INTERVIEW: Bo Johnson

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “FALLING”?  

Sure thing! “FALLING” is a new EP which will be released on November 21.

It consists of 4 songs; FALLING, Humming Waves, I Hear You Tonightand I Hear You Tonight (Instrumental).

They are very naked and true, every single word, note, chord… are from real life experience. And they present the sound, feel and emotions which lead up to the upcoming album – the complete story collection – which will be released on February 12 next year 2021, called “The Rise.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Yes indeed… We all get there at some point in life, where we feel like falling into an abyss.

It could for instance be that you have lost someone really close to you, or The closest one, and/or have had your heart broken. For me it was kind of both…

Most people can relate to this, and I hope that my new EP and upcoming album can provide some help, comfort and support to others. That’s the very beauty with music, and as Robert “Bob” Marley once said: “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain”, which is so true.  

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?  

Although the music video for the song FALLING has deep messages and meanings embedded, with strong and emotional scenes, it was a joy to take part behind the filming and making of it. Joy in terms of the beautiful, special place and surroundings it was shot in – on the east coast in the very south of Sweden – and because both the video director (Daniel Bengtsson) and the main actor (Lai Jagne) are good friends of mine and great persons. Since the young boy in the video, representing Lai when he was little, is Lai’s real son as well (Michel) it was even more special.

The main essence and spirit of the video is the feeling of being lost. Searching, endlessly, yet not really knowing exactly what you are searching for.. Hope? Answers? The one you have lost? Yourself? And you don’t know where to go.

It can mean a bit different for different people, everyone has his or her own battles to fight. And I know exactly what it means to me.

How was the recording and writing process?  

The writing of the song was, maybe needless to say, painful. Since it brings up all the situations, all the scenes and all the feelings behind the lyrics that hurt. But at the same time, it was a bit healing as well. Like getting some of it out of your system, letting it out to be able to let it go. I bet e.g. Marshall “Eminem” Mathers is getting much out from his system and mind when he writes his lyrics.

I almost always write both the music and lyrics to all my songs, FALLING being one exception. The music to FALLING is co-written by the very talented Donovan Jarvis.

And it was a real pleasure to have the great R&B singer and featuring artist Evan on the track too, he could lay the tones, expressions and everything exactly as I was after, making it complete and perfect.

What role does Sweden play in your music?  

I guess not so much, in terms of sound or “genre” or characteristic features such as mentioning places in Sweden in my songs or so.

I’m not a “typical Swede” as person at all either! Even though I was raised here.

If anything, I’d rather say more influence and motivation from other Swedish acts then, like the great Tim “Avicii” Bergling, Eric Prydz or the guys behind Swedish House Mafia. As well as trying to contribute and try to follow on the proud history of music export from Sweden.

Having archived major success with your collabs and solo work – do you feel any pressure when putting a new material together or rather the opposite?  

I would say both! I think most listeners have learnt to know my sound now, although new listeners will of course have to judge my music from an empty book.

I find it only motivating, should people higher their expectations continuously for my music! But the very biggest pressure, will always come from myself.

Do you tend to take a different approach when collaborating with someone else rather than working on your own?  

To some extent, yes for sure. When working entirely on my own, whether it is writing and recording or arranging and mixing, I almost always got the results finished in my head already. So, I just work towards that, and try to come as close as possible to that in my head.

When collaborating with others it’s a totally different process, where thoughts, ideas and drafts go back and forth to come to the results together. I’m very open minded when collaborating with others, and I always try to encourage and bring out the very best abilities, special skills and signums from the ones I collaborate with. Which of course often also differ very much from one to another! There are so many synergies that can arise, if you’re just willing to constantly learn and lift others.

You brought some different artists from different musical background – how did you use this in your advantage?  

Yes, I love that! Since I’m not fixed with any specific “genre” alone myself, and don’t want to be restrained by such limits either, I love to do a little blending. E.g. like bringing the soulful voice, tone and sound of R&B singer Evan together with the half acoustic half electronic house driven music in the song FALLING. It is that blend, that emotion being expressed in it together, that makes it special and contributes to stir up feelings of the listener.

Same as with I Hear You Tonight, in which I blend the sensitive and emotional grand piano with driven Pop/EDM beats and the powerful voice and singing by Country star Brandon Chase.

It all just makes the songs complete and to what is in my head. My sound…  

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?  

It is true stories only…

FALLING came to life many years ago after a dark period, where I lost several of my closest ones in a very short time and also got my heart broken. In fact, ironically, I had my heart really broken very recently again… So this was and still is hard for me personally. I was even about to have the whole release of this EP cancelled. But then again, if it can help, support and comfort others in any way, it’s worth it!

In Humming Waves I really wanted to express some hope, in this rollercoaster that life has to offer. Despite all challenges and tests, there can and should always be room and space to enjoy the ride! Which I try to express in this song. And no words needed, hence there are no lyrics. Only the soulful humming, to get away and get lost in the tune with the instruments and the pumping, progressive beat.

I Hear You Tonight literally came to me on a night a few years ago, when it was a blood moon. I was standing outside and looked up to the sky, the whole sky was black but the whole horizon was breathtakingly and intense red. I had never seen anything like it before. And then those notes on the piano came to me. I felt it strongly and I knew it was only there that night, if I had waited until the next day, it would probably have passed away.

So I rigged a quick setup by the piano in my living room and recorded a draft during that same night! And I’m glad I did, it became a really special song and I’m proud of it. The theme and the lyrics came to me together with the notes that same night as well…  

What else is happening next in Bo Johnson’s world?  

As always there’s a lot happening! I’m turning 40 next year 2021, and I’m still waiting for a not so turbulent year.. without chocks, accidents or things that change your life over a day or a night.

But as Frank Sinatra sang, “That’s Life”!

It’s a ride filled with different tests and lessons, and it’s just to follow along and do ones very best always.

I live very much for my son Oliver and my daughter Miranda, they mean everything to me and I always want to be there for them no matter what.

And I’m very excited, thankful and motivated for everything that is going on in my musical career now with the full length album “The Rise” coming up early next year (release February 12, 2021).

And I’m also working on some more special songs already that I can’t wait to share!

For the future, after the album……..

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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