Interview – Matthew Johnston

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By: Jenna Melanson

Matthew Johnston is a pop artist from Ontario, signed to 604 Records. He recently his single, Explosions in the Sky, as well as a video for the song. We were able to catch up with Matthew and ask him a few questions, so keep reading to find out more!

What made you decide to go solo after being in several bands in your early music career?

MJ: I actually started my musical career playing drums but have always been really attracted to melody and lyric.  I borrowed a friends guitar at a young age and taught myself how to play.  I spent a lot of 3am mornings writing down my thoughts and figuring out how to turn them into songs.  I think that passion is what led me down this road.

You have worked with Skate4Cancer in the past, what can you tell us about that experience? Will you be working with them again?

MJ: Rob Dyer is the founder and is an amazing individual and a good friend of mine.  Aside from touring the country playing with friends we were able to teach kids how to detect the early signs of cancer and most importantly great ways to prevent it. We did coast to coast twice and they were great learning experiences. I’m always down to support Rob and S4C in anyway I can!

You have recently been signed to 604 Records and will be releasing your debut full-length record, “The World Will Break Your Heart” this year, what can you tell us about this?

MJ: The World Will Break Your Heart is a collection of songs I am really proud of.  They are born out of a an idea I often explore.  How every day life can chip away at you if you let it.  I am currently finishing up an EP which will be released beforehand entitled There Will Be Miracles.

Your first single, “Explosions in the Sky” is an amazing song which has been described as “emotional and mature while maintaining a youthful exuberance”, how would  you explain the meaning behind the song?

MJ: Fireworks are fleeting sparks.  Punches of excitement that cannot sustain. Love is often paralleled to Fireworks which I find really interesting. Explosions is about slowing down life and finding the beauty in the subtleties and even in the mundane.

What do we have to look forward to on the upcoming LP?

MJ: I am going to change this question a bit and pretend you asked about the EP :) I think There Will Be Miracles feels hopeful. There is a lot of space. It is ambient and still very intentional.  I think it asks the listener to be patient and I hope they feel rewarded for it.

You have opened shows for some of Canada’s most successful bands/ artists, such as Hedley, Lights & Down With Webster, who else would you love to tour with?

MJ:  I think Coldplay can do no wrong so even being in the same room as them would be a dream.  I would just love to tour with bands I’m a fan of.  Foster the people, The 1975.  Opening for label mates Mariana’s Trench would be pretty fun too.

I see you are over 900 likes on facebook, do you find social networking is an important role in the music industry these days?

MJ: I was just talking about this with a friend.  As artists we make art and we try to share that art.  Social media can be a great way to tell people about what you’re doing.  To connect with people you might not have the chance to otherwise.

Canadian Beats is all about Canadian music, so who are your favourite Canadian bands/ artists?

MJ: When I first started drumming I wanted to be Jeremy Taggart so I have to shout out Our lady peace!  I grew up with SHAD and I’m fan of his work.  Aside from being an amazing artist he’s just such a rad dude. If you’re into Hip-Hop at all you need to check his stuff! Dave Vertesi has an AMAZING LP called Cardiography BUY IT!

Now for a quick segment of “WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE…”

What’s your favourite movie of all time?

MJ: I’m horrible at these “favourites:…They change all the time…I recently saw a movie called “About Time” that I highly recommend!

What has been your favourite concert you ever attended?

MJ: I went to show many shows growing up that shaped me as an artist.  With that said my girlfriend, at the time, took me to see Justin Timberlake during the Future Sex/Love Show tour and we were standing in the front row.  Amazing show!

Favourite dessert?

MJ: Gluten free apple crisp.

Favourite time of day?

MJ: LATE night (early morning)

Favourite song to do karaoke to?

MJ: I have only sang karaoke once.  It was in high school and I was forced to rap Fight For Your  Right by Beastie Boys.

Favourite meal to cook?

MJ: Peanut butter stir fry.  Sounds gross I know. Delicious!

Favourite instrument to play?

MJ: My first love. DRUMS!

And last but not least, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?

MJ: For those of you that have been here for the long haul…thank you for your patience! I hope it was worth the wait.

For those of you who are testing the waters.  Hold on…they get rough…

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