In the gritty streets of North Everett, a musical machine by the name of Alex Johnston has been forging a path of his own. At the ripe age of 31, this folktronica luminary has etched their name into the stone of sonic history, with a career spanning seven years and counting.
A virtual portal where the muses of creativity collide. But it’s with the imminent release of his 11th studio album, “Daylight Fooldream,” that Alex Johnston truly ascends, and it’s a cosmic ascent worth chronicling.
This project, clocking in at 37 minutes of pure auditory revelation, is a tapestry woven from threads of deja vu, spun with the ethereal yarn of confusion and confidence. Shot entirely on an iPhone 14—a testament to modern DIY artistry—it’s a visual odyssey that stretches the boundaries of imagination.
The essence of “Daylight Fooldream” lies in a profound narrative—a journey that traverses the chasm between two realities, masterfully rendered by Alex. It’s a tale of inner conflict, of being pursued by one’s own fanciful thoughts, yet ultimately finding salvation in the crucible of clarity. The music beckons, pulling us into its dreamlike embrace, guiding us back to a place called home.
This auditory soothsayer is no mere musician; they’re a sonic shaman, a maestro of the abstract, and they’re unleashing their creative magic on 9.15.23. But the true revelation awaits on 9.23.23, when “Daylight Fooldream” unfurls its visual splendor at Narrative Coffee.
Prepare for an encounter that transcends the ordinary; lose yourself in the kaleidoscopic tapestry of Alex Johnston’s sound. It’s a musical pilgrimage into the unknown, a journey that will leave you longing for more.
Alex Johnston is an artist who will be known for his captivating video album that seamlessly merge music and storytelling through a cinematic lens. His work involves crafting visually stunning narratives that complement and enhance the emotional depth of his album. With a unique blend of musical talent and visual artistry, Alex Johnston creates a mesmerizing experience for his audience, where each track on his album comes to life through intricately designed music video or segments of his storytelling film. His ability to interweave the auditory and visual aspects of his artistry makes Alex Johnston a trailblazer in the realm of multimedia music experience, leaving a lasting impression on his listeners and viewers alike.
In the world of music, where creativity knows no bounds, I envision a remarkable approach to crafting a music video for an entire album. This endeavor transcends the conventional, inviting audiences to embark on an interactive journey of sound and visuals, a narrative woven delicately through every note and lyric.
The central theme for this ambitious project delves deep into the essence of the album, be it a story, a metaphor, or an abstract concept. It’s the thread that binds the songs together, providing coherence and meaning to the music.
Within this visionary world, he sculpted breathtaking virtual landscapes, each segment representing a unique song. From enchanted realms to enigmatic dreamscapes, every environment pulses with life and emotion.
“I don’t remember where I heard this from but songwriting is like waiting for a bus. The bus will come, you don’t quite know when or where but the only way to get on it is to show up at the bus stop”-unknown
The MusicManiac Finds Out
Q: Can you walk us through your songwriting process?
A: Some albums like “Death on the Ground” and “Colder Love” were inspired by seasons and written in a time crunch I imposed on myself. It involved focusing on an image, scene, or concept in my mind and just rolling with it musically, trying to emphasize the text through the chords, pacing, and melody.
My album “Little Impulses” was written on acoustic after pressing record and forcing myself to sing words that came to mind and that had a lot of vague, yet deeply intimate songs.
Other albums like “Spinning Jewel”, “No Room For Form”, and “Upspiral” were written during chapters of my life. Writing songs begins with lyrics a lot of the time which could be singing something in the car or at home or on a walk and extrapolating on that feeling. Then the melody and music come from the lyrics.
This album involved a massive document of lines that starting combining together and centered around this concept of jumping between your past and potential futures. As I scrolled through the document I look for patterns that form between entries and mash them together and then start seeing what music could be like. With this album I liked incorporating old lyrics into songs so the worlds collided.
