How did you start out in music and what has your journey looked like up until this point?
A big question straight out of the gate! The Partae don’t mess around haha.
I have always been obsessed with music for as long as I can remember but I would say the pivotal point would be when my Mum took me to piano lessons at the age of 10, hoping that me learning piano would help me become more academic. Unfortunately for Mum (fortunately for me) it actually backfired and from that day I have focused all of my energy on some form of music.
6 years later, I picked up my first guitar and spent hours on end learning new songs and practicing kicks/riffs. From there I went on to play in bands, some stayed in the garage, some hit the stage and couple toured nationally and one even internationally. After finishing high school I went on to study Audio Engineering at University (while still touring in bands), this is around the time I grew to like electronic music (I used to think it was super simple and repetitive). Just like when I first discovered guitar, I found myself once again spending hours producing song after song, learning the ins and outs of my DAW, Synthesis and mixing and mastering. Fast forward to July/August in 2016 when I focused my own solo project for the first time after getting a great response from releasing ‘We Had It All’. And the rest is history.
Please give an example of your music creative process?
It is really difficult to say exactly how I begin as every song starts very differently in terms of composition and production. However I will always write the musical bed first then layer down the vocals, next I’ll mix the record down and after that I’ll send it off to mastering.
I don’t listen to other music when I’m composing as it blocks my creative flow. Finding a source of inspiration from a place of zen and nothingness is key for me to come up with a piece of art that is original and unique. However, comparing other records is essential when mixing down. You have to ensure that all elements are sitting in the right place on the frequency spectrum as well as the track holding its own against other tracks in the electronic music scene.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I’ve got about 5 projects at once (as usual), one of them is a brand new single which is almost complete, the others are a combination of new tracks and stripped back versions of current songs. There is a lot to look forward to in the future with releases now that I have begun my own label ‘Third Time Lucky’. I am completely unrestricted in the style of music I want to produce as well as how and when I want to release.
What is your gear setup?
So much gear… Possibly even too much. Some of favourite items are an American Les Paul Classic and an American Standard Telecaster for guitars a AKG C414 Mic and UA 610-LA Preamp and Compressor for my vocal recording chain.
I have also fallen in love with my Roland SPD-SX Drum pad as playing rhythms to a metronome has greatly improved my singing, guitar and piano playing. People that play melodic instruments can at times completely disregard rhythm. It is a crucial element of music that shouldn’t go neglected.
What do you like to do outside of music and does it affect your music?
I really enjoy boxing or some form of combat sports, it’s the only activity intense enough to take my mind completely off music. If you are thinking about anything other then the situation and position you are in you’ll most likely get hurt haha. It has been extremely beneficial for me and my music. Boxing gives me a chance to reset from the studio as well as keeping me healthy physically and mentally.
How would you describe your music genre?
The records I compose are basically an amalgamation of my music inspiration and experience in the hopes that I create an expression of my unique self, so I don’t really see my music as fitting into a specific genre – more like trying to create my own.
I draw inspiration for RnB, Pop, Rock, Electronic and Dance genres when producing and when people hear my tracks I usually get different people saying it sounds like different genres. Maybe one day there will be a “Johnny Third” genre on Spotify/iTunes haha.
Do you know any music theory?
Yep, heaps! Since playing instruments at a young age I’ve always been aware of the theory behind music. Knowing musical theory has been critical in developing my own sound. For instance, I always compose in modes rather than the usual Major and Minor scales as it allows me to keep sub frequencies in its optimal position in the spectrum, yet play in an area on the key board that suits my voice best.
What are your plans for the future?
World Domination including North Korea.
But seriously, I have a lot in the works. A remix for ‘Only I Could’ from Badrapper, a couple of collaborations with big artists, a ton of new singles and writing my debut EP. On top of that I am currently on an Australian/New Zealand tour with Californian future bass powerhouse, Jinco which will lead me in to my first run of international tours. Super exciting shit happening here!
What are you listening to at the moment?
Blackbear! He is amazing, the way he creates rap music full of catchy hooks is insane. I am also really into everything that KRANE and Ekali put out, its like timeless trap music that is filled with emotion.
Who are your top 5 influences and icons?
Dang! Only 5!?
Justin Timberlake and Panic! at the Disco influence me heavily in the vocal department.
The control and range are absolutely incredible and their tone is so unique to each of them.
Timbaland and Ryan Tedder for composition as they are so versatile in the music the write yet have their own distinct sound.
And of course Skrillex for sound design. I love how Skrillex’s synthesis is so grungy, yet can be completely poppy and timeless at the same time.
That would round out my top five influences at the moment. Keep in mind these influences will change depending on what mood I’m in haha.
Currently on tour supporting JINCO (USA) on the DREAM MACHINE TOUR
Wednesday 5 July – The Wall, Sydney
Friday 7 July – Proud Mary’s, Erina
Saturday 8 July – Summit, Perth
Wednesday 12 July – 1885, Auckland*
Friday 14 July – No Chill, Melbourne
*Johnny Third not performing