INTERVIEW WITH… FOLK SINGER-SONGWRITER JOHNNY ASHBY
British born folk-pop artist Johnny Ashby new EP “In Bloom” is out now! We chat about it below.
Johnny Ashby is the British born folk singer-songwriter now based in Los Angeles. He discovered his love of music as a child through personalized mixtapes from his father. Before moving to L.A. embarking on a solo career, Ashby played in a string of bands. His latest EP, “In Bloom“ shows is a folk-pop jaunt tinged with Americana. I chatted with Ashby about it, he creative process, and those mixtapes. Read on…
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Can we start by talking about the recording, creative, and writing process for the ‘In Bloom’ EP?
JOHNNY ASHBY: Sure! So my friends Seb, Fred, and Bill from the band Grizfolk and I wrote ‘Born Again’ shortly before lockdown. And then when lockdown hit we all became really creative. We were writing together every day over Zoom calls. We’d pretty much write every morning and then record every afternoon. Everything was done remotely, from home. We’d share notes with each other over email. The whole process was actually pretty quick. The songs were all born out of the events of the moment. It’s funny because everything happened so quickly I almost missed it during the process. It came together so organically and effortlessly. I find sometimes it’s difficult to decipher the lyrics when they’re being written. So it’s really special for me to be able to listen back to it now with a different set of ears. It’s a whole new perspective.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: How did you end up choosing ‘Born Again’ as the lead single from the EP? What’s the inspiration behind this song? It’s a great choice for a lead btw.
JOHNNY ASHBY: Thank you! ‘Born Again’ was the first song we wrote together so it felt natural. I don’t think it could’ve been anything else. These songs feel like a new introduction to my music too. In a way, it’s like I’m starting again. I feel like I’ve finally landed on this sound that I’ve been aiming for so long!
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What’s the backstory behind the album art? How did you choose the final image?
JOHNNY ASHBY: For the ‘Born Again’ single artwork I had this idea of overlaying another image that had some blurred movement in it. So there’s like this blue overly that almost looks like a ghost. For the ‘In Bloom’ artwork, we wanted to do something with a similar colour scheme using blues and yellows. We shot it at sunset up against a tinted window so it produced this really cool effect in the reflection.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: I read that you discovered your love of music through your father’s mixtapes. What’s one song from the mixtapes that has stuck with you over the years?
JOHNNY ASHBY: Yeah! I wrote a song about these long road trips we used to take together when I was a kid. I think that’s where I get my love for David Bowie from. We used to sing the cello line on Life On Mars, I love when that part comes in!
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: One of your early goals was to play The Troubadour in L.A. How do you feel now that you’ve accomplished that goal and played there multiple times?
JOHNNY ASHBY: Every time I’ve played that venue it’s always felt like the first time. I love it. The history in those walls is insane! There are few places I can think of with such a rich line up of acts that have played on a stage.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Switching gears… What’s one album you could listen to over and over from start to finish?
JOHNNY ASHBY: Oasis, ‘What’s The Story Morning Glory’. I used to have it on cassette. I think that’s why Noel has a big influence on my writing.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: If you could collaborate with any artist who would you pick and why?
JOHNNY ASHBY: David Bowie. I mean… he’s just a genius. Everything he did was groundbreaking. I still hear new things I’ve never noticed before on his records every time I listen. He reinvented himself so many times with every album. I think Coldplay do that now too, they’re a huge inspiration to me too.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: So I wanted to do a quick lightning round of this or that questions before we end so…
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: CD or Vinyl?
JOHNNY ASHBY: Vinyl! I like finding obscure things in record shops.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Twitter or Instagram?
JOHNNY ASHBY: Instagram. I like visual stuff.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Museum or movie theater?
JOHNNY ASHBY: Movie theatre!
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Morning Bird or Night Owl?
JOHNNY ASHBY: Night owl, 100%.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Podcast or Playlist?
JOHNNY ASHBY: Podcasts! I’m a huge fan of Dax Shepherd’s Armchair Expert and you can’t beat The Ricky Gervais Show!
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Pancakes or Waffles?
JOHNNY ASHBY: Mmm’ waffles…
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: To end, what is next on the horizon for you, Johnny? Thank you for your time! 🙂
JOHNNY ASHBY: I’m planning to release another single in November which I’m really excited about. And I’m currently working on finishing off a number of singles which I hope to release in 2021! Thank you for having me! Hope to see you on a stage sometime soon!
Stream “In Bloom“ out now
Johnny Ashby // Socials