Music

JOHNNY STIMSON
JOHNNY STIMSON INTERVIEW
Johnny Stimson

A great place to start is at the very beginning. So what was the song that you can remember hearing?

Oh, the first song that I can remember hearing? Wow. I think it might be ‘Listen To What The Man Said’, from the McCartney ‘Wings’ era. I specifically remember that little synthesiser line, the flourish and singing along with it in like back like in a car seat. I mean, have you heard any of the ‘McCartney III’ stuff he’s doing right now like with Dominic Fike, Beck and everything?

Yes! What do you think of it?

I mean, Paul is my favourite songwriter, and voice, just all things creative really! I just look up to him so much. And to see him finding creative ways to engage with other artists and a younger audience and stuff. Man, it makes me wish I was a little further in my career, I would love to do something like that with him. He will always be the hero to me, and it kind of evolved for me – that’s the first song I can probably remember hearing, but learning music for me was basically going through The Beatles discography and sitting with my Dad at the piano and him kind of explaining, this is how music theory works. That’s like my whole childhood…

What’s your favourite Beatles album – If you had to pick?

If I had to pick, Sergeant Pepper’s because it’s just like always special place in my heart. But also, the back half of Abbey Road, you just can’t beat that.

So I’m guessing it will probably be a similar kind of answer. But is there an artist that totally re-evaluated the way you perceive music?

I mean, I guess we jumped the gun and already skipped right ahead to that!

My Dad played a little bit of music in church, but he also studied music in college, and then didn’t end up working in that field, but he just has an awesome ear. He can hear anything on the radio and just like sit down and play it or play a guitar or whatever. So I was always around music and my dad’s always singing stuff in the house and playing instruments. But then when I heard The Beatles by myself and sat down and listened to it, it was like, my whole life changed a little bit. I became personally obsessed with it, even more than like my Dad was and I just read every book, watched ‘The Anthology’ like a million times. At the same time, I was learning how music theory works and I don’t think I will ever be able to have that formative experience again, where it’s like, that was my first time – I fell in love with music. It is the greatest music ever written, in my opinion. I don’t think you can have that first experience again, that was really what made me want to be on stage, singing songs for people, you know?

Yeah, I completely understand. So, what kind of age did you begin creating your own music?

I think I got a guitar around like 10 or 11 years old, but I’d say that it was about age 14 or 15. So I had taken advice from my dad and learned a few songs, but it was more like learning the shapes of the chords, but when I was 14, or 15, and The Beatles world opened up to me, that was when I started to try and understand how it worked. As I was learning, I was starting to write music too, I thought: Okay, if they can do this, and it’s just simply like a matter of putting words and emotions to the melody, I think I can do that. So I’d say 14, or 15, was when I really started to try to get everyone around me in a band.

What would you say is one life experience that you’ve had, that without it, you wouldn’t be the artists that you’ve become today?

Oh, man, these are awesome questions. Well, I would say that there was a big moment where I was already committed to trying to be a musician for my career. I went to school for business and finance stuff, an at one point in my life considered being a consultant and doing things in that world. But all I really wanted, the passion in my life and in my heart, was to sing songs. But there was a moment when I came over to London to play to an agency, I offered to come over there on my own dime, to find people to work together with and see if I could get on an opening tour, or something like that. So, I came over, and I brought the band and I remember, I basically had about like $10,000 in the bank, and I spent like $9,500 to get the myself, the band and everything over there. I knew I was taking a risk, but I wanted to go all out, so we went there.

It was in Camden Town at a new venue that wasn’t like properly open yet, it was like a soft launch kind of thing, so people came but it wasn’t a ton, hey didn’t have their sound system all dialled in yet, there were front of house malfunctions. I was just so discouraged, thinking I spent all the money I have.  I obviously thought it was so cool to you know, travel the world to play music and bringing my band, I thought it was awesome but it also felt really discouraging. My band is so cool, those guys put their arms around me and we had some beers and it was great. But then, the next morning, I got a phone call from someone that was like; “Hey, I was at your show and there’s a PR person who I’ve worked with, y’all were so amazing, so sorry, I didn’t ask you but I went ahead and sent your music to someone at Rocket [The Rocket Record Company]. Somehow, Elton John heard that this morning and he wants to call you right now, so hang up and please answer the phone!”. I could not believe it, it was just like the most prime example where I thought God is watching over the situation or something like that. I never in a million years would have expected that to happen, and it thankfully it grew into a relationship. I felt like Elton was a friend of mine and so invested in my life. Just sitting around at his kitchen table he talked to me about what it means to be an artist. I remember he talked to me about waking up in the middle of the night, he said: “I’m an old man, so I wake up in the night a lot and when I walk back to bed, sometimes I stop at the piano because that’s just what my soul tells me”. I just remember being so inspired by like sitting next to him and talking to him like that in just an incredibly human kind of way and he was another hero of mine already. So yeah, to hear him talk like that and just be a regular guy, I was so close to thinking, maybe I should go be a consultant or something and he really reminded me that what I’m doing is important, even if it’s on a small scale – it’s worth it.

