Tone City Records is Western Australia’s newest record label, helmed by acclaimed producer Sam Ford and the Tone City Recordings team. Grown out of a love for local industry and community, Tone City Records has been founded on an ethos of working across genres and sounds and nurturing the next generation of multi-talented artists taking WA-bred music to the rest of Australia and beyond.
Here, Sam – work has already worked with everyone from the likes of Birds Of Tokyo, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, Abbe May and POND – breaks down the establishment of Tone City Records and its accompanying Artist Development Program, and introduces the names music fans will be hearing more of through 2022.
On working with a multitude of artists, regardless of their sound…
I love working with different genres of artists and collaborating with eclectic and unique characters. It keeps me motivated to explore the way I work in the studio.
I’m super inspired by cross-pollination in projects, it’s important for me creatively to mix it up and I’ve been fortunate that I get to work with people that have variations in the music they make, whether it’s different genres, or making alternative music in other bands or projects.
The Tone City Records Artist Development Program and its goals…
I noticed the way I worked with artists at the studio had shifted, I was older/wiser and realised I could offer more guidance – not only from my experience as an artist in the industry but from a production perspective. There’s a lot of navigating bands with making music, investing in recording and mixing through to releasing it.
I wanted to offer more of my time and mentoring to help artists hold onto their momentum and to achieve something from what they are making. It’s been a tough couple of years so if any time is the right time, it’s now. I think we’ve all learned that coming together and creating community attracts positive change.
We have incredible talent here and artists need backing, they need to be supported more than ever and I believe it will allow the WA music scene to keep moving forward and make space for younger, up and coming artists so we don’t miss out on experiencing new, evolving talent.
BENJAMIN WITT AKA ROMEO WALKER
I have been friends with Benjamin Witt for about 20 years, our bands were releasing music and touring at the same time… Ben is an insanely talented multi-instrumentalist and the composition and process of the way he works is always mind-blowing, a true artist. Always left of centre and unique. I knew working with him would be an incredible experience.
I met the guys at the start of 2021, I saw them live and their songwriting, stage performance and, especially, their vocals blew me away. They have such cool, positive energy and we have a really fun relationship working together.
Their Australian surf-rock vibe resonates so well here and I loved that true WA authenticity they have that’s come from their love for iconic Australian bands like INXS, the Stems and, newly, Spacey Jane. I think they have a huge future in music and definitely have the energy they need to put into pushing their work.
Work so well together as a band, their songwriting is always interesting and again have such great energy that represents the Perth sound currently so well. The most exciting element of Nectar for me as a producer is that they could be anything – they could pivot in so many directions. They manage to make soulful pop music that’s masked in smokey alt-jazz-pop and RnB.
I met Supathick at their inception, Christian and I connected on the sound and vision he had and I’ve worked with them ever since! Incredible musicians that are continuously working and putting out great work. I see them collaborating with big names in the future and having an impact on the world stage.
Siobhan is an incredibly strong emerging female artist. Seeing her perform live once is enough to see the raw power and talent she has, not to mention her abilities in songwriting. She’s not afraid to be herself and her lyric writing is exceptional. Siobhan has already released and recorded a heap of killer music. Her next step is going to be a big leap and being a part of that is an awesome experience.