Interview: Faithful Johannes | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Faithful Johannes is one of the gems of the North-East music scene. A friendly, creative human being who is writing interesting and unique music and presenting it in an engaging and avant-garde manner. The synthtastic ‘barely rap’ performer from Durham has been winning over crowds around the region, as well as being raved about on national radio, so it’s only right that his artistic excellence has been rewarded with a place on the BBC Introducing stage at Hardwick Live on Sunday 18th August. We had a brief bit of chit-chat with him ahead of this very special performance.

Where did the name Faithful Johannes come from?
It’s from a Brothers Grimm fairy tale involving warnings from ravens and being turned to stone for doing the right thing.  I’ve used it as anom de plume for a few years, since I starting doing this sort of thing in my old combo Outside Your House.  My real name is just a bit dull and my musical persona is at least 51% fictional anyway, so it made sense to hide behind something.

What do you sound like?
Deep basslines contrasting with high-pitched stuff that sounds like frying sausages (and sometimes is), with me half rapping, half talking, one quarter singing in the middle of it.  Pop songs with hidden choruses. Recent review by a four year old – ‘weird stuff’.

What is your music about?
 The words are increasingly stories.  Some fantastical. Some autobiographical.  Former bank-robbers still at large, cleaning out your attic and falling into the resulting nostalgic vortex, your husband cutting the cables on your parachute.  That sort of thing. All with heart.

Who are your biggest creative influences?
 Amongst others… US indie-rappers like Open Mike Eagle and Serengeti.  The poems of Caroline Bird. In terms of live performance, a recent show by Ceschi at the Stockton Green Room was a revelation.  It’s made me rethink everything, take more risks, up the intensity.

What are your highlights of this year’s Hardwick Live?
 Everyone should catch Nel Unlit on the Saturday and keep their fingers crossed for the two drummer line up.  I’m looking forward to finally catching James on the Sunday after wearing their cassettes out as an adolescent.

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