What was it like having a mentor, and effectively a co-sign from Elton John of all people. You just gave us a little bit of insight, but is there any other words of wisdom that he’s given you that you’d be able to share with us?

I can’t even begin to explain, it was something I wasn’t seeking, I really wasn’t hoping for anybody to be my mentor or anything like that. And to be honest, he’s really busy guy and he obviously has a whole world and a life of his own, so for him to kind of have taken that moment and that period of time, really meant a lot. But there wasn’t a specific piece of advice, it was mainly just his enthusiasm as an older and respected musician that kind of reminded me that this is a viable career. Like the way he had his iPad, he would just always be showing me new bands that he was loving, the music discovery part of the business still really inspired him in his 70s into writing music. I think that overall attitude that he had just reminded and confirmed to me that this doesn’t have to just be like, a two year try and be a musician kind of thing. Like you can have a real career and let your passion be the thing that leads that career. It reminded me that don’t have to be Elton John or other big arena artists to be able to be a sustainable musician.

I remember one time, I went to a bunch of record label meetings, and I’d been over at his house the day before in LA, and he wanted to see how the meetings went the next day. So I went into his studio, and he showed me some new stuff he was working on, I met the band, he took time out of his session, stopped what everybody was doing and we probably sat and talked for two hours. I remember when I was talking about something that the people at Capitol Records had said, and at the time, he was on Capitol too. He was in sunglasses and the full ‘Elton’ suit and he just grabbed my hands and he jumped up and down like, “Yeah, baby! Yeah, baby! Yeah, baby!”. He was just so pumped for me that I was gonna maybe get a record deal. That moment, I just know when I’m 100 years old or something, I’m gonna remember it like it was yesterday, and probably never stop telling my grandkids about it.

It came at that time when it’s hard to be an independent musician, especially financially. It’s hard to figure out how to sustain and to get that cosign from him really made me feel like I could do it. I needed somebody to give me the encouragement at that moment in my life and yeah, it’s been an important part of my life overall.

What qualities do you feel you need to have to be a great musician?

Oh, man, I think there’s a whole lot. In this weird moment that we’re in right now, record labels are changing what their operations are. Streaming is totally different to physical sales and everything, I think there’s a lot more opportunities to make a living and be an artist. One key thing I’ve taken away is everyone’s trying to climb this mountain. But it’s not necessarily like you’re all trying to find the same path. It used to be that you had to sign to a major label and get radio play and do it that way. Now, I think just being aware that there’s a million ways to earn a living and sustain yourself by writing songs is important, so I guess, I’d say you need to take the five mile view. I honestly think, having a pretty strategic mindset has helped me, not being afraid to plan things in advance, even if you have to change those plans. Rather than remaining stuck to the classic kind of artist viewpoint, which is maybe more about just sitting and making my music, you have to really remember, this is an entrepreneurial endeavour, like I am a business owner and my product that I’m selling, is songs that I create out of my heart. You can still be passionate about that, while at the same time, trying to exploit it to earn a living, you know?

So, kind of remembering that there is a split between the artist side and the business side, and remembering that at this stage in the game, you don’t necessarily have to have the big label help to do it. Being aware of that makes me feel more confident to work hard on the business side. So I think some of those qualities; being strategic, not being afraid to plan stuff out. The ultimate one for me this past year, what I’ve learnt through COVID, is that nobody on the planet cares as much as you do about trying to get your songs out. Try to keep that in mind. I used to work with a bunch of different producers and I still enjoy collaborating, but there are so many times when I’m waiting for someone to send me the mix back and it takes so long and I don’t even know when when they’re gonna finish this. So during the COVID year, I started releasing a bunch of songs that I’ve produced all myself and I always felt like I needed help to get there. But with all the resources that’s out there, and YouTube and everything, like you can be your own champion, and there’s a way to be a DIY musician and make a great living, access a bunch of people across the world and not need to wait on your friend for 10 days to send it back. Like you can finish the song yourself and overcome any obstacles. The DIY mindset has changed everything.

