Josh Tonnissen is gearing up for a new musical adventure under his moniker Konjecture. He shares with us the most important details about his brand new EP ‘Catching Butterflies’, recorded in California. He simply loves electronic music as much as we do. Get to know him better through this exclusive interview!
1 – We know you have released previous tracks under different aliases such as Praxis and Josh Tonnissen. What makes Konjecture’s music different?
Throughout the 2000’s I had been releasing and performing under the name Praxis, where the focus on the sound was a heavy London Acid Techno drive skewed a bit on the psy tip. The music was much faster, very heavy and much more of a wall of sound or maximal production. Over the years I have been shifting my sound down BPM a bit (124-128) and focusing on more subtle modulations and timbre development. The Konjecture sound is certainly more minimal than my previous works, but hardly minimal in the genre definition. A major theme in my current sound it to decorate the stereo field with evolving polyrhythmic drum hits that have a continuous and non-repeating shift in timbre, almost developing in a music concrete random sort of fashion. Still rooted in driving Techno, the new sound is a bit more mature, refined, and is a snapshot of future technology and the human interface.
2 – Why did you name your debut album ‘Catching Butterflies’?
The album is a gesture toward capturing the burst of creative energy that swells upon you while in the state of flow. While some days in the studio deliver no results, others are a rush of ideas and concepts that often arrive at such a rate that there is simply no way catch them all. The Monarch butterfly migrates through Santa Cruz where I live, and when you watch the way they interact with each other and the moments of instant flight they have, it reminds me of these instances in the studio. One moment they are calm, and the next there are millions of butterflies in flight, and to catch them is to harness creativity at its core.
3 – Which track was the most difficult to create? Why?
Probably “Ballad Of The Tarantula Hawk”. This track had a series of challenges to keep the modular in check as there were lots of parameters that were being modulated by a host of various LFOs and sequencers. The main lead synth line that has a psy feel to it, was running through a 3/16th delay module that I had the feedback path patched through a Wasp filter, and both the cutoff and resonance of the filter were being modulated by different LFOs that were not synced to a clock. Since this filter module is a bit unstable, and the feedback from the delay unit could get out of hand times, keeping the system from pretty much exploding was testing, to say the least. Attenuating attenuators is the name of the game in modular synthesis, so this sort of treatment is pretty much standard operating procedure.
4 – What type of listeners do you believe would be interested in this project?
This album has the opportunity for a large audience of Techno/House fans to take note. People who are looking to keep a solid groove while still exploring sounds that have never existed before on any other project will take the most away for sure. There is a very subtle melodic theme throughout the album, so people that are not quite ready to peel away the various layers for deep sonic exploration will still have motifs to hold on to. The album is truly experiential, so sitting back and getting lost in the subtle movements is the goal…
I am inspired by so many folks from so many different types of music, but a few folks that I always find a home base with would be Joel Mull, Cari Lekebusch, John Tejada, Dominik Eulberg, Richie Hawtin, Richard Devine, Gui Boratto, and Gaiser.
6 – Will there be a change of style or any variation in your upcoming works?
While developing this uncharted sub-genre through my experimentations, I think there is still a great deal to explore that could fit nicely into the style. So that said, while the style of my music is in constant flux and development, I do see this style staying around for a while. There is some room of course for some more bangin’ jams as well, so well see what happens!
7 – How do you actually perceive the electronic music scene in Santa Cruz?
Santa Cruz doesn’t have much of a dance music scene here, unfortunately, but being a short drive from the San Francisco Bay area there is a rich assortment of underground sound to be heard. SF is known for House and Psy-Trance, but there is actually a good deal of Techno to be found if you look in the right places. Both Oakland and SF have been cracking down on the renegade warehouse events, but the music can always be found. The best part of the scene here is the number of promoters doing renegade 3-day campout events up in the mountains. These events really capture what the local scene is about and is a great place to explore the style of music found on Catching Butterflies.
8 – What are your favorite tools in the studio? Are there any plugins or synths that you cannot do without?
I am pretty sure I can’t live without my modular synth or vintage Roland gear. Computer stuff comes and goes, and all I really use is Ableton and its various native devices. I have one or two plug-ins that I may use (mostly Expert Sleepers Silent Way), but pretty much everything I do is outside the box. Once I record into Ableton, I will often pipe the computer processed sound back out and through various hardware, pieces to add a bit of edge.
Genres are constantly evolving, and I would imagine that while I don’t think I can accurately forecast a future change in style, I do believe that the interface of human and production technology will evolve quickly. AI is going to play a major role in how people create sounds and music, so certainly, lots to be explored! For music, I think folks will want to infuse a complete listening experience over time, and reducing the full-blown melodic components and infusing more hypnotic flavors could do just that.
10 – Are you planning to perform live anytime soon?
Currently trying to find a balance between work, music, bike riding, and family is the goal at the moment, but indeed bringing out the hardware Live PA is certainly in the future.
Contact / Booking info: firstname.lastname@example.org