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      Have Beard Will Travel

      Have Beard Will Travel

      If you don’t know who Ethan Johns is then you will certainly know the people he has worked with as a producer and musician. A wide range of artists – including Ryan Adams, Kings of Leon, Tom Jones – have enlisted the help of Johns to produce credible and good sounding music. After years working with other people he has finally got round to recording some of his own music and take out out on the road. LowDown caught up with him at the Capstone Theatre.


      YOU TRULY HAVE HAD A LIFE OF MUSIC. DID YOU EVER CONSIDER DOING SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT?
      I thought about photography for a while. And film making too, but I never had time because I was always making music.


      YOU STARTED WORKING WITH YOUR FATHER (LEGENDARY PRODUCER GLYN JOHNS) AT AN EARLY AGE. WAS IT SOMETHING YOU WANTED TO DO AND HOW DID IT HELP YOU?

      I was spending so much time hanging out on sessions when I was younger just because I was so into it. I think it became obvious I’d better be given tasks if I was going to be around so much. I loved it. I couldn’t get enough. I learned so much In those days. It really was the foundation on which I’ve built everything.


      YOU ARE AN ACCOMPLISHED MULTI INSTRUMENTALIST. DID YOU CONSIDER RECORDING EVERYTHING ON THE ALBUM YOURSELF AND WHAT WOULD YOU SAY WAS YOUR PRIMARY INSTRUMENT?

      I didn’t want play everything. I wanted to play the songs with my friends. It meant I could just focus on the songs and singing them as directly as I could. I’d say my first instrument is drums


      YOU HAVE BEEN CARRYING SOME OF THE SONGS ON THE ALBUM AROUND FOR A WHILE. WHAT DID IT FEEL LIKE TO FINALLY PUT THEM DOWN ONTO A RECORD?

      It was great. I can put them down now and watch them grow.


      HOW DIFFERENT IS IT SWITCHING FROM PRODUCER TO PERFORMER AND VICE VERSA?
      I can’t really see much of a difference. Only that the songs are mine and so are a more direct personal statement. I’m so invested in everything I do . Everything gets the same care and attention.


      YOU RECENTLY DID A LOW KEY TOUR OF RECORD SHOPS AROUND THE UK. HOW DID IT COME ABOUT AND HOW IMPORTANT ARE THESE PLACES?
      They are important to me. I love shopping for records. I don’t like much of the music in the top 40 so these are the only places I can find an alternative to that.


      IS TECHNOLOGY GETTING IN THE WAY OF GOOD MUSIC?
      You can’t blame the technology. Blame the people using it.


      YOU HAVE BEEN QUOTED AS SAYING ALL MUSIC IS SPIRITUAL. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU?
      I can’t really expand on that. It just is.


      HOW IMPORTANT IS A GOOD BEARD IN MUSIC?
      A good beard is hard to find in music. It can filter out a lot of bullshit.

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