Band Intros - Part 2 - Jonny
Front and centre...
What instrument do you play and what made you want to play it?
Growing up, my dad always had an old acoustic laying around the house. I would pick it up and play it without any idea what I was doing. I also remember seeing guys like Billie-Joe Armstrong, Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl on MTV or Kerrang and having this burning desire to emulate what they were doing and the attitude with which they did it. My dad got me my first guitar and some lessons when I was around ten years old and it's something that's been a huge part of my life ever since.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
When I was first getting into music I remember watching those guys I've just mentioned on the music-television channels. Green Day, Nirvana and Foo Fighters were a mainstay and later on stuff like Queens Of The Stone Age, The Raconteurs and a few others I'd say are most notable in the music I write for the band. However, there was a lot of stuff, again thanks to my dad, that I heard in the car going to school or to wherever which definitely impacted me and set me into a groove in terms of the way I arrange stuff. Ocean Colour Scene, Free, Led Zeppelin, Cream and Nick Drake have a definite but probably more subtle impact. I still get influenced by new stuff all the time though, only a few months ago I discovered Neutral Milk Hotel and Gwenifer Raymond and they both put me in awe and inspire me to get more creative and try and think outside the box.
If you could support any band at any venue, who and where?
The Thermals at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre in Colorado. The Thermals are a relatively little-known band but deserve to be a household name for some of the stuff they've done, and that venue purely because it came to my attention recently and it looks incredible. It's built into the side of a mountain or something, some of the pictures of events and gigs there are mind-blowing. There are a lot more obvious combinations but as of right now I don't think there'd be another show I'd be more excited to play.
When you're not with the band, what do you spend your time doing?
I'm a huge football fan, I watch and play a lot. I love travelling, visiting new places both here and abroad but sometimes I'll just drive around for a few hours listening to podcasts or music. Also reading, watching films and spending time with those people whose company I enjoy.
Describe the perfect next five years for the band:
Gigging more, recording more, putting out as much music as possible and hopefully we're able to build on what we've achieved so far. Having more people enjoy our music and what we do to an extent where this could become a full-time job instead of a hobby is the dream, the ultimate goal. I'm also looking forward to seeing how our sound changes and evolves and what our music will actually be like in five years time.
What's your favourite track by the band so far?
'Taking For Granted', I'd say it's a marker for our new sort of era. If you listen to that track compared to the stuff we started out doing I think you can hear how far we've come in terms of maturity and composition, plus it's been brilliantly recorded and mixed by Andy. 'Oh, Misery' would be a close second, it's a song I've had since I was eighteen so to hear the rest of the guys help bring it to life ten years later and play it live is something both surreal and special to me. It fit in with the style of music we're making now so just worked on every level and made sense to put together as a group and see what we could do in terms of revamping and fleshing it out.
Why should people listen to Seas of Neptune?
Why not? They could be your favourite band but you just don't know it yet. I always think there could be music out there that I'd love and what a shame it would be if I never found it. I think people should listen to as much new music as possible whether they find it from a recommendation or an article or wherever. Discovering new music I end up loving is one of life's greatest pleasures.
Being a frontman for a band, have you ever got nervous before a gig? Any advice for others getting into the industry with pre-gig nerves?
For the first year or so of shows I always got nervous, I used to hate being later on the bill because I'd have to wait around and the knot in my stomach would tighten hour by hour. I could not relax beforehand, I'd be scared of forgetting the words or mucking up a solo or something, when you're the frontman then invariably most of the audience will be looking at you most of the time and it used to take me at least two or three songs in to feel comfortable. I'm not advocating alcohol as a go-to but a pre-gig beer used to help. These days after around five years I'm totally fine, apart from recently when we played our first one for a couple of years due to covid, but I think that's forgivable. Like with many things, repetition breeds confidence. I would say to anyone who might feel nervous just to keep going and most importantly back yourself. Believe in your ability and don't do anything whether singing or playing with any half measures, if you're in a band then you've got your mates around you and you're not alone. I remember a time my heart was pounding because I had to sing in front of my bandmates for the first time and now they can't shut me up.