Interview with David Tonkin (Isomer), 3-4 February 2004 on The Vanishing Point radio program.

The Vanishing Point - 3D Radio 93.7FM, 11pm Tuesday to 1am Wednesday, Adelaide, Australia


Alan Bindig (DJ)
David Tonkin (Isomer)

Song:  Isomer - untitled

Alan Bindig:  Good evening.  You're listening to The Vanishing Point on 3D Radio 93.7FM.  You're here with David Tonkin from Isomer who's here and who is our guest programmer tonight, playing some tracks and so forth.  I should also talk about why you're here in a general sense as well, tell us about some upcoming Isomer events.

David Tonkin:  Events?

AB:  Well, there'sa few things, firstly you're also on the gig with Merzbow and Bonsai Kitten... but there's also your CD that's going to come out and also the other ones that have just come out.

DT:  Chastity Records, who I'm not even sure if you've told people on the radio before, is *you*.... [laughs]

AB:  [laughs]  Oh, I think they know from the Rip It Up interview!

DT:  ...were kind enough to offer to re-release my first three cassettes, recorded two or three years ago.  Sothey've been re-released now on CD, distributed by E.C. Productions here in Adelaide.  So there's that, and Tesco Organisation in Germany have offered to release my new CD, which is as yet untitled... That was a track, that first one was from the as yet untitled CD, and an as yet untitles track, but that's my "Australiana" song, because there's the magpies, but there's also koala samples in the background just treated as well, so it's a homage to Australia.

AB:  What do the koalas sound like?

DT:  That was the [makes droning noise] in the background!  [laughs]  Yes, and the Merzbow gig coming up next week, which I'm really looking forward to.

AB:  What can people expect to hear from you at the Merzbow gig?

DT:  Something generally a bit noisier.  Still not "Merz-noise", as you put it, but it's noisier than most of the other material that I've done, in more of an ambient way, I guess, just a 20-30 minute set.

AB:  Okay, well we'll play some tracks now, we'll probably some of the other Isomer things a bit later, but now we've got Novy Svet, so tell us about this piece and this band and so forth.

DT:  I don't know a lot about them.  I think they're Austrian.  Novy Svet, which means "New World" as far as I know, they're a really interesting band, they're sort of in a class of their own, because they incorporate all sorts of different styles of music, including Spanish flamenco, and a little bit of punk thrown in here and there, and just a very weird, cinematic, avant-garde aesthetic to it, I guess.  It's really quite interesting, with this really distinctive voice.

AB:  Here's a song, it's called "Begin Ala Fin" [transcriber's note - probably spelt wrong!]

Song:  Novy Svet - Begin Ala Fin
Song:  Haus Arafna - Must We Burn

AB:  You're listening to The Vanishing Point on 3D Radio 93.7FM.  Here with David Tonkin from Isomer who is our guest programmer tonight.  What did we just hear?

DT:  That was something from the new CD from Haus Arafna, Mr. and Mrs. Arafna.  It's a CD called Butterfly and the track's called "Must We Burn".  The whole CD's a bit closer in style and delivery to their side-project November Novelet, which is not as... I guess the noise element isn't as manifest as in the other Haus Arafna stuff.  It's really quite interesting.

AB:  You want to play k.l.murder now?

DT:  Yeah, k.l.murder!  Odd sort of band, they must be complete fruitcakes, I'm not sure who they are... local outfit... who have this CD called Dungeon Sex Session, which I think has just been re-released, hasn't it?

AB:  Yes, it has.  It's been re-released with a whole bunch of extra tracks, as well as their new CD called Slaveworld, which has just come out as well.

DT:  Have you heard Slaveworld?

AB:  I haven't actually had a chance to even sit down and listen to the final product!  Even though I'm kind of involved in the releasing of the whole thing, I haven't actually heard it after it's all been done. I've heard it while it was being mastered, once, but - that's about it!

DT:  They must be twisted individuals...

AB:  Yes, I'm sure!

DT:  This is a great track, it's the first song from the CD, called "Eat My Fuck, Bitch"! [laughs all round]

AB:  Okay, here it is.

Song:  k.l.murder - Eat My Fuck (bitch)
Song:  Ennio Morricone - Fistfull of Dollars Theme

AB:  You're listening to The Vanishing Point on 3D Radio 93.7FM.  We're with David from Isomer, and he's programming, and that was Ennio Morricone.

DT:  One of the title themes to Fistfull of Dollars.  We were just talking about during the track that it's recognisable as being sampled by Der Blutharsch in one of his tracks, so it's good to hear in its original context.  It's a great little track, I love Ennio Morricone's stuff in general, the sphagetti western stuff's nice.

