We interviewed Johnny Foreigner ahead of their Halloween 2014 performance at !Arcade Empire.
DYD: So tell us a bit about Johnny Foreigner. How did you guys meet and what made you decide to make epic music together?
Johnny Foreigner: Um, the same boring story as every band really. Friends, played in other bands, haven’t got bored of this one yet. Me and Kelly met at college and I’d played with Jun before. Lewes started playing extra guitar with us in 2012, but he’s done all our artwork since 2007 so he was kinda in the band already. We don’t think that hard about why we do band but I’m pretty sure we couldn’t do anything else. It’s for sure a lifestyle decision more than a career choice.
DYD: How have people responded to your latest album, You Can Do Better? Any requests to hop onto the Warped Tour?
Johnny Foreigner: It’s been real good, yeh. A lot of happy reviews and high fives with everyone that worked on it. It feels like we levelled up in the eyes of the UK music media, for whatever that’s worth, but we’re definitely cool to make another so that’s kinda all that matters. Tbh I doubt we’ll ever get Warped Tour, too much DIY bit enough boyband. But we did sign with Lame-o, a Philly punk label with some of our favourite US bands right now, and they gave the record a full release. So I guess it’s still a dream worth having…
DYD: Can you give us a description of the colours, moods and some images that you associate with each of the tracks on You Can Do Better?
Johnny Foreigner: Ha, like a spreadsheet? Tbh this is the first album I felt like I spoke too much about the internal stuff and private emo junk that made up song content. Like, if I have to explain what emotions and situational resonance I’m shooting for then it’s pointless having the song in the first place. And I’m definitely better at writing songs than explaining myself. Making your own images, that’s kinda the theme of You Can Do Better.
DYD: This isn’t your first time in South Africa. What do you love most about this country and what new experiences are you looking forward to this time?
Johnny Foreigner: Oh man, everything. We come from a city with no sea or sun or sand or smiley people, touring here feels like a surreal dream more than a holiday. I’m sure we’ll end up doing done mind blowing touristy things but we’ve been here for 3 days and we’re pretty content hanging out with Ben and Anja.
DYD: Could you tell us about your experience working with Ben Rausch? We’re big fans of his work.
Johnny Foreigner: He’s an actual magician. Whatever intangible spark it is that powers this band, he’s the human embodiment of that. Safrican folks seem ahead of the curve with video manipulation ideas but Ben literally never stops. We’ve had tours where he sleeps every other night to get shit done. It’s been a pleasure to watch people’s jaws drop in so many countries. Also he’s the only person I know I can play FFGr Xwing with apart from Lewes.
DYD: What can we expect from your Halloween performance at !Arcade Empire in Pretoria?
Johnny Foreigner: Aha there’s either stuff I don’t wanna mention because it’s a surprise and stuff I don’t wanna mention because we haven’t sorted it yet (costumes). It’s going to be special I promise that much..