Tom TonePrint by Jon Thorne

‘Tom’ is Jon’s creation for the Vortex Flanger pedal. It is a slightly slower flange that emits deeper, darker and more mysterious tones, especially when used in combination with a bow. Jon likens the sound to the daunting experience of “being under water.”


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Jon Thorne's Tom TonePrint for Vortex Flanger

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TC: What does this tone sound like? Thorne: It sounds a little like being under water.

TC: Who has inspired you over the years when you were creating your personal tone? Thorne: I was very inspired by a lot of bass players on ECM. It was one of three things that tipped me into bass playing. One of them was hearing Danny Thompson, the English double-bass player, whose tone is still my favorite of any player. Reading Charles Mingus’ book ‘Beneath the Underdog’ was really inspiring. It was wild stories of jazz lifestyle. Thirdly, was when a friend handed me a cassette compilation and on it were Gary Peacock, Miroslav Vitouš, Charlie Haden, Eberhard Weber and Dave Holland. People who had taken double bass a long way down the road from where it was in the 50s and 60s and really turned it into a very expressive instrument in its own right.

TC: How has your time with Lamb influenced your playing style? Thorne: It was immediately a brand new world because I had no reference points for that and the music was as futuristic and interesting as anything I had heard. It was bringing elements from all kinds of situations. It was really fresh. Andy’s programming is highly unusual and you had the two human voices and also myself. It was almost less about bass playing for me and rather about trying to evolve a different kind of way of approaching playing within that framework because there was already a lot of bass there. So you had to go with that or keep out of the way or find a way to enhance the music appropriately. Andy mixes the gig live every night and sometimes he’ll throw things on my sound and I’ll react to that, which will bring something else out. So it does have jazz elements in it in that respect, in the improvisation.

TC: How is it to play a double bass in an electronic band? Thorne: It has been great to take double bass into electronic music and use it as a viable instrument rather. To actually be able to evolve a language over the last 14-15 years playing live with the band has been brilliant. They have given me ‘carte blanche’ to go and try stuff right the way through so it has been very liberating and highly enjoyable, and it’s a constantly evolving process.

TC: What do you want to call this one? Thorne: I’ll call this one ‘Tom’, after my son.

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