AB:  We're playing now this track from The Alarmist, which is your other project.

DT:  It's probably just a once-off.

AB:  How did it come about - what made you decide to...?

DT:  It was a couple of nights of fiddling around with a couple of different programs, and I came out with this 20 minutes worth of music, which I guess was sufficiently different from Isomer to justify a different name.  And I've always liked the 3-inch format, it's a cute little thing.

AB:  Yes, I should mention that it comes in a 3-inch disk.  So.. I suppose, it's probably going to be very limited availability, this CD...

DT:  Yeah, I just burnt them all myself, and printed it msyself so it was only 40-50 copies in total, half of which are probably going to be given away by tomorrow!  I've already given quite a few of them away!  Big Star at the moment don't want to carry it at the moment because of the format; it's difficult to display because it's just a 3-inch.  If there's going to be a merchandise table at the Merzbow gig I'll bring along a few there and sell them for $5 a piece or something....

AB:  I think there will be - it's too good an opportunity to miss, I think...

DT:  [laughs]  I don't know if it's that good! The track titles were... I guess it was partly because of the small format, but I wanted to somehow make it a bit bigger, so the track titles and the CD title were about senses.  They were supposed to invoke the senses, so touch and smell and taste and those sorts of things, to try and make it a little bit bigger than it actually is!  [laughs]

AB:  Well we'll play something from this now, this is a piece called "Diamond Pillow", from the Alarmist CD, Cinnamon Sticks and Blow Jobs.

Song:  The Alarmist - Diamond Pillow
Song:  Scorpion Wind - Preserve Thy Loneliness

AB:  You're listening to The Vanishing Point on 3D Radio 93.7FM.  That was Scorpion Wind just there, a piece called "Preserve Thy Loneliness", from Heaven Sent.  Tell us about why you picked that particular track.

DT:  I just like the track!  [laughs]

AB:  Fair enough!

DT:  I reckon it's a really overlooked CD, this one.  I guess partly because it's hard to find, and the people involved weren't too happy with the artwork either, with sort of detracts from the music itself.  But it's a collaboration between Douglas P. from Death Iin June, Boyd Rice, and John Murphy from just about everything... recorded up here in the foothills of Adelaide.  It's stunning material, so I was really happy when I picked it up.

AB:  Next up we're going to play something from one of your reissued CDs.

DT:  This is from Semblance of Perfection, which was my very first effort at music, I guess.  It was originally just released under my own name, because I didn't have a moniker to use, I was just David Tonkin, which was not very "rock", so I had to come up with something!  [laughs all round]  The first tape was recorded back in 2001, and the track is called "Dance of the Sheeple".

AB:  Yes!  Here it is.

Song:  Isomer - Dance of the Sheeple
Song:  Whitehouse - Princess Disease
Song:  PPF - La Belle France jes ca L'amore

AB:  You're listening to The Vanishing Point on 3D Radio 93.7FM.  We're with David Tonkin from Isomer.  That was PPF.  Tell us about PPF and their CD, and so on.

DT:  I don't know if you should be asking these questions, because I don't knwo a lot about some of these bands!  All I know, French band, I guess, well it's fairly obvious from listening to it, that it's all analogue equipment as far as I know.  Yeah, that's about all I know.  I mean, I don't speak French, and it's got a pretty elaborate A5 gate cover with a whole lot of French, and wartime propaganda which looks vaguely socialist I guess, and that's about all I know about them!  [laughs]  But the track is called - if I can pronounce this properly - "La Belle France jes ca Lamore".

AB:  Very good - you're better than me at that!  Before them was Whitehouse.

DT:  Yeah, I thought we'd better play some Whitehouse because they're coming to Australia.  Unfortunately not to Adelaide.

AB:  A bit sad, but there you go.  There were attempts to get them here actually, but....

DT:  Oh, there was?

AB:  Yeah, but it couldn't be done for economic reasons.

DT:  I found out a couple of nights ago that they're in Australia for the What Is Music festival in Melbourne and Sydney, which is also why Merzbow's in Australia, as far as I know.  So, he was kind enough to drop off in Adelaide, but Whitehouse probably said "nah - not worth our time and effort" [laughs] but - it would have been interesting to see Whitehouse live even if it was just... apparently all what their live gigs are now is them getting drunk and just abusing the audience, that was what what it always was, but not they're twice the age!  [laughs]  But it'd still be interesting, it'd be great to see live.

AB:  Yes, well I'm sure some people are packing their bags for Melbourne or Sydney.

