sonOnos : Dig Deep exclusively for MusicNews/Acid Techno
Dutch producer sonOnos delights us with one of his acid tracks, exclusively recorded for musicnews.fr, called ‘Dig Deep’. The track slowly builds at a 116 BPM over 21 minutes, transporting you to sonOnos’ universe.
We’re talking to sonOnos about his musical journey and his influences.
sonOnos – Dig Deep
MusicNews: I love ‘Dig Deep’. The production is really meticulous and it’s very progressive. Can you tell us more about what inspired you and also let us know if you consider Dig Deep a track or is it more a part of a live set? Is this what you usually do?
sonOnos: Thank you! I’m very glad you liked it! Well, that’s the thing, sometimes I get so deep into a track, exploring the possibilities of where I can go sonically, that it’s not really a track anymore and more a live set, but the line is a bit blurry.
It is actually a track called ‘Dig Deep’, but it’s 21 minutes long, so yeah I don’t know, is it a (small) set, or a track? I really don’t care, as long as i enjoy it, i’m not worried about the label. = )
It’s a relatively slow track, 116,7 BPM, a classic rhythm, as Paris said on his track The Devil Made Me Do It:
Tempo 116.7 – Keeps you locked in time with the programParis – The Devil Made Me Do It
Working on this it felt like I was deep, deep into a groove, working every angle, looking at every nook and cranny of the pit that was this song… So I came up with ‘Dig Deep’ as the title.
I didn’t have any immediate inspiration for this track, except for wanting to recall the feeling of those nights a couple of decades ago, where you would find yourself in a strange place, on a rush, with hypnotic music around you and your senses enlivened and blurred at the same time. A feeling of endlessness and connectedness…
MusicNews: when did you start producing?
sonOnos: I started producing in 2005. I was in a band called IndusTree before that, we played electronic music, but I was the singer and the dramatist, not so much the producer. I started producing on my own in February of 2005.
First with Fruityloops, then after a couple of months I started to buy my first pieces of hardware, and that’s how all of this started! sonOnos didn’t exist yet back then. I started producing under the name CausaliDox, later came Bob Knutton and finally sonOnos about 2, 3 years ago. I still use all 3 names to produce under, each of them is a different style
MusicNews: You rapidly went from using only a DAW to incorporating hardware in your setup?
sonOnos: I did! The allure of hardware grabbed me early on!
MusicNews: What led you to Acid? A party, a track, a live set you heard?
sonOnos: To be honest, it was the sound of the TB-303! That machine does something to my head. When the thing starts to bubble and gets all wet and plasticky, I get brainbubbles, as I used to call them.
Just something about that sound makes my brainjuices flow and driving up that filter, pushing up and up and up is a euphoric thing for me, I just get this rush! So definitely the machine that defined the sound is what got me into it.
I guess I was exposed to acid when I was quite young. I was born in the mid 70’s and I think I heard my first acid track around the end of the 80’s. It was an immediate curiosity, as I recall. The sound intrigued me and then in the early 90’s I found out that the TB-303 was responsible for that sound. I wasn’t producing electronic music back then.
Funny thing is actually, although I really loved acid, I enjoyed it very much to dance to and hear when I was at a party, I always thought it was a style of music I would never produce myself, even after I had started producing.
The 303 was prohibitively expensive even by the time I got into producing and the clones were all DIY or shitty back then. Also I was a bit intimidated by the looks and complexity of the sequencer, so I dabbled just a bit with software emulations of a 303, but I always thought it just wasn’t for me.
MusicNews: How did sonOnos start?
sonOnos: A couple of years ago I got really sick during the summer, what started as a cold, turned into an infection and another infection and another. I had really bad luck that summer. I was sick for three months.
After I finally got better, I wanted to go on holiday, just to recover and take my mind of things, but it was the middle of summer and I usually don’t take holidays at that time, because everybody else does as well. Everything was fully booked, so I couldn’t get away. I was frustrated.
Eventually I decided to use the money I was saving for that holiday to buy some new gear and say fuck it, i’ll hole up in my studio for a week or so, if I can’t go on holiday. That summer I bought my Cyclone Analogic TT-303 bassbot and after playing with it for 2 minutes I was fucking hooked.
Programming the sequencer was the easiest thing in the world to me, the sound had exactly the same effect it had on me when I first heard it and I was having so much fun twisting knobs.
That’s how sonOnos was born. I had the name for a long time, but never had a good use for it, until I started producing acid. Soon after I created the logo.
