Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life are pleased to bring you an interview with solo musical artist, Johnny Stanec!
1. How did you get started as an artist?
I fronted a band for years called First In Space. We were a sort of powerpop rock and roll band. We put out five records, played a lot and then after 2017 called it a day. During one of our breaks I decided to record some unfinished songs and release them under my own name. That went better than I thought and I ended up doing a few more releases off and on over the next few years.
Once my band was actually done playing I focused solely on my own sound. In 2018 I put out a record called ‘The Future of Nothing’ and since then I have been working on attempting to make a name for myself. In 2020 I spent the entire year recording new songs since shows were not an option. At the end of last year I released my first record on vinyl called ‘Never Met A Stranger’ and ealier this year I put out two streaming collections. One is a “best of” of my older songs, all remixed and remastered. The second was a comprehensive mix of the songs I wrote during the shutdown, plus most of the songs from my vinyl record. I also recently released a new single called ‘It Was Easy Now’ and have another new song coming out August 13th called ‘Feels Like I’m Fading Away’.
2. How would you describe your sound?
I try to write songs I would want to listen to, so I tend to bounce around a little between genres. I would tell someone my music is a mix between Americana-inspired folk rock and the sounds of the mid-90s Britpop movement. There are acoustic tunes, full band rockers and mid-tempo songs. I try to cover all the bases of the types of songs I enjoy.
3. What bands/artists would you say have influenced your style of music?
I have so many influences from Elliott Smith to Oasis to Nirvana to obscure punk bands like One Man Army. While all those artists are very different, a common thread is there and it is that it is about the song. Great lyrics and melodies. No one is attempting to impress in any other way, just a great song with good production.
4. Has the rise of YouTube & music streaming helped or hindered you?
I still haven’t decided how I feel ultimately. One one hand streaming is easily accessible and far and away the new standard, but as a person who releases music in physical form, I would rather sell copies. If you manage to get on a good playlist your song can be heard by a lot more people, but the payout is notoriously small. At this point any exposure is good. I manage to still sell hard copies of my music, but not as much as I would if streaming didn’t exist. But I also have probably been heard by more people thanks to streaming, so it can be a good thing. If you make it about money it isn’t great. If you make it about exposure it is good. Depends on how you look at it.
5. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not making music?
Honestly, lately that seems to be my main focus. I spend a lot of my days writing, recording and working on future releases or promoting current ones. I do go for a run several times a week to help clear my head. I’ll typically do a 5K or so. It is a good stress reliever. Other than that, in the evening kill a few pints and relax. Once in a while take a trip somewhere to get away and recharge. Probably very much what everyone else does, I don’t have any hobbies. Music is my main focus, and hopefully some day, main source of income.
6. What are your future plans musically? Tours?
After this next single comes out I am going to finish up mixes for a new record that I am planning on releasing early next year. I have ten new songs finished and will just be doing the mixing and mastering and getting it prepped for release on vinyl and digital. Which is a lot of work.
I also have some fall shows coming up. No large scale tours, but some light traveling to help promote my recent releases which I wasn’t able to do last year. I hope to keep the momentum going and get the word out to a wider audience about what I’m doing. It’s always uphill, but I enjoy it!