Ellis Johnson [Musician Interview]

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Who inspired you to make music?

Initially my dad got me into music, particularly rock music as a young kid, my first instrument is drums, so I was obsessed with the likes of John Bonham, and later Dave Grohl. It’s been a process since then I guess, I started playing in bands at a young age, and I think I was wanted to be involved in the creative process, despite that perhaps being particularly uncommon with drummers. 

What is your creative process like? Do you start with lyrics? Instruments? Concept?

I don’t have a set process, really. Sometimes the lyrics come first, sometimes a little hook or a melody, sometimes I’ll just sit playing guitar or piano and an idea manifests. Most of my days start with me humming down my phone, it’s full of voice notes, which if ever we heard by someone else, they’d probably think I’m a bit crazy, but I know what they mean!

What do you feel is the best song you have released/written and why?

My latest release, is called ‘Something Criminal’. I’m not sure if it’s the best, but I’m very proud of it. It began as a bareback acoustic idea, and developed into something much bigger. I’ve had a lot of good response to it, And the lyrics are seemingly quite poignant to people.

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

No matter what the reason, you should never come out of the bathroom smelling your fingers.

If you could be any kind of cookie, what would it be and why? (Most important question) 

I’d be one that had the power to turn me back into a human, I f–ing hate noisy eaters, so being something that will ultimately end up in someone’s mouth, spiralling around in their saliva, doesn’t really appeal to me. Plus, once I have ceased to exist, hopefully I will leave behind more than a few crumbs.

How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?

Unbelievably. No one seems to want the hard copy of an album anymore, it’s all based on streams, which are not financially helpful for artists unless you are a huge well-known artist. But it’s a game we all have to play if we want our music to be heard. The Internet has infiltrated the music industry, and made it into more of a business than it has ever been, a business ran by non musicians. In many ways it is taking the edge off of how precious music is, and made it easy to get with the click of a finger, as a result listeners through no fault of their own can easily treat a piece of music as disposable, flicking to the next song at will. It of course has many benefits, but the days of going into a record store and listening to an album before you buy it are sadly dead and gone.

If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?

I would make it easier and more accessible for unheard artists to be heard. If streaming is the way the world works, in the industry, then I would put into place a system whereby in order to listen to the music you love, or new music by an artist you love, you have to subscribe and donate to up and coming artists struggling to be heard. Something like that…

What is the most useless talent you have?

I have found a use for all of my talents to be honest, many of them are ridiculous but they all have their uses. For example I do a mean car horn sound, the comical kind. Which has caught people off guard at my gigs, and anything you can do that creates a good response, is very useful. I can also juggle. 

When you’re done with music, what do you want people to think when they talk about you and your work?

Why would I be done with music? If I’m done with music, that will mean I’m 6 feet under, so people can say whatever they want, because I won’t know about it. People are free to think what they want. I hope a lot of people enjoy my music and continue to. Even if they remember me as that geeza that could do a mean car horn noise. 

What is your most recent project/upcoming project?

I’m constantly writing so it’s an ongoing project, nothing specific to mention. But as I mentioned before my latest single is called ‘Something Criminal’ and you can get it on all the streaming sites that I absolutely love and support. Streaming is great, I won’t have anyone say a bad word about it. 

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