Toronto-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Johann takes us through the rocky roads of a relationship with his debut 5-track EP, 'Becoming Routine.'
One can easily recognize Johann's sound through his familiar vocal harmonies and unique drum arrangements. Inspired by acts like Toro y Moi, Tame Impala, and Beach House, Johann has quickly developed a unique approach to songwriting and production. He's showcased this in singles like "Time Killer" and, more recently, his debut EP, 'Becoming Routine.'
The project is inspired by 90s alternative rock acts like Weezer, Incubus, and Jeff Buckley. It sees Johann romanticize love affairs while acknowledging the obsession of a relationship's detriment more than the act of love itself.
This dynamic EP opens with the 1-minute vocal serenade and title track, "Becoming Routine." As we pop into what sounds like a cassette player, nostalgic and slightly filtered vocals pour through our speakers that sing of entering a new relationship. As the tender harmonies shift into a clearer tone, they expand on how someone is becoming their routine. Johann's optimistic approach opens the project on a cheerful yet slightly naive note.
Moving into track number two, "Feels Like (Babe You're All I Know)," we can already tell where this track is heading based on the title. As Johann's bright vocals and upbeat alternative rock instrumentals leap through our speakers, he expands on trying to forget someone after attempting to please them day in and out. We love the 90s rock vibes like buzzy guitar plug-ins and scratchy amplifiers. Johann's confusion about this relationship leads us forward.
In track three, "Montréal," Johann slows things down a bit and perhaps enters the EP's grooviest track. The mid-tempo and poised drums float through the verse as Johann's gentle harmonies and tender keys set an incredible vibe. We can feel some pain and turmoil in Johann's vocals, representing how the relationship might be taking a turn for the worst. Although Johann sings a very emotional message, we can't help but bop our heads to these glimmering alternative instrumentals.
Reaching the fourth track, "Time Killer (feat. Erin Espinosa)," we relish in the soothing and nostalgic pop harmonies Johann melts through our speakers. We've featured this track before, and we're so happy it made the cut for the project. It definitely represents a relationship's lowest point, a cathartic moment that feels like pleading to the heavens for some sort of sign. Those scenes are perfectly reflected in the wailing electric guitars, tight drum breaks, and chilling harmonies.
Landing on the EP's final track, "Surrendering Sunday," this song brings us into a place of acceptance and realizing that some people aren't cut out for each other. The song's first half serenades us with a warm acoustic guitar and Johann's reflective lyrics that paint scenes of realization and optimism. Before we know it, the song's second half-smokes our speakers with an exhilarating rock instrumental that carries us to the buzzy amplifiers on the project's end.
We genuinely appreciate such an honest, cohesive, and conceptual project like Johann's debut 5-track EP, 'Becoming Routine.' Allow him to help you escape those difficult times with these wildly relatable tunes, now available on all digital streaming platforms.
Welcome back to BuzzMusic, Johann. We are so impressed with the cohesive nature and concept of your debut EP, 'Becoming Routine.' When did you start feeling inspired to create this project?
Thank you so much! Immediately after I dropped my demo tape back in 2020, I continued writing more songs. So I guess I'd say that the inspiration to create this project never really left me; the focus for this was to hone in a more cohesive sound.
Why did you want to create a storyline within the songs on 'Becoming Routine?' Did that help get your message across clearer?
In hindsight, I don't necessarily think I'm addressing anything specific on "Becoming Routine," even though there's a narrative. To be honest, I'm really just documenting myself and my time within past relationships here. I guess what's cool about this EP is that it's super relatable; everyone (or at least everyone I know personally) has gone through these same stages/feelings that one can experience when enamored with someone.
Why did you choose to release "Time Killer" as the EP's lead single? Do you feel this track was a solid representation of what to expect in the 'Becoming Routine' EP?
For sure! I definitely feel that "Time Killer" set the tone/pace for the rest of the project. It was the first song I wrote (to completion) for "Becoming Routine." As soon as Erin sent me her guitar part for the track, I thought, "damn... this EP is definitely gonna be a guitar-based EP then." And I'm so happy that it turned out this way.
What was the most challenging part about creating 'Becoming Routine?' Did you have any emotional or personal obstacles in the way?
The most challenging thing(s) about making this one was definitely on the production side of things. I pretty much produced and mixed this project by myself. However, I had some musician/producer friends guide me along the way (much love to Aleks Liskauskas, Alex Sadowski, and Miguel "PARALLELL" Pulido for all the help). Sitting with and listening to these songs for an extended amount of time can get to you, not only with the tedious production stuff but also just taking in how you felt when you wrote those songs initially. I wouldn't say that there were any emotional or personal obstacles while making "Becoming Routine." However, for me, writing songs is always a reflective thing, for better or worse. Also, adding producing and mixing to the workload furthermore enhances the past sentiments/nostalgia that the songs bring to me.
Did you create 'Becoming Routine' in hopes that listeners could relate to your experiences? What impact did you want the project to have?
I think that's what all artists aim for, intentionally or otherwise. In my case, I'm sure my experiences with love and relationships aren't exclusive to me, no matter how personal/specific certain things can be. And I think that's what listeners can take away from this project. I'm confident that there are a thousand other Johanns out there, writing songs about heartbreak and self-reflection. And all the more, this is why I'm able to do what I do musically/creatively.