Interview: Christopher Anton
By: Julie Johnson
“Music for shattered minds, love addicts, & the dance floor”
Grave Concerns E-zine was first contacted by Christopher Anton in the late 90’s when he was in a band called Psuedocipher. Since then Christopher Anton became lead vocalist with Information Society in 2006 -2009 and recorded both Oscillator”and “Synthesizer”with the band. Now in 2010, marks the year of Christopher Anton’s first solo release. The album, “Destination: X” is out now on his very own label Mirror Piece Records. Destination: X is much more a main stream endeavor than Anton's past work with his band Information Society while maintaining Anton's new wave roots.
GC: Hey Christopher, can you give us a brief summary of your musical career?
Chris: Hi Julie and Grave Concerns it's great to chat with you again!
Chris: I became interested in electronic music at a young age. I started my first band, Blue Accent, when I was about 17. Around 1998, I formed Pseudocipher, which was a synth-rock act, that received a flash in the pan great response on college radio. We recorded a couple of Albums, played extensively in SoCal. From there I went on to front the successful Depeche Mode tribute band “101”. My time with “101” gave me invaluable live performance experience. In early 2006 I became the new lead singer of Information Society. We recorded the CDs, “Oscillator” and “Synthesizer” and played a series of shows around the US and in Brazil. From there I started working with producer Nick Tutone on my solo work with a very “back to basics” approach to dance music. This leads us to where I am currently with the release of my first full length solo album “Destination: X”.
GC: I remember when we first talked back in the late 90’s when we were talking about your band Pseudocipher and the first release with that, what happened with that project?
Chris: We dissolved that project in about 2005. We had a fantastic lineup in Pseudocipher with Jon Siren(drums), and Natasha Cox(keys) both from Mankind is Obsolete. I was very proud of what we had accomplished, it was an ambitious approach to electronic rock, but shortly after we had recorded “Fragments of Empathy”, I was ready to get back to my synthpop origins.
GC: Now, 12 years later, you are releasing your debut full length album "Destination: X" which is going to be released July 20th, 2010? Can you describe the sound and direction you have done with this album?
Chris: I would describe “Destination: X” as a dance album. Of course it still has its dark moments but our intentions with it were to make something new while consciously embracing synthpop. There's a little bit of everything for everyone on “Destination: X”!
GC: For you, what kind of story is being told through your songs on Destination: X?
Chris: The common thread is that life is a culmination of events that have led you to this moment, and this moment is your destination: x. Its a romantic album in that sense, but at the same time whimsical, sometimes angry, other times happy, just like life.
GC: I noticed this is your first solo album, why did you want go solo over starting a new band?
nick TUTONE, christopher ANTON, donna JEAN
Photo by: Aime Pittman
Chris: “Christopher Anton” is my solo project but it is also functioning as a band. The core members being myself, Nick Tutone(keys, production), and Donna Jean(bass, vocals, keys, percussion). We're sometimes joined live by Dimitri Hammond(keys), DJ Hans 242(samples), and Jon Siren(Drums). When Nick, Donna, and I started into this endeavor we considered a few different band names. But we ultimately agreed that we already had momentum going as “Christopher Anton”, so we stuck with it.
GC: Do you feel this is your best effort to date? Is this your peak?
Chris: I do consider this to be my best, but I don't think it's my peak as an artist. I feel as ambitious as ever and I will continue to learn and grow.
GC: I see that there is a song called “State” that was written for your wife, so what did she think of the song??
Chris: She was touched. There is a very strong emotional component to that song for me. It came from a very fragile and sincere part of my being.
GC: What was it like working with Nick Tutone, and how is the album different because of him working with you?
Chris: Honestly, the album would not exist without Nick. He 's an incredible electronic music producer. We have a very complimentary working relationship. Nick made “Destination: X” happen.
GC: Was it easy to keep new wave roots into the making this album?Chris: Absolutely, I am so influenced by new wave that at this point I'm sure whatever I work on is going to include that element.
GC: Is it hard to go back and listen to “A Shattered Mind,” as it seemed like a different time period for someone close to you? Can you tell us more about how this song hit home after you heard the lyrics that Richard Broadhead wrote?
Chris: ASM is such a beautifully written song about memories and regrets. I think anyone can relate in a personal way. Richard will be releasing his solo album on Mirror Piece Records in the near future as well.
GC: What are your plans for after this release on July 20th, 2010? Will you be going out on the road and playing some shows this summer and fall?
Chris: Opportunities have been knocking, we're working on the US, South America, and Europe.
GC: “Fade to Grey” was the first single that came out in January of 2010, how well was that perceived?
Chris: I have received so many unexpected compliments about that song. We charted and reached #1 on pmachinery.com in Europe with that single.
GC: Back in 2008-2009, you released an EP "Your Perfect Tragedy," is that still available to buy?
Chris: Yes! Its available on iTunes, amazon, bandcamp, and many other online digital music retailers.
GC: Are fans that followed you while you were in Pseudocipher, embracing this new release? Have you kept up with your fans from that time period?
Chris: Yes, many Pseudocipher fans have stayed with me through Information Society, and into my solo career. I expect it was confusing for many but I've received nothing but supportive emails all through these transitions.