Johnny Stimson

What was the most significant change that’s happened to you over the last year?

I think probably the most lasting thing was my attitude shift about this DIY stuff. I was always happy to be an independent artist and happy when little opportunities came along, but always envisioning and thinking to myself “I can’t wait till maybe a big record label wants to sign me” or “I can’t wait until I can work with this producer etc”. Then this year during COVID, I didn’t have the opportunity to go work with my normal friends and collaborators and I just realised, I gained so much more knowledge in the studio than I thought I had before. It was a matter of me sitting down and doing it myself, so through this year, I’ve really learned that although I’m not a pro-producer, I can sit there for three weeks and get my stuff in the right place, I feel like that’s been a big change. I had one song called ‘Flower’ that I put out before the pandemic, that was the test song, my wife said, “Dude, that sounds good, you don’t need to send it to a professional mastering or mixing person, no one will be able to tell –  just put it out!” And I just tried it and it reminded me that if the substance is there, that’s what is important. I can always be working on the production to enhance it and make it better and this year, I had no choice but to do that all myself. It’s been wild because way more people are listening to my songs than before the pandemic and I’m super thankful that that’s happening. And it’s been happening in tandem with this kind of belief in myself, that I can make a song from start to finish by myself.

I do often think that the DIY approach to production can make you as an artist a little bit more accessible to the general listener. It can be perceived as much more raw, and people recognise that it’s coming more heart and soul than an overly polished and manufactured product. What do you think about that? _ COULD BE CUT?

I guess the realness and honesty in the songs comes through more that way. At the beginning of this pandemic I realised that my music was starting to chart in Korea, and it still is, which got me excited about opportunities of maybe playing across Asia, but then pandemic hit. I was so bummed out, because I was starting to get offers for bigger festivals and shows that I’d never gotten before. So, I decided I was gonna try to do some Instagram Lives and just see how that goes instead. At the beginning of the pandemic, I would have only a few people logging on and watching and it’s now grown a lot. But I started thinking about the rawness of production, because towards the beginning of those livestreams, I was thinking that I needed to have my microphones and get the reverb set up, so that sounds almost perfect and really cool. But it’s crazy, like, people don’t really want to see you doing that, they’d rather see me sing this into the air and see me have a few internet problems and it not sound too perfect. I think that reminds people that like, this is just a dude sitting in his little apartment playing his piano; he’s just a regular guy; like me. Which I think helps those songs to come to life and be received more a little bit more as intended.

What is your favorite song to perform?

Oh, I gotta say, I played this song ‘Honeymoon’, which I wrote for my wife when we got married. I surprised her at our wedding, for our first dance, so it’s always been a special one in my heart. But somehow that song got used in a video for a lady named Raisa. She’s really famous in Indonesia, she’s a singer and a movie star. She used it for her wedding video and after that it was like all over the radio in Indonesia for the past couple years. So the first time I really played that one live to an arena out in Jakarta, before that I’d never played in an arena before, and everyone sang the words with me. That was a moment I will never forget, because I’d never really heard people singing along like that when performing one of my songs before. I can’t really describe how cool that was.

Yeah, that must be really amazing. I was actually going to ask you about your international recognition, so now seems the perfect timing! I read that you broke the Shazam record in the UK for an unsigned artist, and then hit number 2 in in Indonesia for Honeymoon. Has it changed your creative process at all and broadened your worldview? Knowing that there are so many different people, backgrounds and cultures listening to you? How does that change your approach to writing?

I feel like I really have shifted. I’ve had to seek the balance of recognizing that maybe people have naturally picked up on and gravitated towards me because they like the sort of the place that I’m already coming and creating from. But also, you can see so much from just looking at Instagram, seeing where the people that follow me on Instagram are from. So looking through Spotify playlists that are big, like the viral charts in Indonesia versus Singapore and Korea versus the UK. You can clearly see that people have different tastes in different places. So I’ve tried to take note of what is poppin’ in different territories to at the very least keep that in mind when I’m writing. But I think it’s important to remember that staying ahead of the game is always good rather than chasing trend and just writing something from my heart feels good to me. I’m hopeful people will enjoy it, but I have definitely incorporated some of that into my writing, especially in Korea. Korea has a really specific taste and the audience there has naturally latched on to a couple more of my r&b, lean-back type of tracks. I’ve tried to write some more in that vein to allow people to, listen and engage with new songs. But what has really been able to sustain me as an artist and allowed me to, even have any bucks in the bank to go and to do a London show back in the day, was all down to advertising music. I’m a naturally happy and positive kind of songwriter, and I try to bring that joy through in my songs, but that has worked well for me in terms of getting placements. I’d always rather just write something from my heart that might fit well into that world rather than force it. I think I’m kind of applying that same lens to my international writing and particular my success in Asia, to take it take note of taste and what that audience like, and incorporate it, but remain true to myself.

