Muso you need to know: Anthonie Tonnen

It’s no secret that New Zealand is home to some seriously good musical talent. In fact, our little pocket of the world has produced so many notable musos throughout the years, that we can almost come to expect landslide victories at every awards show from here on out (Lorde – we’re looking at you).

And if there’s one thing these musos have in common, it’s their penchant for rocking one denim brand in particular – Levi’s.

Synonymous with musicians, artists and creatives for generations, Levi’s have launched their latest menswear campaign, ‘Live in Music’, born from their deep affinity with the music industry.

The campaign highlights real life Kiwi talent, and it doesn’t just stop at musicians – think producers, sound engineers, guitar technicians and more. Twelve unsung heroes of the music world are all captured on screen rocking their favourite Levi’s pieces, in a series of video interviews that pay tribute to the music community, and the incredible efforts that go on behind-the-scenes to bring a live show, album, or tour to fruition. 

The abundance of creative young Kiwis in the NZ music industry inspired us to catch up with one of our favourite up-and-comers, Anthonie Tonnen, during a break in his nationwide tour to find out where his unique sound comes from, and what’s next on the agenda for the ‘Successor’ artist.

You were one of the lucky ones to be involved in Levi’s latest project – congrats! What does the iconic Levi’s brand represent to you?
I like the history – what people may not know is Levi’s used to be a gold rush business. I hail from Dunedin, which wouldn't even exist if it weren’t for the gold rush, so it's a company of a similar age; born from similar processes as my town. I like their ability to change image over 150 or so years while keeping a simple idea at their core. But most of all, I like that they're putting money down for music, setting up prizes and things, really rolling up their sleeves. We can use the help!

Who and what inspires your music? 
Sometimes, I draw my inspiration from an everyday, non-fiction story, which buzzes with a hidden current or a hint of something bigger - a history or a context larger than its initial appearance. When I find something like that, that’s when I think I might be able to put music behind it. 

How would you describe your music? Do you feel it transcends different genres?
My style and songs develop with time and performance. You should be able to call it pop music. My live show includes awkward dancing and home soldered electronics. And I believe, in some ways, those are the cornerstones of pop music.

You’re currently in the middle of a NZ-wide tour, what’s been your favourite show so far?
My favourite show is always the next show. But playing at the Royal Whanganui Opera House recently brought about the realisation of something I've hoped to do for some time - it felt like a show that reached into an older world, that is still there, with a faintly beating heart.   

How do you like to spend your down time?
I like intense routine - the opposite of touring. I like to write in a studio, and keep very 9-5 hours while I do. I like to take a night class. 

Can we expect another album from you anytime soon?
Please do….  

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