GC: As you have been building up to the release date for this release, what kind of preparation and promotion have you been working on?
Chris: My record label Mirror Piece Records is running a remix competition at the “Destination: X” micro site (www.christopheranton.us) , it's called “Remix Your Lovefix”. “Lovefix” is a fun song from the new album. There are also two brand new music videos for “Destination: X” at the Christopher Anton youtube channel www.youtube.com/chrisantonmusic. The videos “A Shattered Mind” and “Feel Me” have been doing very well and we have received a lot of positive feedback. We will be doing a series of live dates for the release too, as I mentioned before.
GC: Is seems like the physical CD is slowing dying out, do you plan on releasing the album through digital download mostly or physical copies?
Chris: You are correct, CDs are not relevant anymore but there is still this preconceived notion about CDs being the defining factor that makes an artist legit. There will be a physical release for “Destination: X” soon but initially this is an exclusive digital release.
GC: What is your take on digital downloads, is it the way to go?
Chris: We are at a very peculiar time in music. We are seeing the end of an era, and the role of a record company is completely different from what it was ten years ago. The product side seems to be evolving into apps, and other types of merch. I can't imagine that most 20 year olds are talking about which CD they're going to buy next.
GC: How have you seen the SynthPop scene change? Where do you see it going, and where do you fit into it?
Chris: It seems at this point we've gone full circle and we're currently on the crest of an exciting time for synthpop, I think it's important to remember that its roots were founded in bands like OMD, Depeche Mode, New Order, Pet Shop Boys, and bands like that. I love the recent resurgence with artists like, La Roux, and Tenek. I definitely think that what I do is aligned with what synthpop enthusiasts want to hear.
GC: I know that A-Ha is parting ways, but I just heard the new release from Andy Bell, and that was great. What Synthpop, new wave artists are you currently listening to?
Chris: Lately I've been listening to Anything Box, Recoil, Provision, and The Smiths, along with When in Rome(UK), and London Exchange.
GC: I know that back in 2006 you auditioned for Information Society. You probably felt you had to fill some big shoes, how did you prepare for this audition? Why did you want to be their new frontman?
Chris: Paul Robb came across a cover version I did of “What's on Your Mind” and contacted me. We had some discussions about reforming Information Society. I was a bit intimidated at first, but Paul and James were very supportive. I had worked hard as an independent musician for years to get to that point, and at the time Paul approached me it seemed to be my next logical step. I was honored to be a contributing member of such a well respected and accomplished band.
GC: In 2007, Information Society made a huge comeback with the first release in 10 years called "Synthesizer.” What was it like being part of such a big comeback? Were you nervous how people would react to a new vocalist?
Chris: It was fantastic working on “Synthesizer” with Paul and James. It was surreal to be a part of it. I was nervous at first but the response from the fans at the live shows was incredible. Everyone was excited and happy about the return of Information Society, even in Brazil I received such an overwhelmingly warm reception. I love the fans in Brazil!
GC: When people came out to see the band on tour during 2007, what did you know you had to do to make the crowds go crazy when they heard Information Society’s big hits?
Chris: I actually performed the older songs cautiously. I was representing Information Society, I approached them with much respect to the original singers, Kurt, and Murat.
GC: Are you currently active with Information Society? If so, can we expect anything new? Is Information Society even together anymore?
Chris:While I suppose that it is possible we may reform the Anton/Information Society lineup at some point in the future, right now I'm focused on releasing my album and touring as a solo artist.
GC: Looking back on your year with Information Society, what have you taken from that and put into your own new music which is about to be released?
Chris: Being in Information Society helped my studio approach immensely. Paul Robb is a master at what he does. Being able to work with him opened my eyes to so many song writing and recording techniques that I wouldn't have otherwise known about.
GC: Besides making music, what other things interest you?
Chris: I have been active in an organization that Donna has started up called “Visible Hope United”. It's designed to spread awareness and support for “invisible” illnesses, such as, lupus, fibromyalgia, MS, etc. We have seen some very positive feedback from our efforts there. We are in the beginning stages of planning a large music event that will include participation from musicians and artists worldwide. Ha! I guess that's still music related. I can't seem to get away from it!
GC: In the end, what do you want to be best known for, Christopher Anton solo artist or frontman of Information Society?
Chris:I suppose I would like to be known as both, because I've been an artist in both roles, but my ultimate goal is to be a positive musical influence regardless of the title.
GC: Anything else you would like to add and tell our readers about Christopher Anton?
Chris: I would like to say thank you to all of my incredible supporters, and a big thanks to you Julie and Grave Concerns. I would also like to let everyone know that “Destination: X” will be available on July 20th 2010 at www.christopheranton.bandcamp.com. The micro site (www.christopheranton.us) is updated constantly with news and information, including the remix competition by Mirror Piece Records. Information on Live shows, new releases, and other Christopher Anton related websites can be found at www.christopheranton.net.
The video for A Shattered Mind available now on Christopher Anton's YouTube channel
www.youtube.com/chrisantonmusic. The album Destination: X will be released by Mirror Piece
Records on July 20th 2010 at www.christopheranton.bandcamp.com
christopher ANTON (official website)
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