Intriguing electronic producer, Ross Tones, aka Throwing Snow has had an incredible 2012, with two EPs, the launch of his label Snowfall and a ton of gigs He invited Best Fit into his world of complexly layered concepts to talk about the current music scene, lamb stew and the busy year ahead.
The description of the 2007 EP Footnotes is, “a cross between folk, electronica, breaks and world music that strives to bring field recordings and instrumentation together in pleasant disarray.” Would you describe your music the same way now?
I think all the same influences are there, maybe some more on top of that. I think if you’re a producer and you’ve got a certain way of making your sound, it’s not necessarily related to the music you write or the sounds you use. You can switch that to any kind of BPM, or any different type of music. I don’t think it’s necessarily limited to one type of music, or one genre, you use the same ideas, and then change them up. It’s the same use of the sound, it’s just moved with the times a bit more. I strive to make everything different. That’s one of my main motivations, for that to happen, so I don’t really get worried about that too much.
Do you still use field recordings?
Yeah, all the time. There’s lots of crackles and pops, and weird sounds I find, or have been given by people. Like the one in ‘Brook’, there’s a little loop, a lady talking to some old people. Will Plowman’s sister was using the recordings for some project at Uni, and Will gave me those recordings about six years ago, and I reused them. So it’s using sounds as memories as well. I try to include a personal memory in every track.
Do you have a favourite sample?
I try not to sample too much of anything really. I use certain samples, but they’re always things I’ve produced, or that have sort of come about. I think resampling stuff, mainly from different projects I do more of.
So is that where the textural, distorted feel to your music comes from?
Yeah, I like things not being perfect.
Throwing Snow is more than just a witty name. Pretty much every write up of your music will include the word, ‘icy’, or this winter element. But when you listen to Aspera, or any of your EPs, there are songs that are not wintery or icy at all, so I’m curious what’s behind the name.
I don’t really understand why people describe my music as ‘icy’ or ‘frosty’, because they see ‘Throwing Snow’ and they automatically imagine themselves cold, and surrounded by white. So I think people just automatically assume, “oh glistening harmonix” or something like that.
The name actually comes from the guy that did the art for Footnotes, he’s one of my best friends, and we grew up in a farming area, quite remote, really beautiful, lovely place. We were up on a really remote fell, and in northern culture, you can call your friend the worse thing in the world, but mean it in an endearing way, that’s a bit like throwing snow. It’s a violent action, but it’s snow, a snowball’s going to burst and it’s not going to hurt anyone. It’s sort of an analogy for insulting somebody, to show your kind of close friendship thing.
If you had to describe your sound as a food or dish, what would you choose and why?
It’d have to have lamb in it, ’cause that’s just a personal preference. Some sort of lamb stew. [laughs] Which is the most bizarre answer. Because it’s a mix of deep flavors together. I like the malcabation of sounds, so kind of all in one dish together, and quite deep.
In an interview with XLR8R, you mention you heard a lot of great music this year that didn’t get the recognition it deserved.
I think the 1991‘s album was amazing. Anything on Astro:Dynamics has been amazing this year. I think they are one of the best labels. Everything by them has been really good. Then there’s been lots of world music that I’ve really enjoyed. Releases on Honest Jons, and things like that.
Sometimes you can hear bits of the rhythms in modern tracks. There’s something really nice about music from a particular place. Taking folk sounds and mixing it with more Western sounds. I think it’s far more interesting to hear things produced in other countries and influenced by Western sounds – when it’s the other way around, it’s a bit lacklustre.