October 20th 2011


He's the first Australian act to be signed to US label Stones Throw Records, makes music with Mark Ronson and members of Odd Future is is just about the nicest guy in the biz. Finding his start playing alongside Sydney's best and brightest electronic music wizards including Megastick Fanfare and Domeyko/Gonzales, Jonti is now standing on his own two feet.

Jonti has treated us to a tune or two with his bandmates as Djanimals (formerly Danimals before a US yoghurt company decided to get sue-rious) but is finally ready to unleash his debut solo album Twirligig, an epic electronic chillfest three years in the making. We had a chat with the mixing mastermind in between US adventures and jamming with Hodgy Beats.

FBi: You’ve opted to stand on your own two feet this time instead of hanging with Djanimals for this one. How does it feel going solo?

Jonti: It’s been a long time fear to be a solo personality/artist. I always did the music purely because it was something I wanted to create. It feels good to finally be naked and not worry about others opinions.

You’ve recorded with some pretty damn gigantor names by now; Mark Ronson and Hodgy Beats to name a few. How did you meet these guys?

Mark Ronson came out through the Ted The Lab competition. And I was speaking to Hodgy last year on email before he blew up, and I ran into him in Sydney and then we decided to do a track together when I was in LA. He's that dude.

How did you and Stones Throw Records find each other?

When I finished the album back in 2009, I wanted to get it mastered, so I sent it to my dream mastering team Elysian Mastering who handle a lot of the ST releases. They liked the album a lot and they passed it onto Peanut Butter Wolf. Then I got a call shortly after!

You’ve been adventuring in the States for the last few months! What’s your favourite thing about the US?

The music. And the people. I’ve always loved LA music for some reason. Beach Boys when I was a kid, John Frusciante when I was a young teen (random, I know), and then Stones Throw, Brainfeeder, Alphapup, OFWGKTA and Low End Theory scene now.

That being said, what’s your favourite thing about Sydney?

I love the music. And the people. I also love the ocean and Japanese food in Sydney. But on the real: the very promising young and enthusiastic music scene and good peoples.

Back to proverbial grassroots, when did you start making music?

I started making music when I immigrated to Australia from South Africa. It helped me find my identity here.

What’s the first CD you ever bought with your own pocket money?

It was a Red Hot Chili Peppers album I bought to fit in at school, hah. My first proper album I bought was Beach Boys Smiley Smile/Wild Honey twofer CD. [It was] really influential on me because it was so strange, unlike anything else before or after.

And finally, what exactly is a “twirligig”?

Twirligig is a film by film hero Norman McLaren. I assumed it arrived from whirligigs, which I thought fitted the vibe of the album.


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