Since One Direction may be on hiatus for awhile, guess that leaves room for another group to take the reigns. Sure, there’s Emblem3 or Midnight Red but while you’re still thinking of who’s your favorite, hold your horses. Check out up and coming brother trio The Johnsons (Clayton, Chantry, and Connor) who just released their new track “Scream” via Billboard. Let’s be honest, family bands always do pretty well. *Cough* Jonas Brothers, Hanson, Echosmith. So why not give these guys a chance? They give you the perfect amount of swoon worthy lyrics plus a upbeat track to boot. We got a chance to interview the brothers about how they got together, touring with Hanson, and what they hope to accomplish!
The Young Folks: First off, how did you three get started and decide to start a trio with one another rather than branching out to different solo projects? Was music a big part of your family that was eventually passed down to you guys?
Clayton: Our father, being a theater major and active member in theater arts, had us performing and recording in the studio from as young as I can remember. Growing up in Modesto, CA we always loved music, but it wasn’t until i received a guitar on my 8th grade graduation that things really changed for us. Chantry and I began learning songs by ear off the radio, and with the 3 of us sharing one bedroom until I turned 15, we often jammed together to our favorite bands and artists with Connor on the drums. We all played in different bands in high school, and enjoyed our time being independent of each other, having our own group of friends and going to different schools. After high school, I joined a band called Stereo Skyline, and Chantry joined The Cab, both of us touring nationally and internationally with the likes of Maroon 5, Good Charlotte, LMFAO, Third Eye Blind and countless more. Connor, the youngest went to college in Chicago at Columbia university. A time came when both our bands were ending, and Connor just graduated from college. The stars aligned and we all ended up in L.A. where we began making and playing music again just like we did when we first learned our instruments.
TYF: Do you guys remember the first song and time you came together to create music? What was that like and how have you guys matured or progressed over the years?
Chantry: Clayton and I were working on individual projects, he with Sky Blu of LMFAO, and me as a solo artist. We made a couple tracks together for fun, and we enjoyed writing together for other artists. We were actively writing music often together, releasing a collaboration of the 2 of us. When the group began after Connor moved to L.A., the first song we wrote was our first single we released together, KICK IT. We grew up playing in bands, and writing songs. You learn a lot in that time,about yourself and the music. Lyrically, melodically, and especially for me in my production .
TYF: How do you decide on who’s singing what, what verse will be used, what instrument will be played, etc.? Do each of you have one specific role or does it all overlap?
Connor: The great thing about working with your brothers, is everyone knows each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We work together really well, and deciding on who-does-what is pretty simple for us. Often we will try different things and different people and decide where everyone fits best. None of us hold one specific role.
TYF: Since you grew up together and are now spending even more time with one another on tour or in the studio, what do you like to do to take a break from it all?
Chantry: Honestly, we are all good friends, and we hang out pretty often outside of music. We all love sports and being active, so flag football, camping, beach days are some of our faves.
TYF: You three remind me of Hanson with a mix of This Century and DNCE. Was this your intention from the get-go? To have this type of genre associated with your band or was it something that just naturally happened?
Clayton: Hey, that’s a compliment! I was blessed to tour with Hanson in Stereo Skyline, and I had all their records growing up. No lie, my younger sisters first word was MMMBop! We grew up in the PopPunk scene, first learning how to play Blink 182, Green Day, and Sum 41 songs, and singing Motown and pop songs before that. At the same time, we listened to a lot of hip hop, and specifically for me R & B, The Dream being one of my all time favorites to this day. Our sound which is a fusion of all our influences came organically, with nothing particular in mind for a ‘sound’. Part of the beginning creation process was finding that out through writing and playing together.
TYF: You’ve already been on out on the road but what is it like for you to get up on the stage and sing to either a crowd that knows you already or doesn’t know you at all? Do you remember what your first performance was like?
Connor: We have been performing so long now since we were just kids, we’ve played everything from sold out stadiums and empty coffee shops, to everything in between. We play the same no matter what, regardless of the amount of people. We genuinely enjoy playing, and always have.
TYF: Love your new song “Scream”! Can you tell us a bit about the story behind it as to what inspired it or when it came to fruition?
Chantry: Thank you! This was a song idea Clayton and I had began, and we brought it to Tony Fagensen of ALLIES and a founding member of EVE 6. We wrote this song with our live show in mind.
TYF: I also read that you’re currently shooting the music video for “Scream”. How’s that been and what can we expect to see?
Connor: Yea we just wrapped yesterday, had a great shoot with Power Ranger star Cameron Jebo and model Jess Adams. It’s been great having complete creative control over our music and visuals. This being our 4th video, we are able to explore more and create what we envision.
TYF: With “Calvin Kleins’”, “Juice” and “Scream”, is it safe to assume a potential EP is on the way? Or will that be coming later in the future?
Clayton: As of now there is no set plans for an EP. Our plan is to keep writing and releasing singles for now, however, we did just release a remix EP for Calvin Kleins, collaborating with some killer producers.. Expect another original release or 2 before the end of April.
TYF: For The Johnsons, what do you hope to accomplish as a trio?
The possibilities are endless. We are focusing right now on what’s most important to us, and that’s the music. You make great songs, and everything else will follow. There’s a lot we are looking forward to accomplishing and marking off our 13 year old selves bucket lists.