podcasts / Atomnation Podcast #013 Tonik Ensemble

The Atomnation Podcast series is a monthly curated mix by friends and like minded artists of the label. Follow us on SoundCloud and Mixcloud for updates.

Icelandic connection Tonik Ensemble created our 13th podcast. Anton released ‘Snapshots‘ with us in 2015, a cinematic electronic album supported by The Guardian, Hypem, Earmilk and TLOBF. Ending up in various end of the year lists, the record eventually became album year on The Reykjavík Grapevine. Below a Q&A about what’s next, his live show, Iceland and the approach of this mix. Enjoy!

Hi Anton, thanks for contributing this mix. In 2015 you released your debut album ‘Snapshots’ with us. Could you tell us a bit more about the project? Who you collaborated with for example, and what kind of sound you were trying to bring.

For Snapshots I was going for deep, organic and atmospheric sound, a clash between live instruments, vocals and electronic sounds, the human versus the machine and all that. In terms of themes, its life, death, happiness and stuff. I wrote the first song for that album, or the first draft, Imprints, in 2010. Through the album I collaborated with various people: cellist Þórður Hermannsson who appears in all the songs, vocalist Jóhann Kristinsson, vocalist Hörður Már Bjarnason, vocalist and composer Ragga Gísla, Tumi Árnason plays saxophone in few songs, musician and vocalist Shipsea, I even worked with a local choir on Nangilima. The alternative to sampling.

How does that translate into a liveset?

Parallel to working on that album, I was playing live quite a bit with some of the talented people I mentioned earlier, playing around with elements of improvisation from a gig to gig. The foundation is the same, but every instrument and performer brings its own character creating an experience different from the album track. Liveset is an ever-evolving beast, for example, atmospheric guitar layers have been apparent in the liveset this year.

You’re based in Iceland. How is it to live there in the winter times? Which season do you recommend people to visit Iceland?

For the music lover I would say the perfect time would be around a festival, Iceland Airwaves in early November, Sonar Reykjavik in March or Secret Solstice in June. There you can catch some local and international music alongside your travel. Winter can be dark and gloomy. From summer solstice to winter solstice, sunlight goes from 24 hours to the sun barely going up. That said, vitamin D, swimming and skiing make winter quite enjoyable.

Your mixtape contains many soundscapes and electronica focused tracks. Something we really like. Where do you usually go when looking for new music?

When I need new music it is almost like research for me. I have a nice echochamber of a twitter and SoundCloud feed following the usual suspects. I also find the soundhound app quite helpful. On top of that, live shows and recommendations from friends.

What are you working on at the moment?

Next output will be a remix which we have been performing in our live shows in October and November; you can hear a live recording from Enlighten Festival 2017 in the podcast; the remix should be out in December or January. But I am currently working on new material, trying to develop the sound further. You can hear some of it in the Tonik Ensemble live shows, it will eventually end up on a release.


01. Larry Stephens – Offering
02. Rebekah Del Rio – Llorando
03. Úlfur – Arborescence
04. Ennio Morricone – Chi Mai
05. Stephan Bodzin – Singularity (Synthappella)
06. Robot Koch and Savannah Jo Lack – Instructions For Time Travel (Recue Remix)
07. christoph el truento – Sunflower
08. Holy Other – Inpouring
09. Antena – Camino Del Sol
10. Floex – Prenatal Hunters (Floex Revision)
11. Gunnar Jónsson Collider – The Dream
12. Love Unlimited Orchestra – Midnight Groove
13. Mønic – Deep Summer (Burial Remix)
14. Án –  Hlutfall
15. Max Cooper – Organa
16. Kowton – Pea Soup
17. Stillhead – Spirit Remains (Tonik Ensemble Remix – Live at Enlighten Bury 2017)