Who would be the first person you’d want to see to perform when shows do start up again?

You know what? I’m really into this one artist called Still Woozy, it’s just such cool music. I’ve seen he doesn’t have a ton of touring history, so he doesn’t have many live videos up. I would love to see how he performs this because we don’t really make the same music, so I really want to see how he conveys that music in a live setting, I think that would be really cool. It also like Rex Orange County, I’d love to see him and of course, I would love to see Paul McCartney play, again, although I’ve seen him twice before but he’s always on the list!

Is there anything that you would change about the music industry from any of your experiences?

I had one experience where I got like quite a few competitive offers from the big labels. That was when Elton was really excited for me, it was heating up and people were making bigger offers and stuff. Then this commercial, for Bupa that had my track on, had just stopped airing on TV and the song like hadn’t even been released. We were working to get it released, like a few days later after this. So I was trying to hire a lawyer in time and trying to find somebody to help me negotiate, what these offers were, as I didn’t understand any of this stuff yet. But I feel like that that instance, it basically all crumbled, I didn’t sign with a major label and now I’m actually kind of grateful for that as I think I probably would have got shelved, but I felt really deflated at the time. Because I could tell that there was quite an ego game going on with the big industry players. They were all awesome to me, and super nice, but I could kind of tell that maybe these offers were competitive, because this label just wanted to beat this other one to it, and wanted me to be on the roster instead of somebody else getting it. That kind of experience made me want to take the industry a little more at arm’s length. I actually almost thought about quitting and just doing doing a different job because it was just such a discouragement to have everything in front of you and all the top level people are wanting to do something with you and then everybody saying that they don’t want to do any of this stuff they offered only like two days later. I kind of feel like that abrupt, reactive attitude is something I’d like to see change. Nowadays, everybody’s so into creating a proprietary, new data analysis system that helps you figure out what artists are bubbling up and who is going to succeed, and from my perspective, I think data is useful but I also think it’s kind of a crappy way to treat human beings that are making music from their soul and like putting their whole life into it. I’m sure that other people might not have had the same past experiences. I just wish there was a much more straightforward way to understand who and what the best deal for you truly is.

Johnny Stimson

For you, what comes first? Is it lyrics or is it the music that comes to you first, when you are songwriting?

Music always comes way more naturally for me. I think it’s maybe because of my Dad’s interest in explaining music to me as a kid. So I’ve always had an interest in training my ear, and understanding music theory. I can now hear, a song and just sit down and play it on the piano and that was like a lifelong goal for me. So, chords and melodies, really comes more naturally. I often just hum songs all day and sing into my voice memos on my phone. But one practice that’s like helped me become a better songwriter and something I’ve tried to improve upon is just thinking, how can I get these lyrics stick with people, if I’m aware that lyricism’s not my net. I didn’t ever view myself as a poet, without melody, I don’t know if this would mean something to people.

So around five years ago I started this little note on my phone, so anytime I think of a cool theme, for a song or something to write about, I’ll mark that down. If I think of a gripping title for something, I just write it down and I pretty much add like two or three or four things every single day. And the list is probably a million pages long now. What’s interesting is, it’s it’s shaped my process where I’m still very quick to sit at the piano and just start humming melodies but if I need a little inspiration, I can look at my list and that in turn will shape the melodies and the chords. Then I’ll pick like one word or one thematic element and decide, okay, I need to write a song. So with ‘Flower’ the whole goal was to communicate that a flower blooms but then it also shrivels and is gone quickly and often more quickly than you want it. So I used this new approach to the writing in a way where I had to ensure the theme runs throughout the track and single line in the song leads you to that conclusion. I think maybe that’s maybe a little more logistical and practical than some songwriters who can just bang it out and write these beautiful lyrics right off the bat, but it’s been a little bit more of a code for me to try to crack conveying the messages in my heart. So sometimes just sticking with one word to get me started, then building with these melodies, has been a really good tool. But that’s been a good place to start when I’m stuck.

