INTERVIEW: Motel Paradise (AKA Barrett Johnson)

Hi Barrett, welcome to VENTS! How have you been? 

Thanks for having me, VENTS! Happy to be here. 

The first single from your new project Motel Paradise is called “Desert Island Living Room.” It’s available today! What was the inspiration behind this song (and new project)? 

Desert Island Living Room was written during a two-year illness, when I was going through my healing process. I was isolated from friends and family. I was unable to work, and had to crash at my friend’s art studio. We jokingly  started to call it Motel Paradise. I was already considering a name change, because my music isn’t me, it’s something I make. 

So for the song’s music video you filmed outside in various locations across Los Angeles – what made you want to go in this direction and did you have any second thoughts during pre-production for your safety? 

I drove through Los Angeles as a ghost town and wondered if it would ever look that way again. For a few days, I couldn’t shake a vision I kept having: Playing guitar in a bathrobe and slippers, in the empty streets. 

Second thoughts about my safety? Nope. My life would be boring if I didn’t take some swings. I asked my friends for something I thought was impossible, and they kept saying yes. 

How was the process making the video, did you run into any difficulties during filming?

(Laughs) Yeah, you could say that. The video was shot by a friend in the LAPD on his day off. We may have used a police car that wasn’t exactly sanctioned, so let’s just leave it at that. At one point, we had a police helicopter swoop down right by us, because we had a drone—probably in unauthorized airspace. 

How was the recording and writing process for the song? 

I was exploring the song when I was hanging out with my friend, Joey Simeone (the Bellfuries) last year. He had to go to work, and I wrote the song by the time he got back. The recording took place a couple weeks ago at Gold Pacific Studios with Producer John Hanson and co-producer/engineer Dan Ballard in one day. They’re both long-time friends and it’s been a blast working with them at Gold Pacific Studios. John Hanson is an amazing producer. He shapes songs. Dan is a gifted engineer and always has great ideas as well. We laugh a lot during the recording process. 

Does the new single mean we can expect more from Motel Paradise soon? 

Yes. I finished an album with John and Dan before my life turned into a circus. I’d like to release it this summer. I’ve also written many songs while healing the last couple years. 

What else is happening next in your world? 

I just launched my anti-motivational coaching program. If you’d like me to text you reasons to stay in bed, shoot me a message. Or don’t. You deserve a break. 

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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