The music of Jonti Danilewitz’s, aka Jonti, is like doodles on a piece of paper; self-described as, “Little beat symphonies with other broken sounds that have a lot of character and are all working together.” The South Africa-born, Sydney-based producer is translating his sonic illustrations into a project he has been working on for the past year – a celebration of The Avalanches’ seminal 2000 record Since I Left You. On behalf of his management company Astral People, and commissioned by Vivid LIVE, Danilewitz is joined on the Concert Hall stage at the Sydney Opera House by 15 other Astral signees and friends to cover the album front to back.
Jonti is not interested in genre or music making as a product. The multi-instrumentalist’s music balances sampled and self-recorded sounds. “It doesn’t feel like my own until I’ve added heaps of my own stuff to it,” he says. In crossing electronic, pop, jazz and rap, Danilewitz is a capable one-man band. “I play enough instruments to get away with it for a record,” he says modestly (even though we’ve witnessed him simultaneously juggle guitar, drums, bass and voice in one go at his live shows). But for Since I Left You, he leaves the strings to a professional sextet, the saxophone to Rainbow Chan and samples to Polographia.
“Getting 10 people in the one room is like … woooah,” says Danilewitz after a year of rehearsals. But while each artist hails from solo projects in the young and exciting Astral People roster, the focus is mastering the sound as whole. “We want to celebrate it [Since I Left You] and the show. It is about them [The Avalanches] and their album, more so than any of us,” says Danilewitz. “I always show Robbie [Chater] from the band updates from rehearsal.”
The project has evolved from the 10-piece that debuted the project at last year’s OutsideIn Festival. “There was a lot of stuff we couldn’t do before because we had a shorter time slot, so we really went in-depth with the textures and reworked a couple of songs,” says Danilewitz.
Though this is Danilewitz’s Sydney Opera House debut, he has already shared a studio with Mark Ronson, King Krule and Earl Sweatshirt, has been hand picked by Peanut Butter Wolf for his label Stones Throw Records, recorded two Big Day Out Boiler Room sets and toured with Gotye. He has also hooked up with other fellow label signees, Jonwayne, Homeboy Sandman and Dilla J. His debut album has been brewing for some time now and will finally be completed this year.
Since I Left You is on May 24 in the Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Sydney Opera House, from 8.30pm.