Johnny Craven interview
Written by Kevin Tanza on November 23, 2020
One of the things that I love about working in this medium is that you can always discover new artists, regardless of whether they are established or up coming stars. There’s always a new discovery out there and it makes the world of music very interesting all the time. Johnny Craven is a good example of that.
Hailing from both New York City in the US and Barcelona in Spain, Johnny Craven has the name of their brainchild and they are an interesting mix of electronica and Alternative Rock with gothic aesthetics. Quite the combination, backed with musical quality, which is the most important part.
Theυ recently released their first ever single, Bleed, and they are working on their 2021 debut album, Machine. I had the opportunity to talk with the man himself, Johnny, and discuss many different things about his career, his musical interests, his ambitions and even an insight of his perception of life. Quite an interesting fella, I have to say, so I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed doing it.
Thank you for being here, Johnny. It’s a pleasure to do this interview.
The pleasure is mine, thank you for having me.
How are things going for you in such a complicated year?
Well, I won’t deny that things can be more complicated now for the majority of the population, but I tend to construct my life with multiple affairs and projects, so to execute these projects and to make them happen used to be an adventure, a war against reality, we may say, so I’m a pretty adaptable guy, even in the worst scenarios, like in a planetary viral apocalypse (laughs) so you won’t see me victimize myself or complain about the current situation… Anyway I have to make it clear: it sucks, because all the interaction, shows and freedom have been canceled. We are citizens of V for Vendetta now, so maybe it’s better or more interesting than an ordinary life for some…
This year has been very productive for Johnny Craven the band indeed. We’ve focused on creating, recording… and on ourselves, to top it off the first “official” release Bleed has been published!
Has the pandemic impacted your projects in a serious manner?
I don’t know if we can say serious. Serious is a serious word…
Obviously this “thing” has consequences and it has influenced all of us, our reality, our brains… but the question, I think, will be how much it has influenced us and how much it will affect us in the future. This answer won’t be accurate until the “thing” will be under official or real control, and it’s too early to give a precise answer…
For those readers that might not be familiar with you and your work, what can you tell them about yourself?
I would invite them just to check -with an open mind- some of our work and see their response to it. I could sell, but if I’m honest, I think this project just needs more exposure, it speaks for itself… anyway if they pay attention and go a little deeper into our creations they´ll start to see, vibrate with it, or it may provoke something in themselves… maybe an interaction with their own feelings or psyche… you know, art is a question of perception… and everyone has their own perception based on their experiences, knowledge, etc., so, sometimes it may just need time, sometimes love at first fright happens.
How did you get into music when you were younger?
I started listening to Iron Maiden, Fear Factory, Metallica, The Cure in my teens… (a couple of friends, in the school, shared with me some Rock and Metal albums and other curious artists stuff…) then a lot, a fucking lot of music of various genres and currents… at 17 I lost my virginity -officially- and I started to play the guitar (laughs) I joined a curly-local-sinister-pseudo-black-metal-band… then my personal taste led me to other projects and more serious bands, and then my personal taste, once again, made me leave those projects and boost my own project…
It’s undeniable that we have Industrial influences such as Rob Zombie, Orgy, Marilyn Manson, Korn, Nine Inch Nails… but as I said before I used to listen to a lot of music, so the list could go on and on, from The Prodigy, Deftones, Gary Numan, Skinny Puppy to local, unknown Punk bands and Electronic artists…
And everything can really influence or provoke the creation of a song… but I’m glad because sometimes I catch myself influencing my own self… (laughs). Sometimes I find ideas I have written years ago or even lost recordings, demos or jams and I think: “Wow! I have to make a song with this shit!”
We usually make this question to musicians we bring here: Which albums do you think deserve more attention?
I can write you a list (laughs)… The industry can be cruel without good marketing, I really know that!
There’s a band called Pist On and they’ve got an album called Sell.Out. They have some Grunge melodies I really enjoyed… Gary Numan, for example, has albums like Exile that are not very popular, I like Midnight Juggernauts… and I can even name people that I bet you will not find even on YouTube! (laughs)
Focusing on your music now, you have a new single, Bleed. What can you tell us about this song?
This is a re-constructed track from our oldie demos. The original song was Scars Wide Open, when I finished the song I thought: “Oh fuck now all the assholes will say that I´m promoting suicide!” (laughs)
Not really… when I’m saying “I´m gonna make you bleed” it’s just a question of pushing to the action or sacrifice-concept… It’s like if I’m saying “I´m gonna make you sweat”… the song is a piece that can work alone but it has a purpose in the upcoming album, Machine: it’s the beginning, fits with the album’s cryptic narrative…
And it also has some concepts like: get bored of the routine and wish for some action, references or, partially hidden references to Christ, Space, witches, Left hand path concepts, transformation, catharsis, etc..
The musical production has been re-worked with the help of Charles Kallaghan -he will be our producer for the album Machine– and we´re happy with the final vibe…
We have added a lot of sonic layers and subliminal sub-compositions… psychophonies and orgasms as well… I think in almost every song of the album we’ve added one orgasm here or one moaning there…
The lyric came in a state of grace, from subconscious fields, I could say… then was ordered and arranged to fit with the whole concept and the musical structure… and I think it may look simpler than what it really is.
Can you walk us through your songwriting process?
It can be very different depending on my personal state, the ideas or what’s demanding the song per se… Sometimes, the process is painful, frustrating, forced and artificial. Sometimes it’s meticulous, mathematical, obsessive-compulsive, psychopathic… and sometimes it’s easy, fluid and fast. There are songs in the album written in 10 minutes -I’m not kidding- …and there are songs like Bleed that come from years ago…
Do you consider yourself a musician willing to experiment or someone that has a very defined sound?
I like to experiment a lot with sounds but for aesthetics, practical or stylistic purposes we usually give an accessible format to the songs. It’s important to consider the sound of the whole album as a solid, compact and balanced pill, and work on its egregore and its own world. To make this, it has to have some sonic sense and continuity… then there are the live performances… we can´t forget that!
But yeah, I’m a pretty open minded guy.
Obviously the pandemic has been quite hard on musicians, but what plans do you have to promote this single?
This 2020 we’ll focus on Bleed’s marketing, finish the LP Machine, and keep our brains stable… we’re building all the structure for what is coming… there’s a lot of work to do. In 2021 we’ll go with the music clips, the album release and depending on the situation a killer tour spreading our contagious essence.
Can we expect new music in the coming months?
Yesssss… probably some new song will be dropped as a preview…we’ll see…
Do you have any particular ambition as a musician? A specific goal that you want to achieve?
This is a hard question to answer… because I feel really divided, that doesn’t mean confused, like a Bhagavad Gita warrior, the war itself is the purpose, obviously I enjoy my victories and the conquering of new lands… but I prefer to go goal by goal, without any specific or major goal to achieve. There are no limits actually. If I had a final goal, when I achieve it the war will be over… but as I said, I feel divided in a certain way. I have this infinite predator’s hunger in one hand, and in the other hand nothing really matters, life is just a game, transitory and forgettable… So I keep myself fighting, hungry, passionate, motivated and violent, knowing that this is just a game, but when I play I play, and I play the best I can.
Thank you so much for doing this, Johnny. It’s been great. Any last words for our readers? Where can we follow you on social media and buy your music?
It’s been great to share this time with you.
Regarding the music… I would suggest streaming our music, until we release physical material, you can find us on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and for free! Just add it to your fucking favorite playlists and subscribe (laughs).
Enjoy yourself, we’ll see you on the road.