The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Musician Brandon Johnson releases debut album, Scream

 Musician Brandon Johnson releases debut album, Scream
Musician Brandon Johnson releases debut album, Scream

Musician Brandon Johnson releases debut album, Scream

Country-pop artist Brandon Johnson has been doing his own publicity, but from hearing his album, you wouldn’t know that his success has been mostly made from his own hands. His debut album, Scream, has sold out several times online and with its uncommon instruments and homegrown brand of Texas feel good music, it is guaranteed to catch the ear of many a music fan. Tracks like “If I’d known” and “Falling in Love” stand out as gems on the nine-track record from the 24-year-old Johnson, who cites Jack Ingram (an SMU alumnus) as a major influence. I sat down with Johnson for a few questions to get to know the up-and-coming singer/songwriter a little better.

DC: Can you tell us about the recording process?

BJ: Well, I can definitely tell you how I did it. I recruited Steven Collins from Deadman and Pete Coatney from Jack Ingram’s Beat Up Ford Band as producers. We recorded at the Troubadour studio in McGregor, Texas, a giant, restored meeting hall downtown, during Summer 2004. All of the tracks were recorded live (minus vocals…which were added at the end) — the way it used to be done. No isolation booths … nothing. In my opinion, it gives the record so much more life. It sounds real. Those science labs in Nashville DO record “perfect” sound with no blemishes or bleed in the tracks. But those records don’t sound real, no life.

DC: Who are your main influences?

BJ: Guys like Bruce Springsteen, Gram Parsons, Don Henley, The Rolling Stones, The Band, CSNY … I really admire all their songwriting. But as far as someone who played a major role in my career … I would say Jack Ingram. All of those guys WERE major influences, but they were and are so much older than me … it was hard for me to relate to how they got to where they are today. And even though Jack is 10 years (exactly) older than me, I can still track his growth as an artist. I can still watch and learn. He’s doing some great things.

DC: How did you meet the guys in your back-up band?

BJ: My band has changed tenfold throughout the past six years. That’s what happens. People move off, change the direction of there life, or just don’t work out. My band varies from show to show … for instance: Last week I had Pete (Jack’s drummer) and Scotty Wray (brother to Country legend Collin Wray) doing an acoustic show with me in Dallas. But next week I’ll have my full band traveling through East Texas. So it varies a little from show to show … depending on the venue and type of show.

DC: And how did you come to use interesting instruments like tambo-snare or mando-guitar?

BJ: Working with Steve and Pete in the studio, you soon learn that nothing they do is the typical-standard. They use very unorthodox techniques for recording … but it’s all about the end result! That’s why I recruited them. I wanted a record that sounded a little different and deeper than the “beer songs.” Those songs are fine … but it’s not where I am now. Tambo-snare was something Pete created by placing a tambourine directly onto his snare head. Mando-guitar was used on “Falling in Love.” I saw Chris Masterson (Jack’s lead guitar player) use one in a show and I loved the sound. I figured we could find a nice place for it … it fits great!

DC: Was there a defining moment growing up that made you decide to pursue a career as a musician?

BJ: I don’t know, I think as a musician … you kinda always know it is a part of you. I guess when I was on the Texas Music Tour a couple of years ago, and we were playing in coliseums to thousands of people, I guess I really realized that this was for me. But even more than that … I knew after I wrote “Scream” and I took a step back and really looked inside my writing and saw my composition … I was hooked.

DC: What has the experience been like doing your own publicity?

BJ: It’s been a LEARNING experience. I like it though … lots of work however. I don’t plan on doing it alone forever … I just really want to build those first initial contacts myself. That way I’m a real person not just a name, website, and CD.

DC: You’re going to be playing quite a few dates in Texas over the next couple of months – is there any show you’re particularly looking forward to?

BJ: Yes, you’re right. The past two weeks I was in Iowa, Missouri, and Oklahoma … now I’m back home for a little while. I was asked to do a songwriter showcase on the main stage for the Texas Rock Fest — Quadruple Bypass in Austin next month. This is huge because my album is being recognized by the rock genre … it’s great! I mean I play alternative country/roots rock, so it definitely fits…but it’s still an honor for them to recognize me as a universal artist and songwriter, and to watch my record cross genres.

For more information visit www.brandonjohnsonband.com.

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