John Michael Young Interview
Updated: Oct 28, 2019
Today marks the release of JMY's latest single "Do You Really Want It?" You may recognize John Michael Young as one of the founding members of Lunar Vacation. In August of 2019 JMY parted ways with the band to pursue his solo project. We had the opportunity to him about his upcoming EP. Check it out!
1. What have you been listening to lately?
Camp Howard, Sam Cohen, Alex G, and DIIV
2. What are you most excited about right now?
My single dropping Oct. 25 and all the songs I’m currently working on!
3. If we started a duo, what would we be called?
4. When was the last time you cried?
My brother’s wedding!
5. What was the first concert you ever attended?
6. If you ever meet Ray Romano, can you tell him that I love him?
Yes, to which he will reply, “I love him too!”
7. What band do you think you could beat up in a fist fight?
8. If I download tik tok, will my family abandon me?
Probably… it’s the only reason I don’t have one
9. I forgot to grab a straw for my drink at McDonalds … Am I a vsco girl?
Isn’t Starbucks more trendy??
10. Any bands that we should check out?
Camp Howard, Dinner Time, and Lowertown
Born Lose Magazine: To start things off, can you introduce yourself?
John Michael Young: Hi! I’m John Michael and I am 21 years old. I grew up north of Atlanta in Sandy Springs and I have 4 brothers. I have been playing music for 12 years.
BL: I had the opportunity to interview your previous band, Lunar Vacation, back in Feb of 2018. What have you been up to since then?
JMY: LV has gone to many places since then, touring with Calpurnia, SALES, and headlining their own tour July 2019. With that band, I got to travel to the west coast for the first time and I have been to Texas I think 4 times this year. Most recently I played my final show with them, selling out Terminal West, a 650 cap venue in Atlanta, all on my 21st birthday.
BL: Talk to us about your solo project, and how it came about.
JMY: After much contemplation, I decided the best way to accomplish what I wanted musically was break off from LV and pursue my solo project. I’ve had a plethora of unfinished songs/demos since high school, and I began taking the ones I liked the most and working on them for my first EP (in progress). Most of the material so far has actually been from late 2018-present
BL: Your single “Do You Really Want It?” comes out Oct. 25th, are you excited about that?
JMY: I am super excited! It’s a song I began in June, and wasn’t able to work on for most of July because of touring. I finished tracking it probably early September and did 3 sessions mixing it with Damon Moon of Standard Electric Recorders Co.
BL:You write, record, and perform all of your music. Do you have a favorite part of the entire musical process?
JMY: One of my newly found favorite parts of writing has been the vocal melodies. I helped out a bit on LV vocal melodies but never wrote anything completely on my own. I get really excited in the studio when I layer harmonies and make the voices sound like a synthesizer.
BL: What has the transition of going from a band to a solo artist been like?
JMY: It’s been pretty smooth and very productive. I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made and I think the EP is coming along nicely and shaping up to be something special. One of the more difficult parts was putting my live band together. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have some very talented friends of mine join me or my first show coming up, but after that I am going to have to find new mates as some of my current members can only commit to this one show.
BL: Talk to us about your upcoming EP.
JMY: I am aiming for 6-7 songs, or more if I go crazy and crank out the tunes. Right now I have a good number of songs written and 80% recorded. What primarily remains is writing/recording the vocals and recording live drums. After “Do You Really Want It?” I’ve done the drums at Standard Electric for the other songs, and I’m really happy with the way they’ve been turning out. Damon is a drum mic genius. The EP should be releasing some time next year, hopefully in Q1. It’s been a really fun and emotionally rewarding journey discovering my voice and how to use it and find its niche within my music. I think that this EP will have a lot of deep and layered material, offering high replay value.
BL: Is there anything specific that you want your listeners to take away from your music?
JMY: I want my listeners to be able to jam out, chill out, and reflect with my music. I am hoping to create a unique sonic environment with each song that people can “travel” into. I think that the result of making my music alone will yield the most satisfaction when listened to in isolation. Each night I lay in bed in the dark listening to my in progress or finished songs. I think I’ve always been a loner when it comes to the way I consume music so maybe it’s poured into how I craft my songs as well.
BL: You have a solo show coming up next month! Is this your first solo show?
JMY: Yes! I’m really looking forward to it and hoping that it’s a good turnout! I booked the show myself and have Camp Howard on the bill, so no doubt it will be a fantastic night of indie rock music.
BL: Do you get nervous before performing?
JMY: It depends, farther into my LV career I didn’t feel nervous that often. I am definitely nervous for solo shows because the performance is a reflection directly of me. There’s no one to pass the blame for a poor performance. Even to my band mates that perform with me, I take responsibility for their level of performance and how well they know the material etc. because I am the one that taught them and ran the rehearsals. It’s my duty to make sure they’re up to the level of performance I want them to be.
BL: What is the worst case scenario that could occur at your first solo show?
JMY: Me singing flat… something that still happens daily.
BL: Are you nervous NOW?
JMY: I try not to think too much about the nerves, but I know once I hit the stage I’ll feel it.
BL: What have been some of your favorite accomplishments so far as far as your musical career?
JMY: Definitely the growth of Lunar Vacation and my involvement in the group. It’s been amazing seeing the band go from 0-140k spotify listeners, have 2 songs with over a million plays now, and the latest I’ve seen is that they are playing tropicalia festival which is pretty damn cool. Another amazing part of that journey was getting to tour with SALES. I was already a fan of their music since freshman year of college (still late to that train) and when I heard we were going to play shows with them I was just completely blown away. They are amazing people with big hearts, always willing to share their knowledge and help however they can. I also began teaching guitar about a year ago, and that has been really fun and rewarding watching my students develop their skills.
BL: If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
JMY: Probably Nick Allbrook, so we could make some dancy, crunchy tunes. I also would love to have Pino Palladino play bass on something.
BL: Who would you consider you musical influences?
JMY: I was most influenced in my later half of high school by Kevin Parker of Tame Impala, and Scott Hansen of Tycho. To me they have set an industry standard of production and instrument layering.
BL: What bands have influenced you the least?
JMY: Hmm.. probably general pop music you hear on the radio. Not that it’s bad, but I’m not really looking to Ed Sheeran or Taylor Swift for inspiration, sorry!
BL: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
JMY: I hope we all see growth of the project, its reach, and where I am able to go with it! My big goal is to get up to a touring level again.
BL: And to wrap things up, is there anything you want our readers to know?
JMY: Take care of your body and be a positive influence on your friends! Be patient and PLEASE stream my music, and sign up for the mailing list on my website: jmyband.com
BL: Thank you for taking the time to do this!
JMY: Thank you so much! It was a pleasure.