo Jemison