Musicians are undoubtedly influenced by the music they listen to. An artist's musical selection can sometimes even foretell what a next album might sound like. So if you've ever wondered what the artists who grace your stereo are getting funky to, here's your chance to find out. Every week, I'll ask traveling musicians or locals the fated question: What's playing in your CD player or tape deck right now?
Evan Johnson fell in love with music the moment he put his hands on a bass guitar. After learning the stand-up bass in a specialty arts middle school and playing in death metal bands while at Booker T. Washington High School, Johnson's passion for playing and writing music only grew.
Now a full-time professional musician rocking out with many bands around the city, including DOMA nominee CoLab, he says creativity is almost inevitable. Johnson loves to explore all types of different music and loves to play on a broad spectrum of sounds.
His latest endeavor is a rock band called Dead Flowers, which has deep Texas roots and great narrative lyrics. Given his role in Dead Flowers as well as in soul-infused funk group CoLab, it may sound strange that Johnson aspires to collaborate in a dance/electronic project next.
He can't help it, he just loves music. Like, all music.
We caught up with Evan at a recent late-night CoLab jam to find out what he's been jamming lately. His tastes are all over the place.
Currently jamming: My Morning Jacket, Jessica Lea Mayfield.
"I'm seriously addicted to finding new music. I spend a lot of my down time prowling music blogs for anything I haven't heard, so not much stays in rotation for long. I joined a new rock 'n' roll band a few months ago, so rock is definitely getting a little more attention of late. My Morning Jacket is a current fave for sure. I kind of always wrote them off as just another jam band but Jim James' songwriting is second to none. Miss Jessica Lea Mayfield is feeding the country music side for me. I'm also always listening to mid-'90s and modern hip-hop. Not the shit that rotates every half-hour on Top 40 radio, but people with something to say and quality production -- not just a loop that doesn't do anything interesting throughout a song. Sprinkle in a little synth here and there, and that about sums up my listening."
Inspired by: the musicians around him and the music that surrounds him.
"I started playing music when I was 14 and was immediately in love. It's the only thing I've known at this point besides coffee shops. And that's way less rewarding. I know that when I don't play music for any extended period, I'm really not pleasant to be around. It definitely centers me. The musicians I know and play with are probably the biggest inspirations to me. I have my favorite bands and idols and all that, but getting to work with the amazing people that I have has definitely been a blessing."
Where the two roads meet: his new rock project, Dead Flowers.
"Dead Flowers at times feels a little self-indulgent, but I love it. It's rock 'n' roll. It's Texas. It wears what it is on its sleeve and makes no apologies for anything. It's different from really anything I've ever done in that it's so straightforward. I've wanted a rock band for years now, so Dead Flowers is for sure feeding that [desire]. It lets me do something in a tradition that I love, and channel some powerful influences in a very authentic manner."