Good morning Ton. Since I’ve listened to SynoP project I wanted to ask what made you decide to put in sound the surrounding environment at a certain point of your life. Did you have a particular occasion that made you start this project and what was your goal?
Ton Janssen: There was not a special moment or occasion that started the SynoP project. Creation of music actually started under the name of Red Pony. It was one of these rainy Sunday afternoons that I suddenly decided to do more with all the music software installed on my laptop. It got me going in such a way that I created a full album in one afternoon. Looking back it is surely not the best work I created that afternoon, many default beat patterns with some samples added but it was a start. A funny red plastic pony that was wandering through our house was the inspiration for the name. Continuing from Red Pony I started to create more ambient, soundscape kind of music. Here the sauna comes in. I have the luxury to own a private Sauna in which I really can relax and escape from modern hasty life. In normal public sauna’s they always play terrible new age kind of shit but at home fortunately I’m in charge. Internet radio has many dedicated channels really worth listening to and one of the best in ambient, neo-classical genre is “Omdaru Radio”. So listening at 80°C to “Omdaru Radio” got me the idea: “I can do this myself”. So said so done. Since the name Red Pony did not cover this kind of music I choose SynoP.
Why did you choose the word “SynoP” as name for your project? Which is its meaning?
Ton Janssen: There is a short and long answer to this. Short version is just its meaning : SYNOP (surface synoptic observations) is a numerical code (called FM-12 by WMO) used for reporting weather observations made by manned and automated weather stations. This technical code thing covers the music quit well to my opinion. The longer version: after Red Pony I was looking for a name that better fits the more serious and dark music. Playing with the letters of Pony’s I came to the not so original idea to turn this around: Synop. In these internet times you have to Google a name first to be sure it is not already used by another band/artist. In this case I wasn’t and then I also found the real meaning of Synop which fits perfectly. On top of that it also sounds like signup which gives it a double meaning.
In “77 Bombers” you created a music for your brother’s painting exhibition. I thought it was a very interesting synergy, and I was a little bit curious. Was the exhibition promoted in occasion of a particular event?
Ton Janssen: The credits for all the paintings of course go to my brother. There is a interesting but also tragic story behind it. My brother travels a lot for his work and each time he went to England he bought a magazine about airplane history for a colleague. Then after one of his trips this colleague tragically passed away. My brother was never able to give the last magazine bought. This all happened so suddenly it had a deep impact on my brother. The last magazine had a picture of a crashed bomber in it, since then he started to paint bombers. Last year he asked me to make a video of the pictures of these paintings and I was free to use the music I want. This became the opening track of the album. The theme of “77 Bombers” and the related Second Raid on Schweinfurt was inspiration enough for me to make a full concept album. A exhibition is planned for later this year, 7 paintings will be presented in a home for retired militaries.
Being your work influenced by the ambient, which kind of environment do you prefer as source for inspiration? Moreover, which kind of music influenced your project?
Ton Janssen: As mentioned earlier the neo classical/ambient internet radio “Omdaru Radio” was of big influence. Minimal and experimental artists like Philip Glass, Arvo Part, A Winged Victory For The Sullen, Boards Of Canada, Mogwai, Raime all influenced me. Minimal (Piano) music, Post-Rock and Dark Ambient music in general are the areas were I find most of my inspiration.
Looking at the speed of your production, I imagine that you will create something new in a quite short time! Do you have anything planned for the future?
Ton Janssen: The speed of production was indeed very high last 2 years, so I decided to give it a pause for a moment. But surely this year there will be new material but even for me it’s not fixed were it will go to. Maybe it will be more dark ambient again or more beat oriented, we’ll see.