Daily Archives: September 8, 2012

Dallas Observer interview with Will Johnson

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a good interview with Will Johnson from Centro-matic about his upcoming solo record, Scorpion.

i love what he says here (clipped from article below). unfurrrrrl!

“There’s such a thing as a grower record that can be engaging after a couple of listens, hopefully. It’s just a matter of the listener taking the time or having the patience to let it unfurl, because these really aren’t pop songs. It’s not that kind of thing. It’s got its certain subdued nature and I would even say its time and place to be experienced.”

Will Johnson Looks Inward with a New Solo Album

On September 11, Will Johnson will release Scorpion, his first solo full-length record since 2005. It comes after a four-year stretch in which Johnson has seen his profile heightened by collaborations with Monsters of Folk (Jim James, M.Ward, Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis), New Multitudes (Jay Farrar, Anders Parker, Jim James) and Jason Molina. He says he’s just keeping his head down and doing what he knows to do: cranking out music. With that in mind, he also relates that Scorpion was recorded over the course of five days. Johnson shares the rules he created for making the record, the pros of his high-profile pairings and the status of a new Centro-matic record.

[i used a different pic of Will here than on the article website — like it a bit better…. — Erika]

On first listen, Scorpion is a difficult record, but the third or fourth time it started to click. It’s very rewarding if you give it the right amount of time. Did you set out to do it that way?

Kind of. Even just after we tracked the first couple of songs, I knew it wouldn’t be the type of record that just grabbed the listener in a pop or rock kind of way, or even in the way we constructed Candidate Waltz. The solo records are just kind of different animals from the band records. It started to take that direction right off the bat, but it doesn’t mean it has to be distant or cold. There’s such a thing as a grower record that can be engaging after a couple of listens, hopefully. It’s just a matter of the listener taking the time or having the patience to let it unfurl, because these really aren’t pop songs. It’s not that kind of thing. It’s got its certain subdued nature and I would even say its time and place to be experienced.

You’ve been working on all these projects, particularly with Jim James over the last four years. How do you feel your career has changed since that time?

It’s hard to say because I’ve started doing some other things since that time as well. There’s the New Multitudes thing and taking part in the release with Jason Molina. I’ve also started painting and doing art shows, so it’s kind of hard for me to say how the career has changed. Monsters of Folk got together back in February and recorded for a little while. This particular recording session was definitely more of a collaboration. Getting the glimpse into those three writers’ lives or general motions, as far as completing a song, has definitely been insightful and educational. I feel like I’ve learned a lot more.

Do you have any other new projects in the works?

We’re going to start making a new Centro-matic record in December. It’s written and I even have a rough sequence of how I want it to go. It seems like some people have found out about Centro-matic thanks to Monsters of Folk or New Multitudes. Maybe they found out about my solo stuff. I kind of choose to keep my head down and keep making records that are interesting to my ears and try to keep things different with each visit to the studio. I would do that with or without the Monsters of Folk or New Multitudes experiences, I think. All that said, I’m just as grateful to get to experience those things because they teach me a lot and inspire me to get back to my own writing.

What can we expect from the Centro-matic record?

I went out to Wimberley, Texas, and rented a cabin for three days and had one big writing session. To me it sounds like it’ll be a pretty raw record. It will revisit some of the earlier energy of our records. I think it will be kind of a big rock record, especially in the wake of Scorpion. I’m kind of anxious to turn the amps up again and go for it and try to capture something that has some live room energy to it.

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blame Patterson Hood

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Patterson Hood from the Drive-By Truckers is more than a little responsible for turning on a lot of folks to the glory that is Centro-matic and Will Johnson.

here’s some words he had to say:

Solo-projects from artists who primarily perform in bands give the artist a unique chance to pick and choose friends they don’t typically work with. You seem to make a point of picking Centro-matic’s Will Johnson any chance you get.

I’ve always said that if I could be in another band on earth, and if they would have me, it would be Centro-matic. If I wasn’t in the Truckers, I would gladly jump on-board. I love those guys. I love the way they interact with each other and their work ethic. It was love at first listen for me. I knew Scott [Danbom – piano, fiddle] before I knew Will, just because he would come to Truckers shows anytime we would make it to Denton [Texas]. A big part of me wanting to make Murdering Oscar when I did was because I wanted to record with Scott and Will. I loved Scott’s piano playing, and I wanted their harmonies on a few of my songs. When I figured out what I was doing with this new record, those two were among the first I called, because I knew I wanted them involved somehow. Between those two, Kelly Hogan and my dad, I felt like I had a great group to bring to Athens and start recording.

also, here’s a track from Patterson Hood‘s most recent solo record:

Injustica

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someone — Mark S? (bless you!) — recently posted a link to this out of print Kathleen Edwards’ record to postcard, a record of hers i had never heard of called Building 55.

Injustica
How can you not want me, it’s so plain to me
Injustica
Get you that brass ring, and you’ll be complete
Injustica
How can you not want me when I feel so much
Injustica
Think a mind could change if we did it once

Injustica
People make mistakes, so I’m asking you again
Injustica
i wasn’t talking crazy with that let’s just be friends
Injustica
I am verdant in my fall for you, drunkingly
Injustica
Don’t know how you’re feeling, this just kills me

And my eyes are the reference of you
And my mouth is reverent for you
And my patience is an article of my time
Me, my, mine
Me, my, mine
Me, my, mine
Me, my, mine
Me, my, mine

And I am Injustica
I have gone injusticed you again
I am Injustica
I wasn’t talking crazy with that let’s just be friends
And I am Injustica
And I’m not complete with your brass ring
And I am Injustica
When you resent me ’cause I say no

And my eyes are not the reference of you
And my mouth is not reverent for you
And my patience is an article of my time
Me, my, mine
Me, my, mine
Me, my, mine
Me, my, mine

Injustica
People make mistakes
So I’m asking you again

freaking amazing. i needed this song tonight to bear with bear with…. (a la Miranda).

the bit that cracks me up is around minute 2:00. that posh childhood friend of Miranda’s is so crazy.