Anthonie Tonnon is a storyteller in every sense of the word. He has coined his work as a unique blend of music, art and advocacy, and shows that are creative works in themselves. His most recent song “Leave Love Out of This,” accompanied by its corresponding music video, perfectly demonstrates his multidisciplinary approach to storytelling.
Tonnon’s gift is his ability to insightfully juxtapose the personal and the political in his music, where social issues are centered around people averse family, lovers, systems or authorities. At the end of the day, love always finds a way to meet us at our most challenging crossroads in life. This perspective particularly shines through in “Leave Love Out of This”.
The song itself is about five and a half minutes long, and the music video is extremely slow for the first 3 and a half minutes of it. The camera moves around a still Tonnon, sitting at the piano. As audience members, we are kept on my toes waiting for him to…who knows… maybe play the piano he’s sitting at? Instead, he sits staring wide-eyed into the fog, and I’m on the other side of the screen wondering where this could possibly be going.
Over half way through the music video, he finally lifts his arm and presses what appears to be an old cassette player, and the image of Tonnon transitions into slow moving images of galaxies and guitars.
Above all, it feels as though Tonnon pulls off a pair of his own glasses and puts them in front of our screens, showing us through the lens of his own eyes how the process of creating art takes us to dimensions we never knew before. And how love, too, can either blind us or open our eyes to new perspectives and possibilities- no matter how much we want to leave it out of the equation.
“Leave Love Out of This” is the title song of Tonnon’s latest album, produced with Jonathan Pearce, longtime collaborator, and The Beths’ guitarist and producer.
Tonnon wrote the bulk of the songs during an extensive period of touring after the release of Successor (2015). During this time, Tonnon also performed with Nadia Reid in Europe, The Veils in the USA, and The Chills, The Phoenix Foundation and Don McGlashan in New Zealand. The two workshopped songs together between tours, often recording new parts as the live versions developed.
Tonnon’s songwriting remains consistent, focusing on explorations of local government and civic infrastructure in his work. His passions found in his lyrics have taken new meaning in his adopted home of Whanganui, where last year, he was elected by councilors as Whanganui District Council’s representative for public transport.