Interview: Louis Vann Johnson

Hello. We enjoyed listening to your song “Backfired”. What is the story behind the song and how did you create/ write it? Also, what inspired the song title?
Thank you, I’m really glad you enjoyed it! “Backfired” is about finding a relationship in a state of chaos. It explores the journey of recognising, understanding and eventually accepting that there are fundamental incompatibilities/ differences in that relationship which cannot be solved overnight. The song is the beginning of an inward journey where many people have found themselves. It also hints at possible compatibility but it is often hindered/restricted by deeper issues within each individual. It is the first step on this inward journey on my E.P 34/7. The song actually came out of a writing session I had with my friend, artist and songwriter Jordan Thomas and wasn’t originally intended for me. However, I really loved the song so when it wasn’t taken on, I asked Jordan if he didn’t mind me using it for my own project. He was happy about it and so after trialling production with it with other producers, I eventually decided to produce it myself which was really fun! I really try to serve the song when I produce, my goal is for everything to work together equally. I find musical characteristics that feel good with my melody and chords and I go from there. The inspiration for the song at the time seemed to just come, we were working to a brief musically but not lyrically. I found the chord sequence with the rhythm to be fitting of the brief and we started writing. Although lyrically I can definitely relate to the song and maybe on reflection the writing flowed easily.

We understand that there is also a music video for the song. What inspired the video and what ideas went into making it? Is there a message that the video carries too?
There will be a lyric video to the song. It’s very simple and will be part of the entire lyric video for the E.P. Though I’m not saying there will never be a music video!

If you had to describe your sound, how would you do so? Furthermore, what artists (or other sources) do you cite as influences?
I like this question more than being asked what genre is my music! It just makes more sense to me! My sound generally has rhythmic and harmonic foundations of R&B, Soul and Pop. However I will use elements of Jazz, Reggae, Rock, Funk and Blues within my production to serve the song. To be honest, if I feel a certain sound or sounds work with my songs I will use it. The delivery of my sound meanders somewhere between singer-songwriter, soulful and pop. I actually think you’re better off listening to the E.P and you can let me know how you feel as there’s a bit of variety on there!

What have been career highlights so far? And what is on your bucket list that you’d want to achieve?
I’ve been into music seriously for over 20 years and to be honest the highlights for me are seeing how inspired people become to sing or dance to your songs. Or coming up with something that makes you feel excited to share! I’ve always desired sharing my music on a global level where I could tour all over the world and create music or artistic projects with other like minded creatives.

If you could be the main support for any living artist, who would that be for and why? Alternatively, what would be your dream live booking?
I would love to open up for Bruno Mars, or Ed Sheeran. Bruno because his shows are musically exciting, he really uses the musicianship of his band but manages to keep the balance by not overindulging solely in the music but by keeping the show fun and interactive.
This is something I also love to do when I perform with a band. I think that mix of good musicianship and showmanship is captivating and I do it because it would be something I’d enjoy seeing. My reason for wanting to open up a show for Ed would be more on the basis that I feel like his audience would be very into the stories of my songs so that would be amazing to share.

What artists have you been listening to? Additionally, who should others be listening to?
I tend to listen to a lot of music that came out before I was born or that I listened to growing up but I’ll still listen to newer songs. Honestly  it varies but it could be anything from the last two centuries up until now, if it moves me I’ll listen to it. I’d say listen to everything at least once then decide whether it’s for you or not.

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