Our Story

Every company Allison and I have co-created always starts with a question: What big, hairy problem is fun enough for us to spend the next 7 to 10 years solving? We both love music–both of us having created music–we saw holes in how it was done.

In addition to creating music, we’ve gifted each other curated playlists throughout our decade and a half together, so music has been a massive part of how we weaved our lives together when we first became a couple. And it continues to shape our lives together.

The Genesis of Tonic Audio Labs

In looking for inspiration, we were enamored by companies like Moog Music. Robert “Bob” Moog is best known for inventing the eponymous Minimoog synthesizer in 1964, revolutionizing the world of new music creation by providing musicians with a vastly expanded sonic universe, that you could have in your own home.

In late 2019, Allison and I were wrapping up other projects when this idea began to form. She was coming off of a nine-year stint as the CEO of a blockchain company, and I had spent the past three years leading a government relations firm focused on helping tech companies operate in the state of Nevada. With the pandemic, and being locked down, we were finally ready to take this nascent idea of a music startup and do it together.

Later we brought on other amazing team members who help make Tonic what it is today. But the very early days were mostly working through this lockdown idea.

Why did you found this together?

Why though? Some people think we’re crazy for co-founding a company together. “I could never work with my spouse,” we’ve heard from friends and investors alike. The answer is simple–because it’s what we do for fun. It’s what we talk about when we’re out at a bar, at dinner, or on a walk. We love thinking and tackling life together, and this is just another way of doing that.

Allison, the builder, wanted to build a tool, something that helped musicians write more songs. While I, the champion for creators, wanted to know how we could help the creative process be smoother. I was on a mission to make the music-making process suck less.

Can technology make music creation easier?

If music is made up of people playing notes on various instruments together, and if more people are making music remotely than ever before, then the question is raised, how can we help more musicians find their creative other-half, and complete more–and better–songs together? And, how do we help them do this no matter where they are in the world? This is what continues to guide us today, and this is what we need to build.

So, welcome to Tonic Audio, it’s so nice to meet you. We would love to have you join us as we work to help power the world’s music creation, one collaboration at a time.

To learn more about us, check out the respective links: Founder’s Story: Ethan Clift, Founder’s Story: Allison Clift-Jennings.

By Ethan Clift

Ethan is Co-founder and CEO of Tonic Audio. His favorite things to do are sew quilts, take walks, make music, and his morning ritual of waking with Evie June, feeding the animals, coffee + a jaunt to the dog park with the pocket-sized Yorkies. His favorite tool is a Nintendo Wii controller Allison hacked for him to use to control a synth during live performances.