LOMM: Can you give a little biographical and historical info; who is involved in the band, and how did you guys meet up?
Johnny: For sure! We all first got together back in the August of 2019. I had a solo project that was releasing music by myself under the alias “L 1 P S”. I’m from New Hampshire in the states. It just so happened that our bassist, Tim Donovan, stumbled across my music via a website called “bandmix.com”, which is an online platform where musicians can meet each other and, ultimately, form bands. Tim quickly realized that he lived only an hour south of me in Acton, Massachusetts, and promptly got in touch with me to see if I’d be interested in meeting up & jamming. I was obviously down. Ironically, Tim’s best friend since childhood, Nick Harvey, was living with him in the same house, and was an experienced guitarist equally as interested in joining the journey. The three of us immediately hit it off and put the word out that we needed a drummer. Sure enough, within just a week or so, Conor Moran got back to us with an amazing cover video of our first single ‘Hands In The Soil’. He was just a half hour away from the boys, which made it just too easy. From there, we released our first 6-track EP ‘Too Minded’ a couple of months later, and began HEAVILY gigging across New England, from Boston to New York City as a 4-piece, with me on both rhythm guitar and vocals. It was in February of 2020 when I, along with the band, decided I wanted to take the ground as front man of the band, and hand off the six-string to someone else. I just wanted to improve himself as a singer. Fortunately, a long-time friend of mine, Jam Templeton, quickly expressed interest in hopping on board after tagging along on one of our photoshoots in Manchester, NH. Jam adapted so quickly man. He’s added a new vibe to our band and our sound, and we’ve been stronger than ever since turning into a 5-piece.
LOMM: Pandemic has taken an emotional toll on everyone yet the arts have been hit especially hard. The musicians are vulnerable to financial upheaval. How have you guys have been holding up?
Johnny: Man, it’s obviously been a little tough. We just love playing shows, that’s really where our passion lies. Being in the studio and creating is super fun, don’t get me wrong. But from the get-go, our focus has always been our live show, and delivering our music as perfectly as we can. So, we miss playing out. Before this all hit, it was common for us to have two shows a weekend. Fortunately, things seem to be looking up where we live, and it seems venues and clubs are slowly starting to open back up with certain limitations. We have a couple solid gigs booked for June & July already which is great.
LOMM: On the other hand you seem to have had a productive time. Is that right?
Johnny: Totally! We weren’t quite as productive as we would have liked to be last year in terms of making new music, but we did throw together our second EP ‘Change’ that we released last month which has seemed to really resonate with our fans and gained us new ones. Our productivity right now is over the moon, which is something we’re super stoked about. We have a good amount of stuff well on the way.
LOMM: Tell us about your genre, what does it means to you, why did you choose this genre?
Johnny: Our genre has always sort of been up in the air. People have called us indie, alternative, nu wave, shoegaze, pop rock and everything in between. We have a tendency to call ourselves “nu alternative”. Our sound style is unique in its own ways. And that’s always been the focus, to sort of invent and adopt our own vibe sonically. We’re evolving and changing every day. I think our music has something everyone can enjoy.
LOMM: How did the initial musical and thematic elements evolve?
Johnny: As I said before, prior to this band I had a solo project called L 1 P S (you can look it up, the music is still out) and that’s really where the “root” elements of our sound came to be. Words like deep, dreary, thorough, full, wavy, airy, atmospheric and tense can sort of describe what our base sound defines. I sort of took the thematic elements of that project over into this band too, in terms of visuals and style of media we post and what not.
LOMM: Are you happy with your product? What aspects of it do you think you guys nailed, and what parts do you think you could improve upon?
Johnny: Solid question. I’ll answer this question for our new EP ‘Change’. In writing and recording those songs, I learned a lot about myself and how to metaphorically deliver a message that is personal to me. And those songs are damn personal. I also learned to trust another writer and producer (our guitarist Nick produced and helped write this EP whereas I wrote and produced the first one all myself). It was sketchy for me at first because I was very set on how I felt our music should sound. But I branched out and got myself to understand that I was no longer a solo man, I was in a BAND. And bands all work together. I think last year we should have been more productive with the time we had and made more music, but that’s in the past and now we’re in the fast lane. The whole band is now writing our new music which is another huge step, and it’s sounding amazing so far.