DT:  Yes, I'm sure they are.  That track was from the album Cruise, and the track's called "Princess Disease".

AB:  Next up we've got Muslimgauze.  Tell me about this band, because I know they've got a ton of releases, but I really know nothing about them whatsoever.

DT:  I think he released several hundred in his lifetime.  He was a guy in England, Brian someone I think, who died just last year or the year before, from some long-lasting disease.  I don't think he was Muslim himself, but he released over a period of 20 years all this material dealing with themes surrounding Islam and specifically political situations surrounding Islam, and he was very pro-Palestine.  So there's tracks called "Anti-Arab Media Censor"... and he's got, or he did have this amazing ability to incorporate.... generally he used rhythms and samples from the Middle East and South Asia, which this track's a good example of, but he quite often made it either very noisy or very ambient, and threw in a lot of electronic metarial as well, and some samples here and there, so it's some interesting stuff.

AB:  Well, here it is - Muslimgauze.

Song:  Muslimgauze - Anti-Arab Media Censor
Song:  Peaches - Fuck The Pain Away

AB:  You're listening to The Vanishing Point, and we're with David Tonkin from Isomer who is programming the tracks.  That was Peaches.

DT:  Yeah!

AB:  You're a Peaches fan?

DT:  Well, to an extent.  I'm going to see her, Thursday night I think she's playing, which should be interesting!  That was a track called "Fuck The Pain Away", from I think it was her first album, The Teaches Of Peaches.  So, sorry, not particularly experimental, but we've got to promote the upcoming gigs, and [laughs] ... Some of it is actually left of field.

AB:  She's certainly different to everyone else!

DT:  Yeah definitely, she's unique!

AB:  Next up we've got Nico, from Velvet Underground, doing her thing on The Marble Index.  Tell us about htis track and...

DT:  I haven't heard a lot of her solo stuff but I used to love The Velvet Underground.  I listened to them with a passion years back, and just was really taken with voice on a couple of tracks that they use.  So I found, well I bought not too long ago this solo album of hers, and she's got this incredibly crystalline voice, stunning... this album, what's it called again?

AB:  The Marble Index.

DT:  John Cale did the arrangements for it, but I think Nico wrote all of the music herself.  But to be honest, I think this track doesn't have much music at all, it's just her singing in it, and that's what appeals to me more than the music itself.

AB:  Well here's Nico with a piece called "Frozen Warnings".

Song:  Nico - Frozen Warnings
Song:  Bonsai Kitten - Girlie Shots

AB:  You're listening to The Vanishing Point on 3D Radio 93.7FM.  That was Bonsai Kitten.

DT:  That was your good self!

AB:  From Bonsai Bukkake.... I suppose you have to tell me why you played that!

DT:  Well partly because Bonsai Kitten are the other support act for Merzbow next week, but the sample, partly!  [laughs all round]  It must be hard sifting through all that porn getting samples like that!

AB:  It's a hard job, but you know.... [laughs all round]

DT:  Yeah, but you manage to find the most fantastic samples for your tracks, and the music's fantastic as well, obviously.

AB:  Oh dear, just don't ask me where it comes from, the samples, that is...

DT:  Well I'd start to worry if you could remember the names of the porn films that you got them from!

AB:  Um.... no, I can't remember them!  I was trying there for a second....

DT:  "Up And Comers: Volume 52" or something... [laughs]

AB:  I don't think I could say on-air anyway!  Next up, you're playing something by a group called Slo-Gun - tell us about this lot, I've never heard of them.

DT:  I haven't heard a lot, but apparently he's one of the bigger names in the Power Electronics scene, he's been around for a long time.  American guy, who is mainly.... hello, pussycat....

AB:  The cat's just walked into the studio, I think it wants to eat something, probably us...

DT:  From what I have heard, he uses his voice very effectively, and the music's very simple, it's basically just straight-up distrorted noise, and he shouts these great tracks... come here, pussycat... [laughs all round] yeah, it's quite powerful, and he has a very angry, spiteful voice, and it comes across really well.

AB:  Alright, well here's...

DT:  Sorry, and it's on a compilation called Getting Away With Murder.

AB:  It has PPF on it as well.

DT:  Yeah, it has PPF and it has several other people as well who I guess are part of the new wave of Power Electronics music.

AB:  Is this particularly regional, or is it all European, or...?

DT:  North American and European, I think they're from all over the shop.

AB:  Okay, well here's Slo-Gun with a piece called "And Yet Afrain".