MusicNews: Wow, what a story. What artists inspired you?
sonOnos: I like Unit Moebius, Beverly Hills 808303, Rude 66. Most of what’s on Bunker I like, to be honest, also acid planet, that kind of thing, the Dutch acid scene. Also of course the classics like Aphex Twin and Drexciya.
MusicNews: We talked about your Acid influence, were you influenced by other genres as well?
sonOnos: Well, since I was young, I’ve been a fan of The Cure, The Sisters of Mercy and Skinny Puppy. There’s an inherent melancholy to the music of these bands and somehow melancholy is something that’s been part of my life for as long as I remember. That’s why most of my CausaliDox tracks have this moodiness and emotional charge to them.
Sometime in the 90’s I discovered Boards of Canada, which is also one of my favorite bands, not surprisingly their music is extremely melancholic. If you listen to something like the album ‘Second toughest in the infants’ by Underworld, or even and sometimes even more so their earlier album ‘Dubnobasswithmyheadman’, that’s electronic music in the form of techno, that oozes melancholy. ‘Dirty Epic’ is one of my favorite tracks by Underworld and that just rips me apart emotionally.
I’ve always been drawn to electronic music that has emotion in it. Aphex Twin is a great example of an electronic musician that infuses his music with emotion. His ‘Selected Ambient Works Vol. II’ is such a great example of this. ‘Rhubarb’ always hits me so hard whenever I hear it. The same goes for his electro / acid stuff, if you listen to the Analord series and hear tracks like ‘Where’s your girlfriend?’, ‘Crying in your face’ and ‘I’m self employed’, it’s incredible just how much feeling there is in these tracks.
MusicNews: Are you enjoying performing gigs?
sonOnos: The couple of gigs I have done since I started doing them again about one and a half years ago I have enjoyed enormously! I love the energy of the crowd, building tension and then letting everybody climax, including myself! Hahaha!
When I perform I play live, I have the same workflow as in the studio: no computer, no software, only hardware and to me that is a very intense and special way to perform. I feel connected to the machines, physically. Touching the machines, pushing buttons and tweaking knobs is such an immediate experience!
Although I’ve done a lot of the work before I perform, creating sequences, the order of the tracks, sorting out the effects, there is so much flexibility, control and creative decisions you have to make when you’re performing live with hardware. I absolutely love it. It feels a bit dangerous, but sexy as fuck and let’s be honest all those machines with the lights and knobs just look awesome! Hahaha!
MusicNews: Last gig?
sonOnos: My last proper gig was in Shenzhen in China in December of last year (2016).
MusicNews: Best gig?
sonOnos: My absolute best gig was in Hong Kong in November of last year. It was the Saturday of the Clockenflap festival (the biggest electronic music festival of the year in Hong Kong) and the festival stops at 10PM. Everybody’s been partying all day, then at ten at night it stops. So hordes of people flood into the city looking to continue their party.
I was invited by Biting Eye, labelowner of Acid Chicken Records (there will be a sonOnos album out on Acid Chicken later this year) and he had organized an afterparty, where he and I would perform live alongside a couple of DJ’s. The party was in the notorious Premium Sofa Club, the most underground club in Hong Kong (sadly they had to close just last week). It was a basement, with a couple of couches, rough, cement, bare walls, plumbing and pipes everywhere, bring your own booze.
Proper old school underground, fucking awesome! So we set up and around 11:30pm there were 50, 60 people in the club. We decided to just go ahead and start, thinking that maybe people decided to go home early since it was raining very hard. I started my liveset and was concentrating on my machines, looking down at the lights and knobs. After about 15 minutes I started to hear an intermittent low roar over the sound of my music.
I was confused, I didn’t know where the sound was coming from, so I looked up and discovered that the whole club was packed with people going crazy over my music, dancing, screaming and shouting. hahaha! That was an awesome experience! Also afterward I had a crazy night and day, I didn’t see a bed until the next afternoon, but I’m keeping those details private! Hahaha!
MusicNews: The next gig?
sonOnos: I have no concrete plans for a next gig, but I have two 45 minute acid techno sets ready to go, so if anybody is interested to put me on stage, contact me! = )
MusicNews: Any gigs planned in France?
sonOnos: No, unfortunately! I would love to play live in France! The French know how to party! = )
I hope you guys enjoyed hearing from sonOnos and his influences as much as we did, he will be back soon, to tell us more about his gear and machines in our Studio & DJ Gear section, where we will feature reviews about gear and interview artists about their way of producing.
We leave you with 2 more recently released sonOnos tracks: Blue and UnderGround.