This time, we get to know Kris Townsent, AKA Thomas Sonntag, Producer, writer, advertising specialist, short: One Man Show. Based in Germany with a background in trance, he turns his hand to more orchestral and cinematic sounds with his latest project, Thomas Sonntag.
The track "Tears from Heaven - The orchestral d3c0n57ruc710n" is featured in the New Artist Spotlight Family of Playlists.
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1. Tell us a little about where you are from and what you are currently doing.
I live in Wiesbaden, Germany, where I was born in 1974 and where I have stayed until today. I am the typical bedroom producer because I earn my bread with a normal job in telephone customer service. For the music I find time on the weekend, so to speak my side job. Except, of course, there's not too much to earn there. Although I've been making music for over 30 years, I didn't start publishing my work until May 2022, because in 2021 a tumor in my spine was discovered and removed. Don't worry, everything went well and so far nothing seems to return here. But this was the decisive reason for me to present my music to the world. So I'm currently in the process of making contacts, building up a fan base, and familiarizing myself with self-promotion. I only work in my modest home studio and don't do any gigs or performances, so I use social media. Here in Germany Facebook and Instagram are pretty popular, for NAS I now have to deal with Twitter, which is not so popular here, but I'm doing well with it. Then there's TikTok and whatnot... That's where the music falls by the wayside if you want to handle all the channels... That's why I'm focusing on Meta (Facebook & Insta) and Twitter now. That should be enough.
2. What inspired you to start playing and making music?
Gosh, I really can't remember how it came about that I wanted to make music. It started as a teenager with a mini keyboard that you could hang around your neck like a guitar, as you often saw in the 80s. It wasn't long before a bigger keyboard, a drum machine or two, various synthesizers, and a whole lot more came along. I could list my entire hardware setup from that time, but I can't really say what ultimately got me into music. My grandfather was a very musical person, I remember that. Maybe I inherited that from him. In the meantime, the hardware has completely given way to a PC-based system, with only a few midi controllers for sound control and a keyboard I still have and much more is not needed nowadays.
𝟯. Who are your biggest influences?
There are just too many... I was a heavy metal fan (Iron Maiden was my Fav) as a teenager, then a Top40, trance, and techno fan in the 90s and actually only listened to the music I liked. In the 90s Eurodance and Trance music was extremely popular in Europe and I always wanted to do something in this direction. At that time, however, Enigma was also very popular, for example, and this direction also appealed to me. Chicane also had a strong influence on the music I was making at that time. Later, when I was in my mid-twenties, Uplifting Trance became my favorite music genre. At that time, I also played music in my parents' pub, where the Top 40 could not be missing, there was also rap and hip hop. I've picked up something from practically everything and I'm not limited to just one type of music. But if I had to decide now, I think that Enigma and Chicane have influenced me the most. However, in 2019 I resigned from trance-heavy music because until then I never managed to make a track that really picks me up. And a track that doesn't catch you, you don't need to release it. I then built a more orchestral track with my instruments, which were actually designed for electro music, something similar to what I'm producing now. The whole thing was also due to the pandemic and the lockdowns. This track then picked me up and from then on I started my reorientation, got the appropriate sound generators, and dealt a little with orchestration. But to get back to the original question, I think everything I've ever enjoyed listening to in music influenced me in some way.
4. What are your goals in the music industry?
I probably won't be a star, I'm not fooling myself. But what I want to achieve is to inspire the people who listen to my music to dream as soon as they hear my music. I always try to give my tracks a little direction, a little wink of what you could dream. But what the listener makes of it is up to him alone. Maybe I'll even manage to build up a fan base so that I can afford to go to a restaurant once a month when I retire. But that would be all.
5. Tell us about your creative process when you make new music.
This is always different. I am self-taught and have not learned to play a classical instrument, not even the keyboard. Nevertheless, the impulse can be a very simple chord progression, another time a little melody that I just jam. Other times it can just be a sound that inspires me to make a track out of it. My feeling always plays an important role and leads the track in the right direction.
6. What is your all-time favorite song?
You know that this question is almost impossible to answer. But if I have to decide here too, it's Silent Lucidity by Queensrÿche. The song helped me get through an enormously difficult time and taught me to smile when you think of someone you've lost, even though you sorely miss that person.
7. What is the best advice you have either given or received in terms of music?
Unfortunately, I don't feel able to give advice yet, there are so many other excellent artists who do things better than I do. I have not yet received any advice if I remember correctly... Oh, did I mention that I am self-taught ;-)
Otherwise, I always let my feelings guide my songs, which helps me incredibly. Hey... was that a piece of advice that I gave?
"I always let my feelings guide my songs,"
8. Proudest accomplishment?
That I got off my butt and started releasing my music. Right after that comes that I could take 3rd place in a remix contest, right after I started my new direction. This has shown me that I'm on the right way and should continue to do so.
9. Just for fun! What's been your most embarrassing moment so far?
Oh, that was right here on New Artist Spotlight. Like everyone else, I was assigned a mentor. When I asked my mentor I addressed my mentor by his artist name, which is basically not wrong. However, I thought it was the real name and then concluded that it was a female mentor. After 2 weeks I found the mentor while browsing the NAS 10 Questions and then realized that it was a male mentor. To be honest, that was a bit embarrassing for me, although nothing actually happened. So for all new ones: Check if your mentor is part of the 10 questions. This gives you much more than just great background information about the artists here.
𝟭0. Tell us about your lowest and highest points in music so far.
My low point was when I switched from all my hardware to a PC system in 2000. I had to deal with the software and the 1600-page manual, and the internet wasn't that widespread back then. In addition, it wouldn't have done me any good anyway because YouTube didn't exist yet and the tutorials, as we know them today and like to use them, only became popular much later. That slowed me down a lot. And today I also regret the many long breaks I took in between. But the best thing is that I made music my main hobby in 2015 and have been constantly learning new things ever since. The fact that I have been able to release three of my own tracks and two remixes since 2022, both of which have done very well in the respective contest, makes me a little proud and I would call that my highlight so far. In addition, parallels to my music and to the music of Hans Zimmer is drawn by some of my listeners. That's like an accolade for me, even if I don't see the parallels myself. At least I follow Hans Zimmer on Twitter, but he doesn't follow me yet. Let's see if he listens to one of my tracks someday :-)
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