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New Year, New Name

New Year, New Name

Allison and I have spent the last year kicking around different ways to create what we want to see in the world. We knew we wanted to create a sustainable company that was providing a valuable tool to our customers. Building something that people use is the gas we need to going.

Our mission as a couple has always been to help others see in themselves what we see in them. We’re always looking out for what’s next on the horizon for all of us as humans and making sure that nobody is left behind if we can help it. What good trouble can we get into? For us, it is usually some combination of an innovative technology (cooked up by Allison), coupled with unbridled enthusiasm (facilitated by Ethan) led us to work together again, but this time with a focus on helping musicians. Our mission as a company has always been to help creators create the things that they love creating. For us that means getting out of the way and making the process simpler, faster, and more fulfilling for creators. It means highlighting their achievements and leading them to do better, without forfeiting theirThis is why we started Tonic Audio Labs, and it motivates us to keep at it everyday. Our first big hairy audacious goal is to help creators do more of what they love. And right now music is one of the few tools we have to connect with one another on an emotional and visceral level. If we can make more of that, and fasciliate more collaboration around the songwriting process, we feel like more connection will happen.

In January we were pretty convinced that our hardware device–a songwriting collaboration tool– was going to be our first product that we’d go-to-market with. We spent months designing and trying different feature sets out. But when it came time to launch, we always felt like something wasn’t quite ready yet. We really hadn’t quite found product-market-fit, no matter how bad we wanted to convince ourselves that we had. So we kept at it, everyday, trying to figure out what this problem was that we were trying to solve. I (Ethan) got really deep into the community building side of things, trying to figure out how we can help songwriters finish songs. Our hypothesis was that there are sooo many moving parts in a song–and it requires right brained and left brained thinking to finish the songs. We weren’t convinced as a team that we couldn’t help creators without having to build a hardware device.

After having worked with a several musicians who were all trying to collaborate online with other musicians, we realized that our MVP was starting us right in the face the whole time. The hardest part about collaborating was trying to actually complete the boring tasks of getting tracks to one another, commenting on said tracks, and adding tracks asynchronously. We are calling the App, Tonic Audio, or Tonic for short. As we go into testing the MVP to make sure that it is actually helping musicians to do what we think it will, we will learn more about what musicians need.

Our hardware device is called Supertonic. The original name was Lumos–which was getting increasingly popular as a light up bicycle helmet that raised a few million dollars on Kickstarter since we named the device last January.

Ethan Clift

Ethan is people-facing Co-founder of Tonic Audio Labs. His favorite things to do are sewing, yoga, and his morning ritual of coffee + jaunt at the dog park with the yorkies. His favorite tool is a Nintendo Wii controller Allison hacked for him to use to control a synth during a live performance.