[Exclusive Interview] Tone A Discusses Musical Journey, Importance of Supporting Locals, & More!
If you've come across the name Anthony Jenkins, better known by his stage name Tone A, it's likely that you automatically associate this rising Ottawa talent to the word "supportive".
Why you may ask? Although this Canadian DJ is expertly juggling his numerous local residencies at Framework Music, Sunday Sessions, and Floorplay, he also moonlights as a promoter.
Tone A has continuously proven how hard work and kindness go hand in hand, especially when it comes to improving and blossoming one's local dance community.
In our opinion, without his consistent efforts, Ottawa's dance music scene would be nowhere near where it is today. We want to take a moment to thank Tone A for his positive impact and look forward to seeing how else he'll help the scene flourish in the future.
In the meantime, we managed to pull him aside from a fun-filled patio party for an exclusive interview in which we discussed where his love for music began, his growth as an artist, the importance of supporting the local dance community, among much more! Check it out...
1) What first sparked your love of music?
It has to go back to listening to tunes in the car with my mom. We used to drive around bumping the classics - like the Pet Shop Boys. Then, we started listening to Much Dance '93 and Much Dance '94. Truly, that's where it all started for me.
Her love of pop music blossomed into my love of dance music. My mom's passion for music was all over the map - in a fantastic way! It shaped me as an artist.
2) You discovered the scene at a young age. How did this introduction impact your musical path from that moment on?
Haha, too young! Growing up with a single mom, I always found that music was a positive outlet for me. When I first found out that the legal drinking age was 18 in Quebec, I jumped right on that opportunity!
I started going clubbing, but more importantly, I started working in Montreal. I was doing some club promotions and filling out guest lists for several different venues.
As soon as I got a taste of the scene, I knew that I had to get both feet in the door and be as involved as possible.
I felt that my purpose in life was to support the locals. At the end of the day, that's where you eat, sleep and breathe. That said, you may as well do everything you can to keep the community growing.
Later on, I discovered that Ottawa's dance scene was very inviting. That's when I started to pour my love for supporting the locals into Canada's Capital.
Whether you're there to dance, perform, etc., we all play an important part in growing the local scene. I absolutely love bringing people together through music!
3) During this journey, you've encountered several influential people in the industry. Is there one in particular that impacted your growth more so than others?
There are a few guys that come to mind, for sure. I do have to say, the forefront of Framework Music, Rick Laplante, has helped me grow as a person and as an artist over the years.
The company was founded almost a decade ago, and the guy taught me how to beat match on CDJ's - that alone shows the influence that he's had on my musical journey.
Martin Villeneuve is another person that comes to mind. He's a legend in the Ottawa dance community. He's been producing smashing hits for over a decade now.
When I was younger, I used to be quite hyper in the DJ booth; I'm not quite sure how those two put up with me, haha. They could tell that my passion was sincere.
In Villeneuve's case, he taught me to always think 4 tracks ahead and to seize the opportunities, especially when you're learning. His advice really stuck with me.
He also told me, "it's not about the mistake, it's about the recovery."
There are so many others, like Zoltan, AKA Return of the Jaded; he's also a wicked producer! Jay Bradley is another. He resonated with me when he said, "always listen to the music. The music will always tell you what to do." He couldn't be more right!
4) Can you tell us some of the values and goals that Framework Music prides themselves on? Why are they important to you, personally?
At this point, there's a lot of other companies in Ottawa who are doing specialized events; whether that's a certain sound or a specific theme.
At Framework Music, we try to focus on house music as it allows us to explore the general realm such as tech house and progressive.
We want to be the stepping stone for people to get their foot in the door, especially since Ottawa's dance music community has grown so much over the years.
There are so many different opportunities to start one's career, and we pride ourselves on helping locals find their true selves through music.
We want our community to be built on inclusiveness. We aspire that everyone loves and respects one other, and more importantly, themselves.
5) You've launched your very own podcast christened 'Storytime'. Can you walk us through the concept & what we can expect to hear in the future?
For the first 20 episodes, my goal is to keep the podcast focused on Ottawa's dance community. There's so much really good talent coming out of the Capital and I think it's super important to showcase it.
In my opinion, a lot of the time, podcasts are often focused around 1-hour time frames. Most artists can easily plow through an hour; so I wanted to give them an opportunity to express themselves over a longer period of time.
'Storytime' aims for the artist to play for 3-hours in order for them to tell a story through music. They are, ultimately, opening, headlining, and closing for themselves. It's up to them to play tracks that reflect their true artistry.
6) What are some of your plans for the future with respect to Tone A & Framework Music?
Recently, I purchased a bunch of new studio equipment! I used to go to a music-driven school in which I played a variety of different instruments. I felt that I needed to get back into that, hence the new purchases. I wanted to be more hands-on and creative.
Framework is always looking to grow. I'm not able to disclose our big project yet, however, everyone can expect a big undertaking of ours to launch in 2020. Keep it locked to our official social media channels to stay updated!
7) Is there anything else you want to tell The Flag Gang?
I truly think that The Flag Gang is an amazing community. I've done enough research to know that that's what you truly pride yourselves on - like Framework Music.
While you guys are following events, Framework Music is hosting events. We're all there for the same purpose - bringing people together through the love of music! You care about people and music - that speaks to me on a level I'll never be able to express.
Thank you for everything; this has been wicked!
Photos courtesy of Bender Black Photography