LOMM: How has the overall reception been?
Johnny: People really seem to dig it, dude. More so than I thought they would. Our demographic has grown through this release and we’ve reached a LOT of new ears so far. We’ve gotten very good reviews, a lot of interviews, radio play in Boston, lots of new followers and streams, and overall just begun to grow a bit more than we were before. We’re very thankful and we’re glad people like it.
LOMM: Have you ever been on a tour? Given live performances? Is it tough for you not to be able to do so now?
Johnny: Haven’t toured yet, nope. We’re dying to though, that’s the goal and the dream. We want to see the country and the world. We play live quite frequently, with the exception of the past year. We’ve played all across New England and hope to expand further into the country as soon as this dumb virus lets go of us.
LOMM: What is the next step for you? How is the future looking?
Johnny: Like I said, we’re going as hard as we can on new music right now. Like, we’re in the studio three days a week working. Our main goal for this year is to get out as much new material as we can, and we’re going to hold to that. We can’t wait for everyone to hear what we’re cooking up.
LOMM: Could you tell us about the lyrics / themes /concepts you focus on or plan to focus on? How did the ideas come about, and how do they influence the writing process? Who is writing the lyrics?
Johnny: I write the lyrics for the band, since I’m the lead singer. And if we’re being honest, they aren’t usually the happiest! Ever since I began writing lyrics at 16 (I’m 22 now), I’ve found that the easiest thing for me to artistically write about are the things in my life that I struggle with. I’m a pretty open book. Things like depression, anxiety, addiction, self-consciousness, temptation, you know, all that fun stuff. I always have something funky going on in my head, and as much as it hurts sometimes, it fuels my writing.
LOMM: Who is composing the songs?
Johnny: Right now, the whole band is writing, composing and recording our new music. I write the lyrics and Nick is producing it all.
LOMM: What bands do you draw your inspiration from?
Johnny: Influence-wise, we’re all over the map. From bands like Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Slipknot and Rage Against The Machine all the way over to The Neighbourhood, The 1975, Tame Impala, Bad Suns and Beach House to name a few. We’re super diverse.
LOMM: Which is more exciting? Being on the road or studio?
Johnny: We’re a live band at heart. We just love the rush and adrenaline and buzz of playing loud live shows. But we love being in the studio too, because when you’re creating something completely unique and alien to the rest of the world with your best friends in a room, that’s a special feeling. Tough question. We love it all.
LOMM: What first got you into music?
Johnny: I started playing drums first, when I was only four. I’d bang on shit around the house like pots, pans, tables, and my parents noticed I sort of had a natural sense of rhythm and beat without any sort of teaching or practice at all. They got me one of those tiny First Act drum kits for Christmas. I killed that thing in about three months, and so they ended up getting me a full-size kit for my sixth or seventh birthday. It was all downhill from there and it’s been my sole passion since.
LOMM: What do you like the best about being a musician? And what is it that you do not like much?
Johnny: Man, my favorite part is the love and connection you can feel with music itself. Music is medicine, and a drug. There’s a certain kind of music for every mood, every situation, every person, everything. It’s part of our DNA and I believe it is crucial to a happy human life. Only thing I don’t like all the time is that it forces me to focus in on areas of my life and being that are not particularly happy. But I’m used to that and I know it makes me a stronger songwriter.
LOMM: If you weren’t musicians, what would you be doing?
Johnny: I mean, I’d probably just be working a labor type job, be it a warehouse worker, a logger, landscaper, trail groomer, something like that. I like that kind of work actually. Hands on stuff that keeps you moving.
