Hi John, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
John D. Norten: Hi Thanks for having me, I’ve been doing as well as I can while watching the world continue to spiral out of control.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “World On Fire”?
Yes the single is the title track off my new album, World on Fire. It was actually the last song I wrote for the album. I originally did the track for Mea Fisher, who wrote and recorded lyrics to a whole song to it for her album, called “I’m on Fire”. She ended up not liking what she wrote but I did. I felt like I needed 1 more up tempo electronic dance song to complete the puzzle for my Blue Eyed Christ album. She came over and we re wrote the chorus together to fit more of the theme of my album, then I rewrote the verses to make it a Blue Eyed Christ song. The final element was En Esch as the icing on top. It ends up being like an Industrial Choir with all 3 of us on the chorus.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
It wasn’t written about a particular event per say, but I knew when we switched it to “We’re on Fire” that was kind of the jumping off point of something sort of apocalyptic to fit in with the other themes on the album.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
The neiL kuLL videos are always unique. I’m usually not that involved in the initial offering, I like to give him the creative freedom for his interpretation. Sometimes we’ll work out the concept first, like let’s do a Video using all Groovie Mann art, or pictures we have from this Life Magazine from the 60s or something. This particular one he came up with the concept of using all of this old public domain found footage for the video to illustrate the meaning.
Why naming the album after this track in particular?
It just seemed to work really well. I was really struggling with the title. For the longest time I was calling it Human Resources, because the overall theme of the album is how people are used as pawns in these larger political and global games and finding out where you fit in and belong. The problem is, that title conveys the message but just doesn’t’ have any zing to it. It’s boring. It sounds like a department at a corporate job, not something exciting and with energy. After months of complaining about this to my inner circle, and trying various ideas, my friend Brad said, why don’t you just name it after a song, like “World on Fire”. I literally had a lightbulb moment and was able to finally see what was in front of me all along as a great album title.
How was the recording and writing process?
It was on and off for a couple years really. I can pinpoint that exact day I consider the real “start” of the album, because it was the last time I saw The Lords of Acid in Los Angeles, interestingly with Mea singing although I didn’t know her at the time. October 12, 2017. I remember because I had just recorded the vocals for “Stop the Show”. I’m always working on music but hadn’t really done much vocals for a couple years. I thought “this went well”, went to the LOA show, and that was the start of the Blue Eyed Christ album.
What have you learned from your experience working some major names in the industry?
That’s a good question. I think generally speaking it’s just made me a much better writer, producer, mixer, everything really. I’ve been fortunate enough to be in the rooms working directly with some of the biggest names in the Industry, Prince, The Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, Dr. Dre, many more. I’ve worked with many of the best, and not so great, producers, writers, and mixers. I learn from every one of them something, sometimes It’s, “oh that’s a really great way to do that, I wouldn’t have thought of ”, or “wow, that’s a really not so great way to do that”. Haha.
Do you tend to take a different approach when collaborating with someone else rather than working on your own?
Absolutely I do. I work on a lot of pop music for a living, that’s very client service oriented. I’m there to help the artists really see their vision. Blue Eyed Christ is my project, so It’s my chance to use my voice as an artist. I also try to incorporate a bit more of an experimental nature to Blue Eyed Christ, sort of a reaction to the nature of a lot of the pop I do for other people where it’s very traditionally Verse/Chorus/Bridge kind of structures. That said, I think I’m probably one of the more pop Industrial acts. I like hooks and choruses and things. An influence of my “day job” making records for others I’m sure.
How does our current time serve as a source of inspiration for the record?
I think this record is even more relevant than when I was writing it. It’s interesting the way the meaning of art can change over time as society changes. Like my song “Take it to the Streets” takes on even another layer of meaning post George Floyd, Riots, Looting, etc.
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics on this album?
This album was different then a lot of the previous recent Blue Eyed Christ albums that have become more introspective. This album is really a direct observation of what was going on in the world at that particular time.
Any plans to hit the road?
I think I’m one of the few artists that wasn’t that bummed out about not being able to tour because of the pandemic, because I really wasn’t planning on it at the moment. Blue Eyed Christ works best live as a full band, so the logistics of taking that on the road can be difficult unless there really is a good demand. I was figuring Trash Deity, my project with Groovie Mann, would tour this year so that’s’ been impacted. That is much simpler because we are a duo, we could get in my SUV with one crew and tour as a duo.
What else is happening next in Blue Eyed Christ’s world?
Besides promoting my album, I’m energized to work on more new music believe it or not. By the time I finish an album, the fun and creative parts are done long before the release. It’s a lot of dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s of the busy work of wrapping up all the final mix and production and mastering elements so the creativity starts to build up. Groovie Mann and I are working on the new Trash Deity album too. I usually get a nice creative burst shortly after I finish an album.