"Everyone in our family seems to be interested in music in one way or another," says Nathan Jonson, brother of techno ace Mathew Jonson. "Looking back, it just seems like part of life. Everyone had a hand in."
Nathan Jonson is commonly known by his Hrdvsion moniker, but that is about to change. The Penticton, BC born turned Berlin inhabitant is shedding the skin of his former moniker to bare new music with his given name, Nathan Jonson. After nearly a decade of amassing a diverse assortment of music—from silky, ambient cuts and candid, minimalistic tracks to club-ready breakers and reworks—Jonson now wants to focus more on uniformity, rather than unpredictability.
"I have always approached things from a kind of hacker point of view—how can I use this for what it's not meant to be used for?" he says. Presumably, his new path will not desert the work and future work he and his brother, Mathew, create together as Midnight Operator. "Really, we [Mathew and I] were making electronic music before we knew what electronic music was."
To kick off the identity change, Jonson is featured on the third installment of Lazerwhales, a compilation series by Areal Records, alongside John Tejada & Arian Leviste, DJ Koze, Move D, and Benjamin Brunn. "Finding My Way (Without You)" is the first of his output sans the Hrdvsion get up and, despite assumptions; the track doesn't stray far from the distinctive eccentricity that Jonson has embodied all along.
THUMP: What was the deciding factor to move from British Columbia to Berlin?
Nathan Jonson: When you take time off from the endless party that this industry can become, there is a clarity that envelops you and allows decisions based on smarts and reasoning to be made. After spending a month in Berlin and a month in Switzerland in late 2008, following a stint of sobriety, upon my arrival back in Canada, it became quite clear that Victoria was no longer a place I could stay and suddenly my dream of living my life through the internet was crushed.
What do you think of the scene now in Canada?
I go back to Canada once or twice a year. Last year was great as I got to play Bass Coast and Rifflandia, which are two really positive and lovely festivals. It's great to see these events taking place in an area where it wasn't always so open and see how well the music is received. On a few occasions I've been witness to the programming possibly being a touch too forward thinking, but that only makes me happier to see the organizers aren't holding back on the music they truly love and I feel blessed to be included! This year I'll be back for a few weeks in September to play at the Common in Edmonton with my friend, the one and only—and simply named—Dane, to Open Studios with Mike Mcsuede in Vancouver, and a very special four hour back-to-back set with my very dear friend Chris Long at Lucky Bar in Victoria.
You once said, "Good music is a diary entry." Taking in the many elements of sound that Hrdvsion has delved into—it sounds like a rollercoaster of a diary entry. What did you mean by that? Do you still believe in that?
I feel that as an artist I owe it to the world to be honest, revealing, and vulnerable. I don't always find that I am successful at that, but I am trying my best. It is an artist's debt to do their best at communicating what is inside them, as cheapening the art cheapens their relationship with the world.
So you're parting ways with the Hrdvsion moniker. Why opt for your given name?
This is all a part of the last question and not wanting to hide behind an alias anymore. I was talking to my brother about it and told him I was looking for a new name that was more "ME." It was he who suggested I use my real name. It wasn't something I had thought of before but suddenly it was so clear... and right. Hrdvsion [Hard Vision] is a confusing battle. It's an obstacle. It is the past and I'm entering the future.
You've said that the name change is partly about "clearing the palette and some preconceptions about your music." What do you think are some preconceptions about your music, past and present? How do you wish to change them?
The change is less about the end and more about the beginning. If you think of art's existence as a timeline and how you come to that final piece, the change is happening before I touch a synth or my computer. The changes are happening in the initial steps before music is even considered. It is a consideration for myself and my view on life, and a realization of the scenario I need to surround myself with in order to write music that I love. Abraham Maslow said, 'What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.' Whether or not it will be heard clearly in the final stages or not, though likely will be, is not important, but to facilitate my writing, DJing, and performing I needed to restructure everything leading up to that moment. It is about becoming stronger and fearless.
After over a decade of producing, are you ever embarrassed or regret any of your past or older releases, or perhaps, sounds you were partial to at any point?
When I listen back to older music I made, I rarely find that I would like to change anything. I don't alone put that much pressure on my music in the sense that it should be one thing or another. It's my history, and it's exciting to see a progression. If there are aspects of older songs I am not a fan of now, I'll simply not repeat them. That being said, I wish I knew how to mix songs better back then, or had all the parts for the older tunes that I wrote. There were some really crazy things back in the 90s and I wish I could make some adjustments to those tunes and release them now.
Your first release under the changed name is coming up. What can listeners expect?
What about the future?
They can expect unconditional love.
Rachael is on Twitter.