Beyond the Booth is a feature dedicated to the hidden side of artists that exists outside electronic music— a side rarely discussed with those outside their immediate circle. We venture “beyond the booth,” so to speak, and dive into their deepest passions that tie into their unique personalities. After some self-introspection, each participant then returns to the booth, providing an exclusive mix for the Dancing Astronaut audience.
Finnish producer and avid photographer Tony Lagerstrom, also known as Tontario, paints landscapes of the sonic and visual variety. The talented artist’s rapidly accumulating nature photography on his Instagram shows a brooding side to his artistry, with his latest EP From Below following suit. In both his music and his photography, Tontario favors crisp, atmospheric artistry that mirrors the seclusion of the Finish forests of his Scandinavian home.
With releases out on Armada Music and most recently Ajunadeep, Tontario’s ethereal vein of music and equally as multi dimensional photography undoubtedly make him an artist to watch. At the root of both creative outlets, Tontario celebrates solitude and introspection in his work. Now, Tontario allows us a peek into his ethereal artistic journey with an exclusive playlist of his favorite inspirational tunes to boot.
What camera do you use to shoot and why?
That’s kind of something I don’t usually speak about because my gear is pretty old, but I have a Nikon D80. It’s like a 10 year old camera that I actually borrowed from my girlfriend’s sister. As for my lens… it’s a Tamron 70-300mm d/4-5.6. So it’s a basic setup but it works for me. I haven’t bought my own camera yet; it’s just a hobby so I haven’t put much money into it yet, but it’s something I hope I can do soon enough.
Which started first – your music or your photography? How did the latter get going?
I’ve been making music for about 5 years and photography for like 2 years. I just started taking photos with my iPhone about 2 years ago and editing them in the phone apps. Then I got to borrowing a DSLR, and I kind of took it more seriously and got Adobe Lightroom and started editing on the computer, and since then it has just grown.
What appeals to you about nature photography as opposed to city or event photography?
I think it’s much easier to bring out the emotion in a nature picture rather than a city. I was in Iceland recently and really enjoyed taking photos there. I like this kind of northern wild. I’m trying to get into city photography recently but it’s really hard to get good pictures. Its definitely something that I’m trying to do more of in the future.
How did the album art for your recent single “Northern Confessions” come about?
That cover is actually me in the photo, and a good friend of mine took the picture and then I edited it. But it was my idea and I wanted something really raw and emotional, so I got this barefoot in the forest idea. We tried a lot of ideas that day like me running in the forest but that one turned out the best. I’m really happy with that one.
Solitude seems to be a theme throughout your music and photography. What about being alone helps you create?
Solitude and being alone inspire me a lot. I’m kind of an introverted person as well so I don’t know, they just inspire me. Especially when you’ve been alone for a longer time than you should, you start thinking weird thoughts and that’s something that can come out in your music and your photography I think. I like to be like alone in the forest to take photos and just go around and look for nice places. It’s something I enjoy a lot. But it’s also nice to have a friend or a model in your pictures; it depends.
Do your photography and your music evolve in tandem? Is the music on your new EP From Below mirrored by your photography?
Yeah definitely, it’s more that my music has been inspired by the pictures I’ve taken lately. I get inspired by shows and stuff a lot, I’ve watched a lot of dark TV shows lately so this EP kind of took a dark turn, as well as in my pictures.