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Jordan Johnson releases self titled EP; another to follow

Mar 31, 01:47pm

The New Delhi-based songwriter will hit the studio again to begin the process of a full-fledged studio album. The now released self-titled EP features Akshay Deolikar and Harshit Mishra. 

Jordan Johnson was quite desperate for the dawn of 2018. For a musician planning to reveal two potential studio efforts, surely the stakes were high. The first half of the year, to be more precise, would deliver the launch of his highly anticipated EP. The second half, regardless of the outcome of the first, would lead to the recording of another studio effort – and possibly its release too. Professionally, 2018 would unravel to be the busiest for this New Delhi-based singer-songwriter; and naturally, one would expect highly tensed and nervy reactions. However, come first month of January, and his debut gig in Mumbai’s newly opened The Quarter, Johnson was back to the ‘I know what I am doing, I have got it under control’ zone. The musician rarely interacted, performed a couple of songs off the then upcoming EP, executed the first half as a solo act only to be accompanied by two more musicians for the remainder of the set. Throughout the gig however, Johnson stood with his guitar in a mildly noisey bar with a gradual effort that ended with everyone’s applause. Within a month, he returned to the city, at another venue, with more or less the same outcome.

 

Johnson is not new to the country’s quite unpredictable (not to be confused with indifferent) and evolving culture to live music scene. The “indie scene” has become a subject to his wit and humour and occasional rants on social media, but as the sun sets, Johnson needs these bars and pubs to release the emotions that his otherwise reserved attitude does not allow. But when neither works, Johnson locks himself in his comfort zone, or any musician’s for that matter, and records songs. The self-titled EP, released today, is the musician’s most elaborate effort of communication. The five-track studio effort created the necessary buzz with the release of the music video of ‘Afterglow’, thus leading to the official theatrical music video, and the first of its kind for this New Delhi based composer. Johnson has never shied to experiment with electronic minimal sounds for studio efforts, as well as live gigs, and the obsession extends to this EP. Not wasting important time in the set, the opening track features every element that defines and determines Johnson’s maturity as a musician. Vocals remain the core and vital aspect of his songwriting process throughout the EP with special and effective appearances from other instruments that, otherwise, act as consistent backing support.

 

The following track ‘Afterglow’, without any doubt, will appear far more consistently in Johnson’s live set-up in the future considering the deserved hype around it even before the release of the EP, and its gradual growing popularity in his fanbase. Drums and bass tracking become more prominent in this track, however the songwriter ensures the focus remains on the lyrical aspects. On that front, Johnson communicates with extreme transparency and necessary emotions. ‘Twenty’ and ‘Crow’, two of the final three tracks of the EP, take the listeners to Johnson’s memories from the past and the contemplation that occurred then, and sonically, the songs quite perfectly complement the mood.

 

 

Rock Street Journal spoke to the musician about the new music, the creating process, a bit about his past and more.

 

Hello Jordan, hope you're doing good. So, firstly, we would love to know about your musical history. How did you get into music? And how has India been a shade of your life's painting?

 

Hi! Thanks for having me. So, my father got me an acoustic guitar when I was 5. I used to play the bass guitar and drums a bit after that but eventually started songwriting at the age of 12. My folks moved to this country 26 years ago to Goa first, and then to Mussoorie. From there I moved to Delhi and have been playing gigs at bars and pubs all my life.

 

How would you describe your musical style as?

 

I started out as a singer songwriter in a guitar and voice format but since the last 2 years I've been delving into the production side of things. In terms of the genre, I would say it gravitates towards indierock, electronica, alternative.

 

Tell us the story to your upcoming sophomore EP and the recently released single "Afterglow"?

 

The word I would use to describe the story behind the album is "contrast". It involves the questions that every person comes up with during their 'existential crisis' period, dealing with the choices one needs to make between various options available. So the 4 track EP contains these various dilemmatic life-based questions.

 

 

What incidents and places became a part of the conception of the record?

 

The album was written mostly in US as an acoustic set but as I got more into the production side of things, I felt the need to express more, musically, so I further incorporated atmospheric and electronic elements of music in about a year's time from then.

 

Is it more important for you if the audience grasps your exact thoughts, through your music, or do you appreciate their own interpretations to relate with?

 

The attention span of people in this day and age is substantially less. So most of them are fed with direct lyrics such as "let's get high", "let's get drunk", which they are able to relate to. Whereas my music is more of an abstract form. It's that abstract that sometimes even I don't know what I'm talking about. But I absolutely love when certain listeners dig deep and form their own interpretations of the music. I think at one point I will take out certain lyrics from my songs and do a storytelling session where I talk about their significance while I wrote them down.

 

Which artists inspired you the most while growing up and how many of them have you seen live?

 

I would say James Blake and Bon Iver have really opened up my musical palette since I started listening to them. And I've been on tour abroad before but have always missed catching them live either by a day or two!

 

What will follow the upcoming EP? Naturally, the musician concludes launch of a release with a tour. Apart from that, what can we expect from Jordan Johnson?

 

I recently signed up with Kranti Art Theory, artist management based in Mumbai, and we have a tour in April of about 6 cities. Post that I fly to Switzerland in June/July to the legendary Mountain Studios (famously recording likes of Queen, AC/DC, David Bowie) to record for my next EP or album. After that gets done, I come back and do a whole bunch of shows in India till the end of the year.

 

Are there any collaborations in this album? Can we expect any Indian collaborations in the future?

 

I have Akshay Deolikar and Harshit Mishra handling  drums and bass duties for this record. I also plan to collaborate with the Delhi based producer, DJ Zaeden, for the next project.

 

Your social media profile suggests that you - even though for humour - are sort of a critic of how the "indie" scene in India is. Where do you think the problem lies? And what do you consider as solution?

 

(laughs) How did you find that out?!! I feel that care and love for the fellow artists is sometimes missing in the hustle and bustle. Establishing a compassionate and helpful environment would surely encourage better things for the community. I also feel there is a dearth of venues in the country. There certainly needs to be more venues to accommodate more upcoming acts.

 

 

The album will be available on Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play among other services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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