August 8, 2009

Buffalo Band Profile: Bryan Johnson and Family

Bryan Johnson and Family - He Never Was, Gone and Lost IT, and Whirlwind
THANK YOU GOD, ALLAH, BUDDHA, VISHNU, AND JOE PESCI (its a George Carlin routine)! My prayers have been answered...I have finally found an indie band from Buffalo I can be proud of. I heard their stuff and immediately took a liking to their laid back folk vibe. The acoustic guitar mingles perfectly with the choral singing and their dreamy hazy cloud of sound. They sound a bit like Fleet Foxes if Fleet Foxes were fronted by Sufjan Stevens and Elliott Smith.

When did you start writing songs?

-When I was 15 and wanted to sound as much like dashboard confessional as possible lol.

How many people are in the band? And how long have you been together?

- There are currently four members Tracy Willis, Ky Kenzler, Alek, and myself. And we are looking for additions so if anyone's interested. Tracy has been singing with me since May of this year and Ky since June Alek is the newest addition with only three weeks under his belt.

What bands/musicians have made the biggest impression on your musical maturity as an artist?

-Lots of bands and too many musicians because I feel a constant need to listen to new and different music all the time. But my biggest influences come from Elliott Smith, Sufjan Stevens, and Animal Collective.

Where do you derive inspiration for new material?

-Pretty much anything that I may be doing personally or from movies I might watch. Sometimes my friends come over and we just start singing, what ever comes to mind. Being completely random insures that I don't sing about the same stuff over and over again.

Gone and Lost IT
has a very blugrass vibe, what is it about? And where were you when you wrote that song, what were you feeling?

-The lyrics really started out being nonsensical because I was in my car just singing out loud. There's a couple of meanings the song could have. But one of them is just coming to the realization that the world is bigger than you and what you might want. But the song isn't meant to be that preachy. You can tell by its upbeat nature that it wasn't. I needed some joy in my life.

is obviously about a person, what motivated you to right about this individual?

-Its not so much about an individual as it is about the feelings you have for one particular person. This is meant to reflect what one might say when they have found the one for them and words don't describe that very well so you just have to sing. That's why this song is so lyrically sparse and has an extended "WOOO" section.

He Never Was has a very different sound from your older material, what caused this shift in musical direction for you? Was it an album or musician you were listening to? A major life changing event?

-Its very different, um mostly because I was trying to shoot for a different feel in my songs. It started with a collection of five songs that just came together all at once. The first was "Do what you want". I found my old trumpet and wanted to try and play it again so I played two repeated notes over and over. The sound kinda just excited some creative spark and I wrote and recorded or rearranged songs. "He never was" was the product of having music but no lyrics. Tracy Willis, who I had invited to sing on some recordings, came over and we wrote the song's lyrics pretty quickly. That took too long to explain. HAH

You are an unsigned artist, has this been a major disadvantage? Or has it given you more artistic control over your music?

-Being unsigned has a big disadvantage because everything depends on what you do. Promotion, networking, booking, merchandise, and writing and recording everything on your own expense. Which is why I do a lot of the recordings on my personal computer in my bedroom. I have complete control over my sound and hope to always maintain that with whatever I do.


  1. hey,
    this is regarding the online magazine
    just wanted to let you know a position is gladly available for you if you'd like it,
    if you get a chance drop me a line so i can elabourate and give you more details.


    very nice post btw.

  2. Very insightful for a music blog. I like it!

  3. Wow, Buffalo's Got Talent! Do I smell a show? Lol

  4. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  5. Thanks! It really means a lot to know people are reading my blog!