The Mahogany-signed singer-songwriter has dissected the often gruelling notion of hindsight in 5 sizzlingly candid chapters, revealing his own battle against painful introspection.
As our lives grapple and traverse across their own individual timelines, the capricious nature of our existence means we often find ourselves looking back on past experiences with meticulous contemplation; no more so than the things we should have said, but didn’t.
Served as a passionate and expressive insight into that very statement, Johnson’s latest body of work brushes away the cobwebs of emotional deliberation with a forceful swipe, detailing the concept of liberating oneself from the stress that can occur when reminiscing.
Each individual track portrays a varying narrative, depicting the unpredictable nature of the human psyche and its response to differing situations. The almost monologic opener Tiny Fires, reflects the feeling of being in a state of desperation, whereas the following track ‘Bulletproof’ underlines our defiant reaction to adversity, accentuating the idea that self-worth is stronger that the weight of hardship. Subsequently, ‘The Wild Atlantic Way’ is as Johnson describes ‘his favourite on the album’, featuring a poignant array of live-strings and an impassioned cadence that forms into a profoundly resonant crescendo; highlighting the
Coming in at a wonderfully radio friendly 2:49, the rhetorically-charged Why? gallops energetically into the fore, characterising the frustration of stubbornness and the annoyance of dealing with someone that doesn’t want to change for the better; an ear-worm if ever there was one. At the book-end of the record and following on with a similar connotation, False Temptations is a homage to the entire origin of the EP, accepting that even though mistakes and bad decisions are made in life, it’s all part and parcel of reality, for without these lessons, there can be no progression.
On the whole, this latest instalment breathes with an unrelenting sense of charm, where intuitive engineering, passionate songwriting and masterful instrumentation collide in a profound show of sonic sophistication. Fresh off the back of this remarkable new project, we caught up with the Lincolnshire-born lyricist to find out all about his latest crop of musical delights and how he’s been dealing with the isolation of lockdown.
You’ve just released your long awaited second EP ‘Things I Should Have Said’ which I must say doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. What’s this project about and how have you approached it diﬀerently to your previous work?
I wanted ‘Things I should have said’ to be a journey of my own emotions over the past few years. Sometimes it’s easy for me to accept the outcome of certain situations in life. However I realised recently that there have been moments where I’ve been lenient or simply a coward. With this EP I wanted to dive straight into the deeper side of myself and tell my honest stories.
Lyrically you’re one of the most earnest artists out there, do you usually write the words down first and construct the melody to it or vice versa?
Honestly the melody always comes first, I’m not very theory oriented in terms of music so creating the words around a pre established melody is the only way I can make It happen. However maybe I should try it the other way around, who knows what might happen!
Each song on the EP oﬀers something diﬀerent both musically and emotionally, do you happen to have a favourite and why?
My favourite on the EP is definitely The Wild Atlantic Way. Not only for its personal meaning to me but the crescendo is overwhelming and thats exactly what I wanted with this track. I already had the idea to lift it towards the end however it definitely came to life once the initial production was laid out by Joey Walker (producer). The string section is also huge and I wouldn’t have that any other way. In terms of lyricism, I still listen back to the song and have no idea how I got there, I think it was this really deep understanding of myself at the time. I was really struggling with myself mentally and dealing with a breakup so I think it was just all of those emotions forced into one place all at once.
COVID-19 has dominated the headlines this year, with many of us restricted in not only our physical movements but also our mental state. How have you found your productivity levels during this diﬃcult lockdown period and what advice would you give to artists who are struggling to be creative?
Advice I would give to artists struggling to be creative is stop trying to create the ‘thing’ that you think people want and create what makes you happy. I think it’s important to focus in on yourself as a person and understand how you’re feeling. The best music I’ve written has come from thought evoking moments in my life. Also siting down with the sole purpose to ‘create’ is a challenge in itself. Sometimes its more healthy to establish a strong idea before actually sitting down to develop it otherwise your going to drive yourself insane.
The music video for ‘Why?’ is a marvellous creation, featuring your boxing debut against physically superior position, tell us a bit about the shoot and what inspired the meaning behind the video?
I think I had the idea for the why music video 2/3 weeks prior to the shoot. We had a contact with the production team (Big Fat Creative) after they worked with The Pylons after they’d shot a few of their films at a great standard. I think the idea arose after understanding how great the production team were and it gave me the confidence to really branch out and try something a little more ‘out there’. I also find that writing a song to a mental image is good, as if to have a specific scene in mind when writing. With ‘Why?’ I had an intense action scenario going around in my head. Like something from the movie ‘Snatch’.
Despite being a solo artist there’s always room for collaboration on new material so with that in mind, who would you want to work with in the future and why?
I think in the future I’d love to write with as many people I can and in as many genres as possible. I think my writing for myself is very personal to myself. However in the future I’d love to sit in rooms with musicians and take on their experiences and shape music around that. I’d love to write for some bigger names such as Dermot Kennedy and Capaldi as I feel I understand that big /emotive sound quite well.
A massive congratulations on what is an amazing body of work, are you planning on releasing anything soon or is it a case of using this winter period to write new material?
This next period will most definitely be a hide away and write scenario. I’m looking forward to collaborating with many people in the new year and am in no doubt that 2021 will be my best year yet! As gigs and sessions begin to rise again I want to be busier than I’ve ever been.