Inspired #0009 - Jamie Johnson
South East London’s Jamie Johnson provides us with intimate insights into his personal life with his new track ‘Precious’, a tale of a relationship that is slipping away. Jamie took a few moments to talk to us about Janis Joplin, and his home city of London.
Who are you top three musical inspirations and why?
I’ve recently been on a bit of a mad Janis Joplin binge after I was sent a video of her singing at Monterey Pop Festival. There's something so raw and human about both her voice and songwriting that really draws me in. She’s not someone I often hear people mention as a musical reference, but I think so many modern artists like Alabama Shakes and Kings of Leon incorporate aspects of her work into their music.
One of my favourite musical memories was seeing Ray Davies play at the Albert Hall a few years back. The Kinks have a song which is really special to me called “Celluloid Heroes” which always reminds me of my Dad, so seeing him play that whilst sitting next to my old man was a really nice moment. I’ve pretty much been trying to write a song as good as that one ever since…
Feist always has such a strong identity in her records; there’s often something quite rough and ready about the production which draws my focus towards the words and what she’s trying to say with the song.
There’s a song from her album The Reminder called ‘The Park’ which really connected with me. It’s about thinking you’ve seen the person you love but knowing that it’s impossible because they are halfway across the world. It’s such an honest and heartbreaking song and it’s definitely one that I find myself coming back to over and over again.
Is there a certain film that inspires you and why?
I recently went to see Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ at the Festival Hall. The music for the film was played by the Philharmonia Orchestra, and it was absolutely mind-blowing. I’m always amazed at the unique way Kubrick uses music in that film, including long intense passages of Ligeti to build tension and then suddenly shifting to something completely different like Strauss’ Danube Waltz, which completely changes the mood. The constantly changing musical kaleidoscope accompanied by long periods of silence makes the whole film feel a bit off-kilter and weird.
What city do you find the most inspiring and why?
It seems like the obvious choice but I love London. It’s such a brilliant melting pot of different cultures and there is always something amazing to see or do. I think living in a big city really taught me a lot about myself as the pace of life is so intense here, but there’s nowhere else I’d rather be writing and recording music.
Who is the most inspiring person to you and why?
I guess I find anyone who is able to successfully make a living out of creating/playing music inspiring as it can be such a tough thing to do.
How would you like to inspire people?
I would love to think that one day people will connect with my songs enough to think ‘I’ll give that a go’. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
eature by Ant Adams