Jonti shot by Anastasia Med

Meet Jonti, the Sydney-based artist behind your favourite psychedelic pop tunes

Jonti chats musical heroes, Missy Elliot and the Muppets

April 17, 2022

The first Australian artist to be signed to Stones Throw Records - alongside an iconic roster of artists including Madlib and J Dilla - Jonti is known for his colorful beats, insane musical know-how and hip hop infused dream pop. Fresh off the back of a tour with Genesis Owusu as part of The Black Dog Band (during which the Enmore Theatre’s floor famously broke) - Jonti has made an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, toured as a traveling member of The Avalanches and is about to do a series of shows debuting songs off his forthcoming album ‘The Moonblades’ - all with no signs of slowing down. We caught up with the mega talented artist about all the things that inspire him here.

Photos and styling by Anastasia Med

Hey Jonti, who are your heroes (music or otherwise)?

My music heroes are J Dilla, Joni Mitchell, Brian Wilson, Stereolab, Missy Elliott and many more. My non musical heroes are Jim Henson, Nelson Mandela, Jane Goodall and Clarice Lispector to name a few.

What song or album have you had on repeat lately?  

Bee Gees - Living Together. And the album it’s from ‘Spirits Have Flown’. My partner and I just moved in together so ‘Living Together’ has been our theme and it's one hell of a song! The horn intro is so epic.  The new album by Hinako Onori has been keeping me sane as well.

“...In Japan 2012, Taico Club Festival in the beautiful mountains of Nagano. I performed at 7am as the sun was coming up. A very young King Krule was on the tour and we became friends.”

What's the most memorable experience you've had on tour?

Probably in Japan 2012, Taico Club Festival in the beautiful mountains of Nagano. I performed at 7am as the sun was coming up. A very young King Krule was on the tour and we became friends. Watching Boredoms, Animal Collective, Ricardo Villalobos was euphoric.

What’s a topic you could nerd out about for hours?

Music equipment is the obvious thing I could nerd out about 24/7. But I know too much about TV shows like the Twilight Zone and the Muppets as well.

“Music equipment is the obvious thing I could nerd out about 24/7. But I know too much about TV shows like the Twilight Zone and the Muppets as well.”

Favourite movies?

The Wanderers, The Warriors, Tampopo, Paris Texas, Rocky 1 and 2. Something about 70s cinema I guess.

If you could form a dream band of members across time and space, who would you pick?

J Dilla on samples, Delia Derbyshire on tape loops, Trish Keenan from Broadcast on vocals, Lee Scratch Perry on boards and the last two picks are more personal friends but a rhythm section of Stella Mozgawa on drums and Touch Sensitive on bass is always in my dream lineup.

“I loved living in LA because it felt like I was living in all the records I loved. I could be at the Stones Throw Office and Madlib could walk in…then [I could] go to the studio with someone who’s record I’ve listened to a million times. It was really a dream land for me.”

What was your favorite thing about living in LA?

I loved living in LA because it felt like I was living in all the records I loved. I could be at the Stones Throw Office and Madlib could walk in. Then, have a friend invite me to watch George Clinton in the studio, then go see a great band and then go to the studio with someone who’s record I’ve listened to a million times. It was really a dream land for me.

What's your favorite thing about living in Sydney?

Sydney can be the most beautiful place in the world but it’s all about the people for me. Sometimes it feels difficult to pursue the arts in Sydney, but the people that do really fight for it. So when something happens it’s really beautiful and cuts through

“Sometimes it feels difficult to pursue the arts in Sydney, but the people that do - really fight for it. So when something happens it’s really beautiful and cuts through”

What are your dream places to tour?

I’d love to go back to South Africa to perform one day.

What are your top visual inspirations?

Moebius is my favorite visual artist. If I ever need an energy boost, I open up one of his graphic novels. Video games like Jet Set Radio Future and animes like Cowboy Bebop are other visual go-tos for me.

What’s next on the cards for you?

Next up for me is a big synth filled performance at Vivid Sydney in the group ‘Mystics’ which comprises Jono Ma, Pat Santameria, Babekühl and myself. This is on June 5th

In addition, I have a solo ‘Jonti’ show at Phoenix Central Park in which I’ll be debuting music from my forthcoming album ‘The Moonblades’. This is on June 23rd

You can follow Jonti on Instagram here