LOMM: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Johnny: The industry today is super oversaturated and cluttered with a countless number of talentless fools who only gain their fame because of their demeanor and the way they look. That is a fact, and that’s what I would change. There are thousands of undeniably gifted poor people stuck in small ghost towns across the nation and the world that deserve that spot. Not saying that’s me, just saying that’s a fact.
LOMM: What’s more important to you? Catering to the audience or music for its own sake?
Johnny: The music is more important. It’s just a bonus if the audience likes it. You need to make music that you love, for yourself first. I don’t really care if we get super famous or whatever, because no matter what, we are going to make the music we want to and that we love. Fortunately, people seem to like it so far too!
LOMM: What is the most memorable gig that you have played to date?
Johnny: It’s a tie between two, but for the sake of this interview I’ll say it was our first show we ever played. We somehow were given the opportunity to open up for a band on Rise Records called Valleyheart. We played a super sick underground club in Salem, Massachusetts called Opus Underground. It has the sickest lighting, a ridiculously crisp sound system, a bar, and about 150 young chill people crammed in. That show was unreal and so, so fun. People loved our sound and we gained a lot of fans that night.
LOMM: When you look back your music career, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
Johnny: We’re really just getting started, but so far I’d say our biggest accomplishment was having two of our songs spun more than once on Boston radio, 92.5 The River. That was something I didn’t expect to happen so fast. Pretty surreal feeling turning on the radio in your car and hearing your song, knowing how many other people are hearing it too.
LOMM: Who would you like to collaborate with?
Johnny: Hmm, haven’t thought much about collabs. I think it’d be super tight if we could get Jesse Rutherford from The Neighbourhood to feature on one of our tracks in the future. He’s my all time favorite singer.
LOMM: Who would you like to go on a tour with?
Johnny: Personally, my dream tour would be Long Autumn, Tame Impala, The Neighbourhood and maybe Bad Suns or Cage The Elephant. There’s so many bands we’d all die to tour with though.
LOMM: If you could play any festival in the world, which one would you choose? Tell us why.
Johnny: Okay, so I’m going to say Coachella, and the reason is because two nights ago I had a dream we played Coachella and absolutely rocked that place. Coachella is a hella respectable festival though. That’d be really fun.
LOMM: Name some of your all-time favorite albums? Include controversial ones.
Johnny: Oooooh okay. If you want controversial, I’ll proudly say that I am a MASSIVE Slipknot fan, and that Iowa and Vol. 3 by Slipknot are two of my favorite records of all time. Also, I Love You by The Neighbourhood. That record rules.
LOMM: What does your collection look like? Mostly Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, Digital? A bit of everything? A total mess?
Johnny: You know, I used to really keep up with my vinyl collection when I was in my late teens but sort of fell out of it. I still have them all, probably 20-30 in total. But I’ll be honest, I listen to my music like all millennials, on my phone. Apple Music never fails me.
LOMM: What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
Johnny: We’re from Massachusetts on the east coast of the United States. And actually, the metal scene here is one of the best in the country, that’s a fact. Particularly in Boston and Worcester, which is about an hour west of Boston. There’s a legendary metal venue in Worcester called The Palladium where tons of the big metal names play every day. Then of course Boston has a House of Blues and The Paradise Rock Club, two very solid and legendary venues.
LOMM: You can invite 5 people to a dinner party, from the future, the past, rock stars, a movie characters, you name it. Who are you having dinner with?
Johnny: Oh wow, that’s a big question. I’ll go Michael Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, Ric Ocasek, Corey Taylor and Johnny Depp. That’d be a hell of a conversation.
LOMM: If you had one message to your fans, what would it be?
Johnny: I would tell my fans that I love them like a brother or sister and that I’m so very grateful for them listening to what we’ve created from the depths of our jumbled brains. We’re so glad they stick around and we can’t wait to grow our family.
LOMM: Anything else you think your fans should know?
Johnny: All of you keep your eyes out and ears open this year. We have a lot of new music and content coming all throughout this year and we’re working super hard right now, harder than we ever have. Stay tuned and stay safe. We love you.
LOMM: Thank you for taking the time!