Centro-matic's Will Johnson is a Study in Opposites

...just like the Texan president who fascinates him

The dissimilarity was the result of the two projects' differing recording processes.

"The South San Gabriel session was a lot more involved and calculated, for having all those people in it," Johnson says. "The greater part of the Centro-matic session took place over 10 days. It was very fast. The majority was written and recorded in the studio. We wanted it to be spontaneous and raw, and kind of hearken back to the kind of recordings we used to make."

Getting back to that raw sound was intended to set the Centro-matic disc apart from the South San Gabriel disc, although that's not to say there wasn't room for serendipity in South San Gabriel.

Will Johnson (left) and Centro-matic are very touchy in the studio.
Will Johnson (left) and Centro-matic are very touchy in the studio.

"A lot of it is actually decided right there in the moment, which is a lot of fun," Johnson says. "That's part of what South San Gabriel is really about. Someone happens to be available in town that day, and by that night they're in front of a microphone laying down a track."

Speaking of laying down tracks, Johnson is looking at houses in Taylor and Smithville in Central Texas, hoping to find a place where he can build a modest home studio for his art work and his home recording. As much as he loves challenges and changes of scenery, though, he has his routines: Johnson calls North Texas "a great, great place to record," and has no plans to discontinue his tradition of recording at The Echo Lab studio in Argyle.

Likewise, for the foreseeable future, he plans on staying near Austin, close to his parents—and the LBJ Ranch.

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