Name: Anthony Khan aka The Twilite Tone
Current release: The Twilite Tone's The Clearing is still available from Stones Throw Records.
If you enjoyed this interview with The Twilite Tone, visit him on Instagram and Twitter.
This interview was originally published in a different edit in German print magazine Beat.
The Twilite Tone: "My deep sensitivtiy for sound comes from my innate relationship with rhythm and timing. When I was a drummer in marching bands, timing was everything to the composition of the song as well as the movement of the band. Also, my rhythm and timing come from being a dancer in the clubs, on the street, and at home with my family, who all could dance really well.
The sensitivity to sound was there ever since I can remember and really came into fruition when I started playing my Casio SK-1 and Casio SK-5 keyboards by ear in my adolescence while sampling sounds. Rhythm is the heartbeat or pulse to a song. Even without drums, rhythm is always there. The blending of sounds - whether musical instruments or sound bytes - adds color, tone - no pun intended - texture, and emotion.
I have no memory of ‘starting’ this journey. It has always been and will alway be. I came into this existence with this musical spark within me. It has been the single most important driving force for me even before I consciously came into enlightenment that creating music or being a conduit for music is my purpose. It’s almost like asking me why is air so important to me for such a long time.
The idea of starting a solo project and cleansing myself creatively was to move aside my past accomplishments, affiliations and / or reputation that often didn’t allow people to see or hear me, The Twilite Tone. Honestly, there’s absolutely nothing wrong or even “dirty” here nor is there even a search to find my authentic self. Authenticity is the core of my values. In this moment, I am simply choosing to move the “achievements” aside to lead with my art and me by presenting this project.
Part of this was limiting the amount of other people’s music I listen to daily and sometimes fasting from listening to music altogether. Truthfully, I do not listen to a lot of beat makers or those some may consider my contemporaries. Like a chef, I’m too focused on my own cuisine to be preoccupied with the culinary aspects of another chef. There’s no need to dine at someone else’s restaurant. I’ve learned that my cuisine satisfies my specific taste palette the best and has the deliberate sustenance that I need.
The term hip hop has been so misappropriated and oftentimes so bastardized that I find it challenging to align myself with it and the confusion that comes along with it authentically. I would rather you just categorize myself as I see fit, either ‘transgenre' or just ‘The Twilite Tone’ or ‘Tone’.
Entities which did have an influence were Sun Ra, James Brown, George Clinton, Marcus Garvey, Earth, Wind & Fire//Maurice White, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Richard Pryor, Maya Angelou, Roy Ayers, and “similar minded artists”. They are divine messengers and guides especially for the indigenous people - so-called people of color - around the world who have been deliberately torn away from their nature, true identity, and knowledge of their place in the universe.
I chose to go for instrumental music to give space to be heard and seen - thus the title The Clearing. I didn’t want lyrics to influence or interfere with what I am creating with this project; my sonic and holistic identification. What can be expressed with instrumental music is freedom of the presenter and the listener’s imagination with only the title of the song to give a point of view or even, I dare say, guidance to what the artist is saying. I feel vocals can do the same thing with the possibility to be more literal or cryptic depending on the approach of the writer and the lyric.
My intention with this project was to motivate and inspire freedom by creating space via the instrumental as opposed to needing or wanting lyrics to convey my messaging. Beyond that, I felt like these songs gave a complete statement by me as is.
I did not ‘decide on the cornerstones of the story’. I allowed the songs to create the ‘cornerstones of the story’. I simply listened to the songs to tell in which order to place them. Each song spoke to me their title except for two songs, “All’s Fair’ and “Honorable Mention” which initially had topline. What I learned about myself as a person while or after developing the album is that, “wow, each one one of these songs is a stage of life or evolution that I have gone through to get to this point in my own evolution”.
I established the connection between people, events and memories from my life and the actual tracks simply by being quiet, listening, looking at the titles and reflecting on my past experiences. It was an epiphany, a discovery, an “A-Ha” moment like “oh snap this album is like an autobiography or the bible where each character is a stage in life we all have or will go through until we reach our rebirth into enlightenment or if I may, our ‘clearing’ to being our true brilliant self. Each song is a character in the stage of my life and possibly yours, if you so choose.
Spirituality does play a major role in my music and life as a whole. However, physicality, mentality, and emotionality play major roles as well. They all work hand in hand."