Song:  Slo-Gun - And Yet Afrain
Song:  Johnny Cash - Cocaine Blues
Song:  November Novelet - Misanthropy

AB:  You're listening to The Vanishing Point on 3D Radio 93.7FM.  That was November Novelet there, that was the same people as Haus Arafna, a piece called "Misanthropy" from their album called From Heaven On Earth.

DT:  I think it's Mrs. Arafna that does most of the work on the November Novelet stuff.  As far as I know.

AB:  Okay.  Before that - Johnny Cash!

DT:  Yay Johnny Cash!  Playing live in Folsm Prison, I think.  He did a lot of gigs in prison.

AB:  Yeah, that's quite a track, that one - "Cocaine Blues", from his Murder album.  Next up, we have Negativland.  Tell us about this track and so forth.

DT:  It's from the album "Escape From Noise", and I don't have a lot of Negativland stuff.  I have a few CDs but its probably my least favourite as a CD, it's a little bit more poppy in general and not as interesting as some of their other stuff, but it's got this great track called "Christianity Is Stupid", which has what I assume to be a sample from some crazy right-wing fundamentalist preacher in the height of anti-communist paranoia, so it's quite funny.  It's quite 'rocky' as well, the guitars.

AB:  Okay, well here it is!

Song:  Negativland - Christianity Is Stupid
Song:  Isomer - Dispossessed
Song:  Genocide Organ - Death To China Part 1

AB:  You've been listening to The Vanishing Point on 3D Radio 93.7FM.  David Tonkin has been programming tonight, David Tonkin from Isomer.  Before we say any more, tell us about Genocide Organ.

DT:  That has just been released in the last six months or so I guess...

AB:  Do you know the name of the album?

DT:  No, I think it's just self-titled, just Genocide Organ.  The material was origianlly recorded in the mid-to-late 1980's, and some of it's quite rudimentary I guess, and that track's a good example of it, you can see what sort of an influience they would have later on, on noise and Power Electronics music.  So that CD, just the self-titled one was originally supposed to be released in Japan.  They're a German band but it was supposed to be released in Japan in 1990 but it never was for one reason or another.  They recently did a couple of gigs in Tokyo, just last yyear I think, so that was re-released to coincide with that.  I think the track's called "Death To China", I think...

AB:  "Death To China Part 1"... [laughs]  Okay, well thanks for coming on...

DT:  No, thank you!

AB:  So we should mention again that you're playing with Bonsai Kitten and Merzbow at the Big Star Basement on Ferruary the 9th.  Tickets are $20 from Big Star and...

DT:  Doors open at 8, don't they?

AB:  I think they open at 8, and.. that's all I really know at this stage!  I'll of course announce more about it when it gets closer to the date and I know some concrete things, but that's the situation as it stands, and...

DT:  That's all you need to know, isn't it?  [laughs]

AB:  That's all you really need to know, and of course CDs will be on sale there, so all the Isomer stuff you'll be able to buy there.

DT:  And the Bonsai Kitten stuff...

AB:  And the Bonsai Kitten stuff, and presumably Merzbow will take the opportunity to have some merchandise of some kind there, although I wouldn't know what that would be, and - there you go!  Also, Isomer stuff's been reissued, and blah blah...

DT:  That track before Genocide Organ was one from one of the re-released CDs...

AB:  That's from The Lotus Eaters, a track called "Dispossessed", and that's all available now, at Big Star, and Verandah music as well, and also Elevator Music in Seaton stocks all this stuff as well.

DT:  And through the website as well?

AB:  And also through the website, you can log onto and purchase CDs there, they're only $10 for all this catalogue, so... get on there and do it.

DT:  Have a look at his other stuff as well, he stocks some really good secondhand stuff as well.

AB:  Yes, that's true, he's got a very extensive secondhand range of stuff which is really very nice.  I'm going to leave with...Cardella Morte, tell us about this one.

DT:  I don't know anything about the band itself, but its from a CD which is a tribute, cover tracks and tribute to the Italian band Ein Sof [transcriber's note - all the Italian band and song titles here are probaly spelt wrong!], who I also know very little about. It's one of those names that I've heard bandied around a lot but never got around to listen to their music unfortunately.  So the album is called Tutti a Casa, Casa De La Morte, and I'm not sure what the track title is... but it's very nice!

AB:  "Neve Eterne"...

DT:  That's the one!  Nice, effective use of accordion!

AB: Well with that goodnight, thanks for coming on.

DT:  Thanks, Alan.

AB:  I'll be back next week, doing the regular sort of show, until then, goodnight!

Song:  Cardella Morte - Neve Eterne

End of interview.

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