We thought we would mix things up a little and invite this months featured artist Rob Johnson to in2thelight's photographic studio. So this month we have an intimate video of Rob Johnson performing a new tune exclusively for Music Unbuttoned. We highly recommend you take some time out of your day to watch it, as usual just click the image above.
Rob walked into the studio and before he took his coat off he handed us a copy of his most recent album 'Throw The Sun Into The Sea'. I waisted no time in peeling the vacuum packaging away to gain access to this well presented CD. The entire album is a work of art with two booklets full of images to accompany each track.
"The title and concept for the album is 'Throw The Sun Into The Sea'. 'Throw The Sun' is one track and 'Into The Sea' another. I wanted to create a visual album so it comes with two booklets full of images to accompany each track, I have also made a video for each track which you can see on my website. I hope that making a visual album will help you to engage with each tune and maybe trigger emotions and feelings".
The more I speak with Rob about his album it becomes clear that he is a perfectionist insuring every detail is correct from the music right down to the packaging. With such attention to detail it makes me wonder how Rob would begin to create an album.
"Before I go to the studio I work out each song in Garage Band. I will then listen to the demos over and over again making tiny changes as I see fit. I then head to the studio to get it Recorded, Mixed & Mastered. Each album I have produced has been recorded at the Ranch in Southampton. Jeff Swan, co-founder of the Ranch is an old friend of mine".
For those of you who have not yet explored Robs music nor watched our exclusive video, may find it interesting to learn that Rob is an instrumentalist. The lack of lyrics makes me wonder if Rob has any difficulty finding gigs and more importantly how his music is received in lively pubs and clubs.
"A typical audience in a pub like to hear lyrics because it's what hooks them into a song. So it sometimes feels like I'm playing to a crowded room of people who aren't listening. However because my guitar playing is quite technical there are always people in the audience who really enjoy what I do. I am always looking at ways to improve the live show so whenever possible I will have my videos playing in the background to accompany my tunes".
Rob seems pretty un-fazed by performing in rowdy pubs but what is his favourite type of venue?
"I was playing a venue in Streatham (South London) called the White Lion, It's a very cool venue with a screen behind the stage. This is used to project a live image of the band/artist whilst they perform. However the bar is faraway from the stage which in turn means the audience stand far from the stage. This does make it hard to get the music across to the audience. So the short answer to your question is; I like any venue when the audience stand close to the stage".
Rob is a very positive person who is very enthusiastic about playing and promoting his music. Rob explained to us that his ambition is to be in a position that means he can make a living from his music and play music for people every day. We asked how he has been promoting himself?
"Since 2009 all my money and focus has gone into making my last two albums and trying to promote myself. This year I have taken a different tack, by using Twitter I follow guitarist who make their living from music. I can see what they are doing to keep themselves employed and hopefully pick up a few tips. I have ambition, I know where I want to be and each day I find new ways to try and get there".