DMCWORLD checks in with Chicago musican and producer Anthony Khan as he releases his debut solo album via Stones Throw. “The Clearing is a space and place of being free. We need to clear the debris from the desk and see the mahogany wood, so we can do the work. I don’t just want to talk, I want to do the work.” Get ready for some musical enlightenment…
Hello Tone, thanks for speaking with us. For anyone not familiar with you, please introduce yourself and what you do.
Hey, how are you? You’re welcome and thanks for having me. My name is The Twilite Tone. I motivate and inspire freedom via the content and platform I create as an artist, producer, songwriter, DJ, and/or host/M.C.
How would you describe your music? What are the elements that make it distinctive?
I would describe my music as the culmination of all, yet is not any said or set genre. It transcends genre or category thus I would like it to be defined as “trans genre” or just call it “The Twilite Tone”.
Talk us through your new album ‘The Clearing’? What drove you to create the album?
My new album “The Clearing” is a collection of songs where each one of those songs is a different stage in the journey of my life. What drove me to create this album was the want and desire to announce my sonic identification (my “sound”) or at very least begin the process. I thought by creating this project it could move aside or “clear” the debris of my past affiliations, accomplishments and/or reputation by deliberately offering something new with my name on it. As I was putting the project together, it dawned on me not only did I need a sonic identification, I needed a holistic identification as I felt like my past stood in the way of people truly seeing me, like a giant monster.
What do you feel has changed in the music scene, for better or worse, since you started making music professionally?
What has changed in the music scene, for so-called better or worse, is that there are no more gatekeepers standing in the way of you expressing yourself and getting your art out into the ethos with a click of a button. The power is with the people and with the Internet you can create or have something for any and everyone. Before you had to go through the “proper” channels just to be heard.
What piece of studio equipment couldn’t you live without?
Honestly, there is no one particular piece of studio equipment that I could not live without. The most important equipment I have is my mind//my point of view//my point of reference. However, I am partial to having a Technics 1200 turntable, an analog mixer, a MPC//3000, 2000XL, Renaissance, Live or Live II, a midi synth or keyboard controller, a MacBook Pro computer with Internet and my record collection.
Being from Chicago, has it had a big effect on you and your music, and does it still? What makes it special for you?
ChicaGO or GO ILL has had a big effect on me and my music and yes, it still does. What makes Chicago special is its unique take on things which it allows for ingenuity and reinvention of all things that comes from or comes through the city of ChicaGO. Although, when I was growing up here, the city’s segregation was the general agreement, I submerged myself in it’s diversity from the high school I went to (Kenwood Academy) and the variety of characters I was surrounded by to the different neighborhoods and sides of the cities with their different dialects, slang, and overall ways of being . I was in the middle of a social if not artistic civil war between the Dance Music scene (what is now known as “House Music’”) and the underground Hip Hop scene. In addition, being in the high school band, singing, DJing, making beats, rapping and the access I had to music and culture via my family as a teen – I had tons of stimuli that assisted to motivate and inspire me to be who I was and yes, who I am today.
How did you hook up with Stones Throw and what do you like about the label?
How I hooked up with Stones Throw was through a mutual friend of Peanut Butter Wolf and I, a gentleman by the name of Dave Mata. Dave was having a casual meeting with Wolf and invited me to join them, so I did. As I said, it was super casual and low key. Dave and Wolf were doing most of the talking and I was just being present to the convo. After about 30 minutes or so, Wolf turned to me and asked what had I been up to? I responded, “Actually, I just completed an album.” He asked if I had it and could he hear it. Of course, I said yes. I played it and honestly, I didn’t think he was paying much attention to it. When it was over, he said something to the effect of that he would love to put it through Stones Throw and I was like “cool”. A few days later I received an email from ST’s Jason Mcguire and Chris with their interest in the album and the rest is history (or my story). Before this meeting, I was just about to start shopping the project. However, I never wanted to just send it to anyone. I wanted to personally play it for them. Let’s just say I never got the chance to play it for anyone else after that chance casual meeting.
What I like about Stones Throw is their taste palette. Also, their ability and keen sensibility to market, promote and empower left of center, forward-thinking, paradigm-shifting artists and their material.
What have been the biggest influences in your music career so far?
The biggest influence in my music is remembering my purpose to motivate and inspire freedom via the content and platform I create. Beyond that, Life// the ups, downs and in-betweens of it all.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
What I picked up through my life experiences is to always be authentic, do your best, and remember that these gifts you have been blessed with are to assist you to be of service to UnIverse.
The Twilite Tone ‘The Clearing’ is released 9th October 2020 via Stones Throw