In the wake of their first official album release, Slovakian ambient producer Tondchee spoke to us about their aspiration to compose electronic music and their 7-track cassette release ‘Body of Water‘.
Please tell us about yourself in a few words (who you are, where you’re from, what you do etc.).
Hey there, and thank you so much for hearing me out! My name is Anthony, 18 years old, based in Slovakia, where I’ve lived my whole life. If you haven’t been here yet, I would heavily suggest checking it out.
What is the story behind the origin of your artist name?
People used to give me nicknames all the time, for my name was somewhat foreign and confusing. “Tonči” is a common nickname for people with my name. Though only a few people called me that, it stuck with me and when it was time for choosing an artist name, spelling it in English worked pretty well. The “d” is silent, it’s function is making it more straightforward searching for me on the internet, plus it adds a touch of originality and rounds it off beautifully with 8 letters in total. Still, I’d say it’s one of the more pronounceable names out there.
Please describe your music for us.
Genres rarely describe music trustingly enough, but I would go with future garage, ambient, drone… Often bass oriented with meticulously crafted atmospheres, carrying a melodically driven theme.
Do you try to express something tangible through your music? A particular mood or feeling perhaps?
Attaching a song to a feeling, place, experience has always been a magical phenomenon for me, being able to provide something just like that for somebody else is just one of those magical things about making music.
“I’d call it a diary. With ups and downs, exploring interpersonal relationships, the journey to become a better person, to transform one’s self”
Who are your major musical influences?
Out of many, Fading Language, Izzard, Sorrow, Phelian, Azaleh, Sublab, RefraQ have all had an immense impact on my music and non-musical life overall. From other parts of the musical spectrum: Matt Van, San Holo, Medasin, Virtual Riot, Subtronics, Logic… now I’m just describing my musical taste, whoops!
I grew up on classic rock, or whatever my parents had been listening to, so I guess I’ll have to thank them for exposing me to such enriching music from the get go.
How long have you been producing, can you describe the moment when you first realised you wanted to make music?
I’ve been producing for roughly two years now, though I’m not sure if I can recall the exact moment I realised this was my calling. Must’ve been my curiosity to explore different forms of self-expression. I’ve been playing the piano for about 10 years now, so wanting to convey a message through sound has always been sort of an inner craving or goal of mine.
Tell us a little about your current studio setup (equipment, software etc..)
I use FL on a mid range laptop and a pair of affordable headphones. I’d argue – the less, the better. Knowing your equipment and a thing or two about sound design will get you a lot further than stockpiling plugins you will likely never use. Don’t get me wrong – of course, everything has its time and place, but for the average producer that should satisfy most needs. I’ve got a digital keyboard as well, making coming up with original ideas a little more organic.
Your forthcoming album ‘Body of Water’ is your first official album release and first ever to reach a physical format. Tell us more about the concept and emotion which is carried throughout the release.
I’d call it a diary. With ups and downs, exploring interpersonal relationships, the journey to become a better person, to transform one’s self and, well, love. But at the end of the day, it’s all up to interpretation of the listener.
What is your approach to starting a track, is there a routine you set for yourself?
Generally I’d start with a melodic idea, a suspenseful atmosphere or a somewhat functional chord progression. Starting a track and setting its vision is arguably one of the hardest parts of producing. If nothing sparks the beginning of a new track, I veer off to the sound design side of things and start off there. Revisiting old and long forgotten projects can also be a great source of inspiration. If any seemingly random musical idea comes to mind throughout the day, I write it down and pick one from the list if I ever run out of things to try out.
How has your music evolved since you first began producing?
Having tapped into EDM and starting off with experimenting what’s sonically possible, I could say my course has been pretty much steady, always revolving around atmospheric, melodic bass music. With time, mixing and mastering have become a lot less frightening thing to tackle and creating memorable melodies require considerably less inspiration and luck.
Out of your entire body of work, is there one track that means the most to you and why?
If I had to choose, 23. The track sort of appeared out of the blue and it’s one of my first encounters with composing a touching and personal track that resonates with me to this day. For some reason it ages like wine and grows onto me with time, forever exploring it like I had never heard it before.
As an artist, what would you say is your ultimate goal?
To grow and give back. To leave something behind, to help and inspire.
“Trust the process. Inevitably you will get frustrated and uncomfortable at times, but be assured, greatness is coming.”
Any particular artists you’d like to work with?
cash, I’m still waiting on your call haha! In all seriousness, I would love to share ideas back and forth with almost anyone. However, Azaleh has been at the top of my list. We’ll just have to wait for me to evolve a little more as an artist. ^^
What’s on the horizon for you musically?
Alongside single releases or possibly EPs, you can expect something a little (very) different that’s going to surface probably as a different alias, we’ll still see about that. There’s a lot that hasn’t seen the light of day yet.
Best advice you were given in regards to having a music career?
Success (by your own standards) is an obligation, otherwise you are doing yourself and others a disservice. There are so many people that could possibly benefit or take away something from your creation.
On the technical side, use reference tracks. Pay attention to sound selection and stereo management. Rely on visual feedback when mixing.
Any advice you can share with those just starting out?
Trust the process. Inevitably you will get frustrated and uncomfortable at times, but be assured, greatness is coming. Music can have such a life changing influence on people it would be a shame to not put yourself out there even if you have something at least slightly of value to offer. Don’t be afraid to be critical with your shortcomings and focus on gradually improving, it’s going to be a long ride. Don’t be intimidated by music theory and sound design, they often end up becoming your greatest allies.
And finally, are there any artists that are relatively unknown that you’d like people to know about?
Off the top of my head: Almost Vanished, Reversed Fireworks, Túrion… There are certainly many unrecognized incredible artists out there, do be on the lookout. Not to forget, shout out to my buddy Patros15, who has been there for me in the worst of times and introduced me to this community in the first place.
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