Rachel Maloney, AKA Tonikom is a New York City based solo musician specializing in very cool, very current, atmospheric electronic music. She borrows from many different electronic music palettes then reinvents it into her own unique sound, capturing the attention of many ears. Tonikom’s amazing talent can be heard in her discography of six albums. Her sixth and most recent release is Found and Lost from Hymen Records. Tonikom joined Auxiliary’s Hangedman via Skype to talk about her music, her new album, and everything Tonik!
interview by : Hangedman
photographer : Ron Douglas
fashion stylist : Gillian Leigh Bowling
Let’s talk about the new album; this album is appropriately named Found And Lost. This is an exciting album for everyone because it seems like a lifetime since the last, much acclaimed, 2009 The Sniper’s Veil. Can you tell us about the journey from Sniper to Found And Lost?
Tonikom : Sure, this album is very purposely titled, the reverse of what we’re normally used to hearing. I went from creating a lot of work, creating a lot of music, producing a tremendous amount, and then going to creating none at all. It was a really tough time for me. As much as I wanted to create music I just couldn’t. I came off of my 2009 tour; we did a little mini tour in Europe. We played all these shows, and it was a whirlwind tour and I got like three hours of sleep. It was really exciting and a lot of fun but I got home and I just kind of crashed.
Like creative block kind of thing?
T : Yeah! I just got into this kind of terrible gray nothingness that was in my brain whenever I tried to sit down and start to work in the studio or kind of play around on the laptop. It was just brutal. I just had the most difficult time with it and I started to realize that I really couldn’t force myself to do it. There was no real deadline I could enforce or try to sell myself, okay in three months I’m going to make one track, or I’m going to do a little bit of sound design and that’s it! None of that worked. I finally realized that I really just had to let go, and walk away and be okay with that, be okay with having total lack of control over whatever creative outlets I have in my life. I just had to be like, “okay, I can’t do anything right now, and I have to be okay with that, and if it comes back it comes back and whenever it does come back it’s just going to be due to circumstances beyond my control.”
And we’re all very happy it did come back!
T : As am I. I find music very cathartic and it’s a very therapeutic thing for me. It does not matter if I’m working on a really upbeat track or a really low-key track, sometimes it kind of lulls me into almost sleep, which is something I really don’t get a lot of. [laughs] So, anything that gets me into that really calm state is very satisfying.