Interview: A Boy Named John Discuss New EP
Posted: by The Editor
A Boy Named John is actually not a boy named John, but six people from New Jersey who just released an EP called This is Loss and It Will Pass. It’s a post-rock hit that reminds me of Armor For Sleep, but less dramatic. I got the chance to talk to bassist Nick Spillert and vocalist/guitarist brothers Christian and Paul Singh about the surviving lineup changes, staying alive in a competitive scene and the creative art direction for the album.
This is Loss is A Boy Named John’s first release longer than a single since 2016. I asked the band about the gap in releases, and Christian explained they, “had to make a lot of lineup changes, and for two years we just struggled to solidify a good group dynamic until we met our forever drummer: Brandon Martinez. The next two years were about discovering our current sound because before that, it had never felt complete enough to develop.” Paul agreed, saying, “The first two years were all about finding a drummer and cementing the lineup. It’s the hardest thing to find the right people, but I guess ‘insert Field of Dreams quote.”
I praised the album’s theme pairing well with the artwork for the project. Nick told me that he and photographer Alex Collins were “listening to the mixes just before the pandemic began and our friend was thinking about paper lanterns. We took a walk out to– I think it was Iron Forge Pond? We had to attach a sort of kite to the lantern and reel it in on the line to avoid any ripples. We went through 13 lanterns to get it, but it came out perfect. There’s almost no editing on the photo we used for the cover.”
Beyond the artwork, I’m also a big fan of the title, which provides a solemn anchor to the floating lantern. Christian told me the title is “the last lyrics to the song ‘Happy Forever.’ It defines the whole meaning of the EP. Sometimes, things have to get worse before they can get better. Everything comes in peaks and valleys.”
Christian and Paul discussed the evolution of their band’s sound on the new record with Christian starting, “We’re usually a very guitar focused band, so avoiding that crutch this time right from the beginning shows a lot of growth for us.” Paul added, “For this album, we took a very different approach to the style and writing technique. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to do a lot of non-live writing and recording sessions, so that mixed things up. Another thing we did was establish limits. I would say to our guitarists Josh [Lustig] and Jack [Lips,] ‘Okay, no chords in this section. Let’s see what happens because we know it will be different.’”
As I’ve said, the EP reminds me of early 2010’s post-rock, which I haven’t heard in a while. It’s refreshing during the current rise of indie and emo popularity that’s starting to choke the algorithm. I asked them how they adapted their music while maintaining their style. Nick replied, “Our influences have definitely expanded. Josh got really interested in electronic and pop stuff, so we were open to that and decided to bring samples and synth pads to the EP. A lot of Circa Survive and Foxing inspires us as well.” Paul mentioned that “the intro sound on the record is just me masking my guitar like Paul Silberman from The Antlers does to make it sound like a pad.”
Now that A Boy Named John have shored up their foundation, they’re stepping it up to bring a lot more music in the next year. Nick said they’re “looking to double our discography by next year, maybe have a remixed version of This is Loss, some singles or even another EP. We’ve got a lot of ideas.” Christian added that he and Paul have been writing a lot together, and Paul laughed, saying they “occasionally have been able to write a little together in Nick’s garage. He has this calendar on a fridge in there from the real estate office of Romilia Bajaj, who inspires me as we write.”
A Boy Named John’s new EP, This is Loss and It Will Pass, is a passionate piece of work with a lot of technical skill and rewarding experimentation seasoning the tracks. You can stream it here, and grab some really dope merch from the band if you dig it!
Luciano Ferrara | @LucianoRFerrara
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