solipsistic NATION No. 82: Amon Tobin

Amon TobinElectronic musicians often choose to be anonymous. That is to say, they present themselves persona free in opposition to rock bands like Fall Out Boy, who are slickly marketed and have a tailor made image to consumers who frequent stores like Hot Topic. And let’s be honest, a lot of electronic music is pretty generic. It sounds like it could have been made by anyone.

And then there are artists like Amon Tobin who creates music that is so distinct and unique that his sound is as identifiable as his finger prints. It’s like listening to ‘Trane; one you hear him blow his sax, it gets etched into your brain and from then on, you will always be able to pick out a Coltrane tune in a crowded and noisy bar.

Amon first hit the scene as Cujo with his 1996 release, Adventures in Foam. Amon was definitely influenced by drum and bass be he stood out, even then. Foam was laced wild horns, jazz drum breaks, Latin rhythms and a touch of exotica. Whatever the hell it was, it was great!

Amon quickly followed Foam with Bricolage, Permutation and Supermodified and took those themes further and further and as he went along his music got weirder and heavier. By Out from Out Where Tobin had become a full fledged soundsmith, tweaking and twisting his samples well beyond their source material. Foley Room found Amon sampling field recordings of lions, motorcycles and wasps rather than vinyl dug from crates and transforming it all into something utterly recognizable as being Amon Tobin.

On solipsistic NATION I play the best of all genres of electronic music. I’m not kidding around. I really mean it. Amon is the very best at what he does and I’m pleased that he has joined me on today’s show for a retrospective of his musical career so far.

I hope you enjoy the ride!

Photo Credit: Bruno Bollaert

  1. Amon Tobin “Creatures”
  2. Interview with Amon Tobin
  3. Cujo “The Sequel”
  4. Interview with Amon Tobin
  5. Amon Tobin “One Day In My Garden”
  6. Interview with Amon Tobin
  7. Amon Tobin “Bridge”
  8. Interview with Amon Tobin
  9. Amon Tobin “Nightlife”
  10. Interview with Amon Tobin
  11. Amon Tobin “Four Ton Mantis”
  12. Interview with Amon Tobin
  13. Amon Tobin “Chocolate Lovely”
  14. Interview with Amon Tobin
  15. Amon Tobin “Hey Blondie”
  16. Interview with Amon Tobin
  17. Amon Tobin “Back From Space”
  18. Interview with Amon Tobin
  19. Amon Tobin “Ruthless”
  20. Interview with Amon Tobin
  21. Amon Tobin “Esther’s”
  22. Interview with Amon Tobin
  23. Amon Tobin “Keep Your Distance”
  24. Interview with Amon Tobin

Download episode.
1:03:35 | 58.28 MB

Amon Tobin Interview: Unedited
When I arranged to interview Amon I figured I would get 15 or 20 minutes with him over the phone. Amon was extremely generous with his time and talked with me for nearly two hours. Amon gave me thoughtful and considered responses to my questions and it pained me knowing that there was no way I would be able to fit it all into a typical edition of solipsistic NATION. I decided to treat the interview like a movie DVD: I would use the edited version of the interview for today’s show but offer the unedited interview for download for those of you who wanted to hear the conversation in it’s entirety. It was a win-win scenario.

I’d like to thank Amon for taking time out of his weekend to talk with me. I’d also like to thank Jonath Shedletzky of Ninja Tune and Kim Hobbs of Envision Management for arranging the interview with Amon. I’d also like to thank Craig Ruiz, Nicolas Chevreux, Victor Chen, Dr. Toast, Mr. Fresh, Jay Dugger, Macedonia, Ben Mautner and Steve Howard for participating on today’s show. I wish I could have included all their questions during the show.

Download unedited interview.
1:25:49 | 78.59 MB

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  • Mr Fresh

    Great interview with Amon! I enjoyed every minute. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to pose a question. He’s quite insightful, as well as a character in his own right – The Dr Toast and Mr Fresh Show…hilarious.

    Thanks also on the tech background on what you used to produce the interview. I am a Skype user also…


  • solipsisticnation

    Mr. Fresh!

    I’m listening to your music form your MySpace page, “Tumon Run,” to be exact. Very emotional stuff. Nice break down, too.

    Glad you liked the interview. I got a good laugh from Amon’s suggestion that you and Dr. Toast should start a show.

    Oh, wait, “Tumon Run” is just an excerpt. Bummer. I’ll need to hit you up for a MP3 of the full track.

    Thanks again for participating on the show!

  • jason {macedonia}

    quite possibly the best interview show yet (although Jack Dangers could give this one a run for its money, we’ll see…) i love listening to this man talk about sound. i will more than likely be downloading the unedited interview.

  • solipsisticnation

    Wow, thanks, Macedonia!

    I hope I can deliver with my upcoming interview with Jack Dangers. I only had Jack on the phone for a half hour whereas I got to talk with Amon for nearly two hours. I don’t think I mentioned this anywhere but before I interviewed Amon I had two cups of coffee. At the end of the interview my hands were shaking because I had to pee so bad.

    The other interviews I’m hoping to do would be with Massive Attack, The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Bill Laswell and The Orb. Wish me luck.

  • Mikel O.D.

    Joe -
    If they were giving out an award for best compiled single episode podcast this show would be my choice. My mind is boggling over the feat of what you have accomplished with this one. Great interview, great use of clips and I loved how you made it interactive. How long did you spend on the editing on this one I wonder?

  • solipsisticnation


    Thanks so much your kind words. They mean all the more to me since I know you wrote them while on vacation in Florida.

    I had an absolute blast putting this episode together but I have to admit that it took an unbelievable amount of work and went through several iterations before I settled on the show you heard. It was definitely worth it but it’ll be a while before I tackle something this huge again because it meant coming home from work and working on this show every night for three weeks. And just when I thought I could rest, I had to bust ass to get this weeks dubstep show, which was almost as daunting.

    The interactive aspect of the show was a lot of fun and was going to be the focus of the show. That was the plan, anyway, I just didn’t count on the fact that Amon was going to be so cool and let the interview go on for nearly two hours.

    I’f I’m going on too much about this show, you’ll have excuse me because I’m really proud of it and it was a monster of a podcast to put together.

  • Headphone Commute

    This is the kind of a show that instantly becomes classic and timeless. Amon Tobin has been around with us for over a decade, and I revisit his earlier albums on a regular basis. Thanks to Solipsistic Nation I picked up his earlier album under Cujo [rereleased by Ninja Tune] which I shamefully dismissed as too early of a work!!! What a dope! I’m sure that just as I go back to Amon, I’ll be coming back to re-listen to this excellent interview over and over. Thanks for all the great work you do!

  • Headphone Commute

    And oh, damn, unedited interview??? I just noticed that! Grabbing and archiving now!!!

  • solipsisticnation

    Thanks, HC!

    I didn’t know what to expect with Amon’s Cujo releases but I was curious to hear where his head was at in the beginning of his career. As you can tell, that electronica bossa nova sound of his was already in effect, as well as those dark elements that would creep into his later work.

    Hope you enjoyed the unedited interview!

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