With production I love to make a world that feels impossible with loads of layers and especially chopping things up, parts of the song or older songs of mine or random sounds related to the lyrics and splicing them around to create a world unique to the song and album. I feel like this brings out the imaginative and reflective side of my music and pulls people in. Everyone hears and discovers something different and that’s a bit like life and it’s fun and expressive for me to make music like this!
Q: What or who inspired you to pursue a career in music?
A: Picked up guitar in 7th grade and piano after high school. Since I started I’d record on the 8 track my dad got me one Christmas. It just felt natural to write songs. I was big into Pink Floyd and their conceptual work like Dark Side and The Wall as a visual album enchanted me and was infused into my artistic side, definitely inspiring this project.
I almost studied English in college and then in a random turn of doors opening I was offered a scholarship to study music and that’s where I met my then teacher, now mentor and friend Lacey Brown. I remember when I made my first EPs I was skeptical if I should release them. Lacey told me I should just release them and work on whatever’s next. She said I can always make more and grow and expand and to make as much music as I can. That has stuck with me and it’s wild to me to think that was only 7 years ago. So much life has happened and so many songs have been made and have yet to be made!
Q: What challenges have you faced as an emerging artist, and how have you overcome them?
A: The challenges I’ve faced have mainly been my own. I have not put a lot of work into the business side of promoting myself and gigging over the years and probably missed out on lots of good opportunities and connections so I am having to build that up now and it can feel discouraging having been making music for a while, knowing I have what it takes to put on a good show but feeling like a nobody.
But at the same time, I feel steady in myself as an artist regardless. I’ve released a lot of music from the cave of my bedroom that I am proud of. Most importantly I feel like I’ve grown a lot of love for ordinary joy of making music and producing it without the big gratification or busy work of playing lots of shows. But I’m looking to play a lot more!
Q: Do you have any dream collaborations with other artists?
A: I’d really love to connect with folks in the Seattle scene. I got to make a music video for Jul!et recently after she saw my video for my song Dizzy. It was really fun to craft a story and bring her vision to life. I would love to have more opportunities like that with Seattle artists in addition to leaving my atmospheric touch or even doing guest vocals in others’ music and having them.
Or even doing weird performance art type shows that are different than just 3 bands with 40 minute sets. I think there’s a lot happening in the Seattle scene right now that’s cool but I’ve always loved the idea of making shows more memorable than just doing our sets. I don’t quite know what that looks like but it’s an idea that’s been floating around in my head. But a long term big dream of mine is doing a soundtrack or landing a song on a tv show or a movie.
Q: Are there any upcoming projects, tours, or exciting plans you can share with your fans?
A: For those who didn’t catch my first premiere at Narrative in Everett, I’m excited about performing and premiering my visual album again at the Fremont Abbey on Sunday October 8th!
This album was recorded a lot at night so I had a lot of mellow vocals. Whatever I make next, I want to take my voice to the next level. I love singing songs like Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen at karaoke.
Whatever I do next I want to tap into more intensity and energy!
Q: So far what’s been your favorite show you have performed? Why?
A: One of the last shows I did involve removing layers of my outfits, playing keys, guitar, my synthesizer, painting while singing my last song while I set up a loop and walked off and exited the room while it played to end my set. There weren’t a lot of people in the room and it felt nice to be commuted to and immersed in the show regardless. but one of my musical role models was there and thought it was amazing and that honestly meant the world to me! And it was just so fun!
Q: What has been the most rewarding experience as a musician so far?
A: One of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had is being able to work and record with Damien Jurado. Damien is an amazing person, a brilliant artist, prolifically imaginative, wise, and kind. I’ve loved his music for a while for it’s conceptual nature and down to earth-ness. I never thought I’d get to work with an artist that has inspired me and have him support me in my music endeavors and even come to my shows. Getting to on his albums was a richly collaborative, joyful experience that made me appreciate and consider what matters making music in the long run.
But also being able to connect with people who I know genuinely resonate with my music. I even had a residency doing live ambient music at a yoga studio and that was really special. It’s an honor to create and share and I feel deeply grateful to share my music and myself with others and for whoever takes the time to dive into my world with me!