The music of Author & Punisher is heavy, dark, abrasive and full of dissonance and distortion. Call it electronic, industrial or metal, but one thing this music lacks is the use of traditional instruments like guitar, bass drums and even regular microphones.
What sets Author & Punisher apart from anyone playing heavy music is that each instrument is custom made by electronic transducers and keyboard interfaces, tons of metal shaped with cranks knobs and levers that all produce sound effects, including several microphones attached together.
This one-man musical project is fronted by San Diego-based artist, musician and engineer Tristan Shone, who has projected his mechanical sounds and iconoclastic vision to fans of underground industrial and metal music since 2004.
“I would say it’s industrial music,” Shone says.
“You could say it’s in the vein of groups like Godflesh, Throbbing Gristle, Ministry and others. But the funny thing is that I’m not about music that is just one genre. I don’t limit myself. I am into all kinds of metal—doom metal black metal—electronic, drum-and-bass and so much more. I’ve just always been into really heavy, aggressive music. It all comes out with Author & Punisher.”
Shone was an engineer but left it to pursue a career in art and music.
“I’m a musician, too, and played in doom metal bands and stuff,” he says. “And even in the early days of Author & Punisher, we had a band and I would just experiment with these other instruments and sounds, until it evolved to me just doing this by myself.”
Shone says without his expertise and past work in engineering, he would not have developed Author & Punisher.
“I definitely would not have gone in this direction with these instruments,” Shone says. “With Author & Punisher, writing music is quite easy. I still use harmonies, pitch and melodies, but to me it’s more about the movement with the music. Especially when I play live, it conveys the energy of the music in a proper format.”
Author & Punisher is on the road opening for death metal veterans Atheist as well as Cattle Decapitation, also of San Diego.
“I am used to playing extreme metal shows, but I never know with the crowd,” Shone says.
“Of course, I have great shows, but while I am up there with all the kinetic energy and waves of sound and movement, I get to look into the crowd. And every show, I see the faces of people who are dumbfounded. I don’t know if it’s because they are bored, confused or really into it. Sometimes the metal crowd can be a bit hasty, but other times they appreciate something different. But so far, overall, the shows on this tour have been great.”
Shone is touring in support of his 2018 album, “Beastland,” and plans to continue that into 2020. Author & Punisher will open for Tool at shows including the January 10 and January 12 gigs at Viejas Arena.
“This is such a great opportunity,” he says.
“I am so excited. I am a huge fan of Tool. They always seem to take out bands that are not popular or mainstream or successful, but bands who do their own thing and have their own sound, and bands they like. I’m talking about bands like Isis, Intronaut, Yob, 3TEETH and so many others. I am honored to play with Tool. It’s going to be amazing.”
After the Tool tour, Shone says he has more plans.
“I do have a tour coming up in the spring with this experimental band Igorrr, from France, which will be cool,” Shone says.
“There’s also another tour in the works of the U.S., then more European shows later in the year. I suppose I could get back in the studio, but I’m not sure about the timing yet. I might have to stop saying no to all these great offers and opportunities that keep coming my way. One last thing: I can’t say too much now but I am in the works of making some of my instruments available for others. I will announce more later and in 2020.”
Cattle Decapitation w/Atheist, Author & Punisher and V.i.t.r.i.o.l.
6:30 p.m. Sunday, December 22
Brick by Brick, 1130 Buenos Avenue, Bay Park
$25 in advance; $30 day of show
Tool w/Author & Punisher
7:30 p.m. Friday, January 10, and Sunday, January 12
Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl, San Diego State University, 55000 Canyon Crest Drive, San Diego
Tickets start at $99.50