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Ton is Capturing The "Sexiness & Obscurity" of LA With "Tides"

Earlier this week, Ton made his debut on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music. “Tides”, the first track from this LA-based rapper, songwriter, and producer, is proof of the fact that he refuses to be restricted by genre. Pulling from different musical styles—trap hip hop, rock , and contemporary R&B all included—Ton cites honesty as his main inspiration. He tells it like it is.

For more on his creative process, ability to connect through music, and the importance of meditation, read our full interview with the artist below.

When and how did your relationship with music start?

My relationship with music has always existed but I started writing when I was 12 or13. There was a whole summer and a fall season during that time where the most I could write was 2-4 lines a day and it used to drive me insane. It took a while to still my mind enough to break through the noise. I started recording when I was 16 and began producing and performing at 20.

Where do your inspirations lie? 

I think my inspiration may be more principled than it is anything else. My inspiration is honesty and the power and freedom that comes with it, sometimes for better or worse, whatever that means. Allowing myself to be vulnerable to the point where I can be consumed by the music and almost become a conduit of it, that’s when I’m the most receptive to everything I need to feel, listen to, express. Being in that space for me is unparalleled to anything else. It’s all the depth of that space, all of the abyss of it, whether exhilarating, terrifying, or both, that inspires me to create.

Who do you envision identifying and connecting with your music?

People who aren’t afraid to feel or think.

What rituals and processes do you turn to when experiencing a creative block?

It varies. Sometimes I just have to get the fuck up and get away from it. Or away from it all. I never want it to be coerced. A night out helps… or three. Meditation. Exercise. Pushing my mind or my body. When I’m mentally or emotionally fatigued, I like to push myself more. Reading is always a yes. Sleep is a yes. People love to romanticize being restless to entertain the notion that they’re “working harder” but that’s bullshit. You need sleep to function at optimal levels. Socializing helps, but its easy for me to forget that sometimes.

On your website, you’re described as a ‘transcendental artist’in what ways is this description true?

Mainly in not being afraid to embrace and express my dynamism and dimensionality. Nothing about me is one-dimensional, yet at the same time very little to nothing is arbitrary, from my interests, my passions, my beliefs, my values, my experiences, and I’m not afraid to submit myself to how and what that feels and sounds like as it inspires my music. I’ve been fortunate and unfortunate enough to witness and experience a vast array of things and I think that comes out in art. I have to be who I am. I choose to. I feel like there are so many people who don’t, for a variety of reasons maybe, but who nevertheless don’t, and that’s their choice. But as for me, I have to be me otherwise my music can’t be what it is. My music can’t be who it is. But everyday, I’m unlocking more of myself also.

You just debuted your first single on Spotify, iTunes, and Tidal – Can you tell us a bit about the track and what it means to you?

“Tides” is very much a song about pulling somebody’s card. It’s not about a particular person or singular experience in particular but it is very much about aggressively breaking through someone’s posture as much for their sake as for yours… as I ironically, passive-aggressively speak in second person. It’s about being unapologetically intentional, not necessarily because it’s “good” but because it’s real. As far as it’s atmosphere sonically, with my approach to the production, I wanted to create something that captured all of the hyper-contrived “sexiness” of LA as well as the obscurity of it. I wanted to capture the edginess and euphoria of it all. “Tides” is speeding down a freeway. It’s hearing that person say that thing you know they “shouldn’t” say but you’re glad they said it because you didn’t want to acknowledge it. As forward as the song is, there is sort of a witty, cryptic, psychoanalytic undertone to it also. I think people need that to feel comfortable as odd as it might seem.

Tell me about your dynamic for live performances. How does it differ from your digital presence? What’s your mindset going into a show?

I think the live aspect of my artistry is when I’m the most myself and when it becomes the most clear because of the dynamism of it all that may or may not be captured in the digital version of a song sometimes. I love connecting with people who understand and appreciate me and vice versa and its always fun to have those first interactions with people who haven’t been exposed to me before and vice versa.

Stay tuned to Milk for more from LA’s best and brightest. 

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