Over two years ago now, I contributed to a friend's album, performing drums as a session musician on a handful of tracks. Finally the finished copy is in my hands; a really professional looking package as I excitedly peel back the plastic to reveal the physical representation of six years' of hard work from birth to now. I manged to gain an interview with the creator and artist behind yojohnnycowpunk, which you can enjoy below.
Knowing it's been a long time in the process, how long have you actually spent with this project and how does it feel to finally get it done?
Well, it must have taken me 6 years from thinking it would be a good idea to release an album to having 500 copies delivered to my house. I first met a chap called Tabla Tom and he recorded some of my guitar trax to a click. Unbelievable, I was so out of time. That was a long weekend! One thing recording work has done for me is it has taught me to play in time (although others might disagree with me)! It was a lot of work as I'm not in a band. The other people who appeared on the album were mates (such as your good self!) helping me out. I've had to do it all myself, working to pay for a sound engineer to record me, and to help me with the mixing. But I've loved it.
As a new artist, what are you doing to 'get yourself out there'?
To be honest, I enjoy making music far more than 'getting myself out there'. I have sold 29 c.d.'s, my mum bought 3! But you're right, I do need to do something, anything. It cost me a small fortune to get this done, so much so that I have started recording my next album by myself, on my Mac book using Logic 9. What an amazing tool (no, I'm not being smutty!). I have fallen in love with Audio manipulation! But back to your question, my answer would be; not-a-lot. Does anybody have any ideas what I could do?
Where do you take inspiration from when writing music?
Inspiration comes and finds me and gives of itself freely! Sometimes I'm not expecting it and it arrives, I could just be walking down the lane and I get a melody or a line of words....my latest line of words (which came when I was doing some housework) is...."if you ain't gonna do what you say you're gonna do, then you'd best to say nothing at all"....catchy? I was pissed off with someone at the time. But other times I get myself all ready for an idea; studio set-up, guitar in hand, pencil and paper at the ready and in it flows.
Yo JohnnyCowpunk is a great name! Where did that come from?
Its 'yojohnnycowpunk', all one word, no capitals although I sometimes forget and put a capital 'y' at the beginning and when I've woken up after drinking too much vin rouge I sometimes spell it joyohnnycowpunk, but I digress. I'm not sure where it came from, but I like it, I think it describes the music well.
Your album covers quite a mix of styles, was that important to you and why did you choose to do that?
Those were just the songs that got finished first. But I like many different kinds of music so maybe the cd reflects that too.
How do you feel about the music industry in general at the moment? Are you excited or anxious for its current state and future?
Whilst it is always good that people can make a decent wage doing what they enjoy doing, I know very little about that side of things so I have no opinion. What I do know is that music is there for peoples enjoyment, always has been, always will be. And that is a cause for celebration (make mine a double bartender!)
What does the future hold for yojohnnycowpunk?
Really get to grips with Logic 9, at least another 3 albums, the next's gonna be a bit more consistently bluesy rock, the one after that hardcore/ punky and the one after that headmashingly experimental! I'd like to get a band up and running too.
Finally, can you tell us a secret?
Yes, fave bands and artists: Career Suicide, Mastodon, JJ Cale, Sonic Youth, Charlie Parker, Alabama 3, Melt Banana, PRE, The Stooges and many more!
Thanks, it was a pleasure.