Seb Whyte  13:28 

So when do you feel the most inspired to write?

Probably, a lot of times it’s after I see, an awesome show. I love live music, so much and so I would probably say that it is when I see an awesome live performance, and I see how stuff translates differently to an audience than it does like in your headphones, witnessing the visceral reaction. When I’m seeing the show, I’m paying attention to everything, I love watching the people on stage, but I also watch the audience to see like, what moments in the set hit, and which tracks do they sing along with. So, a lot of times as soon as I get home, I’m writing and playing the guitar quietly at my apartment, try not to wake up the neighbours like right after.

What has motivated or inspired you recently given that there hasn’t been any shows?

That’s an interesting question, because I honestly think that life has probably still inspired me. I haven’t been necessarily drawing from as much other musical influences, I am still listening to Spotify all the time, and trying to be aware of what’s coming out but like, the thematic elements and the music that I’m writing has seemed to come from a place that I imagine a lot of us have been in. This year was a little lonely and I’m at a stage of life where a lot of my friends are starting to have kids and buying their own houses and things like that, whereas I’m just doing a different thing. Which led to a self-realization that, I actually do feel a little alone in this at this moment. I have a lot of love in my life, my wife, my family, so I think my appreciation for some of those things that have been inspiring this music that I’ve been writing during this weird year, in this season of life. I guess it’s been a way for me to try to paint things into a positive perspective, not a false positive perspective, but to try to remind myself that like, that stuffs gonna be okay, that’s been like a lot of the inspiration. I think I might have a full on album by the end of this all, and I think that will be the kind of lyrical thematic through line; trying to find the hope at the end of a lonely season.

Do you have a passion outside of music that helps you express yourself as well?

Yeah, definitely, two things come to mind immediately. One is running, I got into running because I saw a picture of myself after show and thought; oh, man, I gained some pounds after college, if I’m trying to be an artist, I got to get in a little better shape. It then just transformed from just an exercise to becoming in better shape into a time where I listened to all my mixes, I got do a lot of my thinking, out on the road. Now, I just log like a ton of miles. What I love is that I can properly see and absorb wherever I’m traveling, seeing the new places by running all around the city.

The other major passion is drawing. When I was a kid I was so into drawing, I would do caricatures like the ones you see in major tourist spots like Six Flags, or Disney World or whatever. I used to do that before music was my thing, I did that at parties for people and I’ve always been into it. I kind of lost it for a while, where everything just became music, but during this pandemic, I got an iPad and I’ve been drawing nonstop. I started animating my own music videos and stuff and just losing myself in that world. It’s kind of reignited a passion for completely different art form that nobody’s judging me on, there’s no pressure to make anything that’s better than the last time; it’s just like sitting with a pencil and drawing. That’s been good for me, kind of cathartic in a way.

What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome, do you think?

I guess it would just be myself and thoughts. You’re always told when trying to be a musician, that it’s a dumb thing to do, it’s crazy to try to be a superstar, or something along those lines. I think people who do go for it are definitely likely to experience emotions and highs and lows, very acutely, but it also means that I’m able to be driven by that, because that maybe gives me a unique perspective to write about those highs and lows. So overcoming that, the down seasons and the discouragement of being told no so much. You can only reach out to promoters cold and get told no so many times before you feel deflated and doubt yourself so much tot he point of quitting and that voice in your own head is definitely, for me, the biggest critic and the biggest thing to overcome.

So when there’s times that, I think it’s all about learning to draw on those confidence boosters and those moments in your career, even in those like those short periods of my life, like taking what Elton talked to me about to my heart and not forgetting it has been really useful for overcoming the biggest challenge in my life which is the voice in my head saying; are you really good enough to do this? I do think everybody, even like the biggest superstars in the world and the best songwriters think that to themselves sometimes. So, that’s been a big hurdle for me, but I guess it’s not without a million other outside challenges too. But I think that’s truly the biggest one.

Is there any type of music that you can’t stand that you just can’t listen to?

Oh man, no I like it all really. Although, there’s definitely ones that I still don’t know enough about. It’s been interesting, I happened to watch the Biggie documentary the other day, and I just didn’t grow up listening to hip hop, and that era I just didn’t know much about it. I also watched a BeeGees documentary too and realised; wow, there are these pockets of music that I really just didn’t appreciate before.

Is this a big documentary state-side, Bellsaint also mentioned it when we spoke to her but I don’t think we’ve been lucky enough to get it in the UK yet.

