Today’s Featured Artist – INTERVIEW – Johnny Stanec

Tell us about:

Your latest single you have released: 

My latest song is called ‘Feels Like I’m Fading Away’ and it was released on August 13th to all streaming platforms. It’s a mid-tempo rock tune with acoustic guitars, a mournful violin throughout and a memorable vocal hook. I think the lyrics are interesting and paint a vivid, but interperative, picture. A mix of styles; it feels very much like a single. It gives listeners a good idea of who I am and what I am doing musically.

Your first single and how you felt when it was released:

The first song I released as a single was a song called ‘A Sailor Far From Home’. It’s a fully realized song and one I will always play live. A lyric about open seas and letting go of expectations and not letting regret get to you. I loved it when I wrote it. The kind of song you write once. Full of movement and emotion. For me a highlight, even if others wouldn’t get anything from it.

Your favourite song that you have created that is an album track:

One that really comes to mind is a song called ‘The Old Arcade’. It’s a pretty recent tune and definitely a change of pace for me. I wrote it last year and I was thinking back to a night I was a little tipsy walking through an old hotel in Cleveland, OH and an area called ‘the Arcade’. It was late at night and I was alone. I could sort of feel the history of the place. In some strange way it reminds me of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, but sounds nothing like it. Maybe just that it has a strange, nostalgic sense permeating throughout it. A personal favorite of mine.

Your favourite song to play live:

‘The Future’s Promise & the Dying Breath’ is a song I wrote after my long-running band broke up. I was feeling reflective, and angry. So much work and little return. I still put all my anger and frustration into it when I do it live. In a weird way it is my single song version of ‘Blood on the Tracks’. 

Your most emotional track:

One of the first solo songs I wrote that made me think I had any business doing this was a song called ‘Fade to Black’. It sounded so different from what I was doing with a band. I did what I wanted and I pushed myself. It might not seem groundbreaking to someone else, but for me it was a personal accomplishment. I can barely get through the ending without my voice cracking with emotion.

The best lyric you have ever written:

That’s a tough one. I also have a hard time judging my own work. A line from a recent single comes to mind. The song is called ‘It Was Easy Now’, there is a middle section, and I sing: 
“I’m all alone with the weight of all these words. I’m on this earth and I can feel the way it turns. Where do we go when there’s no place left unknown? What will we find at the end of every line? No one knows.” 
I feel those lyrics carry some weight. When I hear them back it really summarizes all this time spent making music, trying to be heard. It matters to me.

Describe the feeling you get when you walk on stage to do a show:

I don’t get nervous, but I do get anxious, if that makes sense? The saying amongst me and my friends was “hurry up and wait”. Get to the show and then wait hours to play. And sometimes it’s just for 30 minutes. I do love it, though. I get it all out when I get to perform. 

The hardest track to play live:

They can all be a challenge. I do a lot of acoustic sets, so I am constantly compromising to play live. I do the songs stripped down acoustic, so they can all be difficult in their own way. A lot of the song is the layered production I do on record. So, if I am alone doing it live, then it is up to me to make it worth hearing.

Essential items you always take on tour with you?

Well, I need my guitar and my records to sell, obviously. Go minimalist, though. Less is more.

Describe your fans in three words:

Very few people.

A song by another artist or band you wish you had written:

‘This Is the One’ by Stone Roses. If I’m drinking, it gets played. I’ve shed a few tears in a few pints as I mouth the lyrics “I’d like to leave the country, for a month of Sundays. Burn the town where I was born”. A perfect musical moment, if there ever was one.

What we can look forward to from your band this year:

I have two new singles out now on all streaming formats. From here, maybe another single before the year ends. I have new songs being finished, and a new record next year for sure. Some live shows this fall. I like to stay active, and I am always writing new songs for the future.

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