Johnny Kills join the masses of bands right now with illogical names, they literally don’t have any band member called Johnny. Regardless, having given their new single I Feel Like the rarely seen 10/10 mark we had to have a chat with band leader Tim. Johnny Kills are due to release their debut EP later this year on Killing Moon Records an EP which is the culmination of 2 block releases of singles previously; solidifying their work in an EP will be a bold step to the bands future, a future we’re certain will be healthy!
Hi Tim, You recently released single I Feel Like, what do you feel like today?
I’m feeling relieved at this specific second – I’ve started a new job recently and they have a thing called ‘Bake Day’ where every Thursday someone has to bake for the other 48 people in the office and also do a 5 minute presentation to everyone on a subject of their choice the proceeding Monday, and this was my week. So, I’m relieved my extremely amateur baking (croissants = disaster) seemed to go down okay and looking forward to enjoying everyone else’s efforts for the rest of the year.
So you’re a trio who we’re led to believe from Facebook that you all play guitar and vocals, explain how this works in the studio and live?
So the three of us would probably all describe ourselves as primarily guitarists, but for Johnny Kills Lewis gets his groove on slapping the bass. Then we have a couple of really good pals that we get to play on drums for us on record and live who rotate a bit depending on their schedules and everything, but who are both very much part of the Johnny Kills family.
We described I Feel Like as “the sound of a bunch of indie punks trying to create nu-rave to actually mosh to”. What did you think of that statement and what were you actually trying to create with I Feel Like?
Tim on new single I Feel Like “We’re fully aware it’s a bit of a ridiculous song, but that’s kinda what we like to do.”
Yeah that’s really cool – much more eloquently put than we could do haha. Big fan of Klaxon’s debut album so will take Nu-Rave! I don’t think we were trying to go anywhere in particular really, we just let the song develop as it did. Originally I drafted the opening lead as more of a Wooze/1975’s “Love Me”/Prince style 80s sorta thing and it’s pretty far removed from that now. We describe it as death-disco as it has its heavy moments, but it’s also got a bit of a groove to it that we’ve not really explored before. We’re fully aware it’s a bit of a ridiculous song, but that’s kinda what we like to do. When we were recording the outro we were laughing at the ridiculous pumping 80s toms we’d added, but then we all unanimously agreed with our producer that they had to stay in. We don’t take ourselves too seriously and think that sometimes having a sense of humour with your music is important.
You have an EP coming this autumn on Killing Moon Records with I Feel Like being the first single; tell us everything you can about the EP? What can fans expect?
“We think [the EP] is going to be called ‘Panic’, as it’s all about that early 20s what-on-earth am I doing with my life feeling.”
So, there’s another 3 tracks to make 4 tracks in total, and we think it’s going to be called ‘Panic’, as it’s all about that early 20s what-on-earth am I doing with my life feeling, which a lot of people I know have been feeling a lot recently. There should be a couple more singles pretty soon too. All the songs are a little different, a couple go back a bit more to our surfy roots and then we’re debuting our first ever so slightly slower and more serious number, but it’s still coated in fuzz as that’s just what we do. Super excited to be releasing it with Killing Moon after releasing our last couple of singles with them too!
“[On the EP] we’re debuting our first ever so slightly slower and more serious number, but it’s still coated in fuzz as that’s just what we do.”
Your first 4 singles appear to have an artwork theme and the following two have an identical cover; what’s your reasoning behind your stylistic choices and what style will we see for your new EP?
For our first set of proper singles we wanted to match them with some really vivid artwork – saturated colours and silly subjects like dinosaurs and gorillas – to showcase that we wanted to be about fun as much as anything and showcase our sense of humour for what were quite a brash set of songs. The glitter jackets for the last two was just an idea we had that we thought would be cool and matched the ‘glam-rock’ vibe we were going for with those releases.
“The next set of artworks will be pretty similar to the ‘I Feel Like’ art – we like the different eras of our releases to have a distinct visual style that joins them together.”
The next set of artworks will be pretty similar to the ‘I Feel Like’ art – we like the different eras of our releases to have a distinct visual style that joins them together. A lot of people have told us they find the ‘I Feel Like’ art creepy which I think is quite fun – I guess the lack of eyes and mouth kind of suggests a not-fully-being-present vibe that comes with the early 20s panic themes and not totally understanding what you want to be.
After a string of 1 track releases over the past couple of years what was the decision-making process in making a full EP? How did signing to Killing Moon Records tie in with this?
We thought it was about time really aha. A lot of the work we’ve done previously we’ve put into groups in our head, as I mentioned when talking about art, but we wanted to be able to put forward something as a genuine collection of work that compliments each other and is meant to go together. We released the last couple of singles before ‘I Feel Like’ with Killing Moon, though we always knew that this was leading towards releasing an EP after
Your bases Brighton & London are both a plethora of musicians, what approach do you take to make yourselves stand out?
We don’t really take any specific approaches – I think it’s important that we don’t try to second guess anything, and just do our thing. So that just means writing as we naturally do, but to our best standard, making sure our live side is the best it can be, then trying to capture our personality with all the extra stuff like photos and art and socials. I think we’re all very laid back and jokey people that believe first and foremost that life should be fun, so hopefully that’s what stands out. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, even though we do care!
Can you sign off with a few upcoming bands you feel are worthy of fans checking out?
Would love to! Sports Team are already well on their way but are so much fun on record and live. Pizzagirl does mad 80s style bedroom-pop in Liverpool. Wasuremono have just released an album which is super addictive. And finally, someone who our producer Alex Greaves tipped us about, Working Men’s Club are really vibrant and exciting!
Words: James Wadsworth