I think it was on HBO, I really enjoyed it. Isn’t it weird to think about, that in that era people got sick of disco, and suddenly turned on it and thought they were too cool for it, and the ‘disco sucks’ movement happened. But like, hearing it back, some of that other music that people were listening to at that time was way less cool! It just reminds you that, trend is all this cycle, everything kind of builds on the last thing and even those guys like singing in falsetto that way really started something.

What’s the song of your lockdown, if you’re looking back to think of the past year what song will remind you of this?

I’ll say probably Still Woozy’s ‘Goodie Bag’, I know that’s like his big one but it’s been my song for a couple years now. Musically, it doesn’t even align with what I’m trying to do as an artist but I just can’t help but put it on and I start thinking about the chords and thinking about what’s going on within it.

But probably one that sticks out that I’ve written over this lockdown era, is one that not many people really cared about and it’s called ‘Rage’. I’ve said before that I mostly try to write positive leaning stuff, that’s what’s in my heart, but I had a particularly challenging situation with like a business thing. I got these emails that I couldn’t believe, and I thought I can’t believe this is happening to me right now. I was so mad that I had to go outside and run sprints, and I’m not usually like an angry person. But it was during that intensity of emotion I wrote this whole little thing in my head and I recorded it over the next day. It was very therapeutic for me to write like an angry song and channel that feeling into the music. But that saga lasted for about nine months and it was personally really, really difficult for me, I did not realize how much that kind of thing could weigh on me. So that song will be a good reminder that everything like that isn’t the end of the world and that will probably stick out in my mind 10 years.

That’s great, I love that therapeutic angle that writing music can bring.

Yeah, weirdly, I’ve been writing songs since I was like 12 and I kind of had never done it in that way. I’ve used it as a therapeutic way of expressing love and expressing the side feelings that are on the other side, on the good side. I had literally never dealt with a negative situation in my life through melodies and writing before and it was kind of revealing to me.

Would you would you do it again? Is that something you’d like to carry it forward into a future project?

Yeah, 100%. I enjoyed the exercise of writing something musically outside of my comfort zone, using heavier guitars, and like yelling into the microphone. I kind of think that’s maybe one thing that allows me to have sustained my career a little bit is that I’m trying to pick up on what people enjoy about my songs, and then adapt it. I do have a pretty deep knowledge of music theory and I could try to do a lot of different styles. It’s been hard to pinpoint, exactly who I am as an artist over the years, but maybe that’s what people like is that I keep you guessing a little bit and that’s kind of fun for me to just keep myself on my toes a bit.

Is there a style of music that you’d like to explore a bit more?

You know, I was debating if this is would maybe be my quarantine jam, but the whole Thelonious Monk ‘Solo Monk’ record has been crazy eye-opening to me. I have the vinyl and I love putting it on in the background, it’s just straight up him playing the piano and I’ve been playing a lot more piano than usual, because normally when in regular world, I’m traveling. So I’ve been playing along with some of those songs and starting to find that I’m understanding deeper jazz theory than I did even a year ago. But I’ve got to say, Thelonious Monk is still a lightyear past what I can understand, but that’s been inspiring to me and I want to know more about jazz. He has a real ear for jazz and how to turn that into something that sing along that you love to listen to, so I’m interested kind of to explore more on that front.

What is the most useless talent you have?

Oh, man, I can do a backflip where you know, like Jackie Chan, you run up the wall, and you can do a backflip off of it.

That was the thing like when I moved schools in seventh grade, I was the new kid and I thought I’m going to show people that I can do the backflip off the wall, thinking that the girls are gonna like this. It was actually pretty sad! Now, all my best friends from back in that era remind me of it. Saying they remember thinking “Who’s this new guy? He’s always doing that backflip, like get out of here, he’s just trying to get the girls”.

And finally, in your opinion, what is the best pop song ever written?

I would say, pop, has shifted over time so much. So not so much in the vein of like what pop music is now, but, to me, I think ‘Something’ by George Harrison is one of my personal favourite songs ever. I think it’s so accessible, the way that the chords lead into the next part, and the melody. I imagine even when the song had just come out and it was brand new to everybody, it leads you to the next place so easily that it’s instantly memorable and I think it’s in the essence of what is popular and accessible for the most people. That one will always hit home to me, I could have, Alzheimers and I feel like that could that melody will never leave my brain. It’s so cool and that’s what comes to mind right away.

Johnny Stimson