Toronto-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Johann shows us that mental exhaustion is even more debilitating than physical lethargy in his latest single and music video, "Time Killer."
Johann's artistic creations stem from his drumming foundation and distinct vocal talent. Having spent a few summers living and working in Jasper, Alberta, Johann felt inspired to write songs about being away from home and his loved ones for his 2020 project, 'Johann, Demos.' Influenced by Toro y Moi, Tame Impala, and Beach House, Johann captures a unique sound with themes of honesty, solitude, and the loss of love.
As he continues making the most of 2022, Johann kickstarted the year with his latest single, "Time Killer," and an accompanying music video. Shot and directed by Ethan Mitchell, the song's music video sees a bloodied and tired Johann in a Muay Thai gym facing the heat of someone's fist. Towards the end, Johann realizes his mental exhaustion might be what's holding him back, inspired by the films of David Fincher (Fight Club) and Gaspar Noé (Lux Æterna).
Touching on the single itself, "Time Killer," that audio experience opens with nostalgic and clean-cut vocal harmonies that serenade us with clarity, emotion, and honesty. Listening to Johann's lyrics, he repeats the same four lines that ask someone to take away his pride and strip him of what's unnecessary while he recollects his thoughts about losing time with a loved one.
The drums don't kick in until the 40-second mark, which offers this organic mid-tempo arrangement with added piano and chiming effects to enhance the emotion. Once that wailing electric guitar kicks in, Johann carries us to the outro of this introspective and vulnerable listening experience.
Do yourself a favor and look at the bigger picture with Johann's latest single and music video for "Time Killer," available to watch on YouTube and stream on all digital platforms.
Welcome to BuzzMusic Johann. We admire the relatable and emotional theme you've brought with your recent single, "Time Killer." What inspired you to write about mental exhaustion surpassing the weight of physical exhaustion?
Like some of my other songs, I feel like Time Killer tackles the loss of love in a
relationship. In this case, it doesn't necessarily talk about a romantic one, though it
totally can. It's just a matter of how one can feel when you waste time (and therefore
energy) on someone else. For me, this mental and emotional exhaustion within a
relationship setting is more draining than anything physical.
Could you elaborate on your four-line lyrical content within "Time Killer" and what
messages you wanted to get across to your audience?
Funny enough, this is probably the first time I've ever started songwriting the
lyrics first. At the time, I was listening to "White Winter Hymnal" by Fleet Foxes a lot,
and that song has the same set of lines repeating in its entirety, so I got inspired to do
something similar. I guess repeating the lines in Time Killer is just a way to emphasize
how tired I am of the situation, more so for listeners to feel and share my exhaustion
instead of taking in what I say.
What was it like working alongside director Ethan Mitchell for the "Time Killer" music
video? How did he help make the overall process easier for you?
Ethan is one of my oldest and closest friends, and probably one of the most
talented. Time Killer was finally the project that seemed fit for the both of us to take on,
so we did. We love the same types of films and directors, so conceptualizing this whole
thing (with our producer, David Candelaria) was a lot of fun. During the shoot and
throughout post-production, that same sentiment was carried over, just a bunch of guys
geeking out over David Fincher and Gaspar Noé, attempting to get those inspirations
into a music video.
Would you say that vulnerable and intimate songs like "Time Killer" are a regular
occurrence for you? What do you hope listeners take away from such personal songs
To an extent, yes. Thematically and lyrically, these are the only types of songs
that I know how to write, for now at least. The only difference with Time Killer is that it
features a powerful guitar solo by Erin Espinosa, which is striking yet vulnerable at the
same time–mirroring what I sing and how I'm feeling. I hope listeners can find a safe
space to look inwards, acknowledge how they feel about things thoroughly, and
hopefully, have a group of loved ones to whom they can confide their truths. I'm lucky
and honored to have those people in my life, which definitely gives me the agency to
write songs like these.
What's next for you?
Time Killer is the first single off of the next project I'm releasing, hopefully
sometime before the summer. The guys and I plan to drop more videos and other
material beforehand. I'm excited to share the rest of the project with everyone.