Alex Johnson (Why Dogs Why) is a talented writer, producer, and vocalist based out of LA. His latest single "Freak" really highlights the artist's writing ability with relatable lyrics.
Every day I find another piece of me that hurts. I’m afraid of falling apart. I’m afraid of falling apart. Hypochondria or a disease, or worse? I’m afraid of falling apart
Does anyone even read these intros? I don't think so. I can just make stuff up and nobody would even notice. I can literally say anything and nobody will fact check this. Alex Johnson is 16 feet tall and holds the NBA record for most points scored in a single game. Like 17 points or something like that. Alex was also a part of the musical group the Baha Men and won a nickelodean kids choice award in 2003. We recently had the opportunity to talk to Alex about his latest single, life, and sitting at the big boys table.
1. What have you been listening to lately?
Ooh! Lots of stuff: Camera Obscura, the new White Reaper album, The Radio Dept., Self, Cheekface, The Astrobots, of Montreal, Cymbals Eat Guitars, the latest Illuminati Hotties single has been on repeat as well. Lots of power-pop and dream-pop, mostly!
2. I have an idea that I want you to get in on. It’s like tiny desk, but BIGGER. We’ll call it “The Big Boy’s Table” (open to everyone) and we’ll record live performances.
I’m into it. Is this anything like moving from the kids’ table to the adults’ table at Thanksgiving?
3. Best concert you’ve ever attended?
Toss-up between Weezer last year (Weird Al played the accordion for a song) and Against Me! this year (doing New Wave and Searching For A Former Clarity front-to-back).
4. Worst album of the decade?
There are so many terrible albums out there. I’d hate to give any of them the extra attention.
5. I’m thinking about just quitting this site. Any good reasons why I SHOULD do it?
No, not a single good reason. The world is ending soon; do whatever you want as long as it’s not hurting anyone else!
6. I haven’t read your reply, but whatever it was, I know it hurt my feelings.
Sorry, I know the end of the world is a touchy subject for some.
7. What should every party have?
Jon Marquez. Wow. I’ve been set up.
8. Do you regret doing this interview yet?
Not at all, but there’s still time.
9. Can you do a Daniel Johnston cover?
Been thinking of doing “Fighting With Myself” for a little bit now. When is it due?
10. My friend Taylor is a fan of your latest single. It would be nice if you gave him a shout out, but instead of that can you roast him?
Hi, Taylor. One of the worst people I have met in my entire life is named Taylor, and one has to assume that you are exactly like them. Glad you like the song.
Isaac Gutierrez For Born Loser: To start things off, can you introduce yourself for those who may not be familiar with Why Dogs Why?
Alex Johnson (Why Dogs Why): Yes, hello! I am Alex Johnson and I play music as Why Dogs Why. This project is basically me making songs in my living room. Sometimes I share them, sometimes I get my friends involved, other times I keep everything to myself.
BL: Give us some of your musical background.
WDW: I’ve been playing music for my whole life. I started as a tiny child with piano lessons and trumpet lessons. Then I got a guitar when I was 11 years old and my life has never been the same.
BL: Listen, I hate cliche questions. I try to avoid them, BUT I really like the name “Why Dogs Why" Where did the name come from?
WDW: My partner was trying to find me a band-name via one of those band-name generator websites. One of the questions (before the site generates your list of names) was “What is your favorite animal?” She entered “dogs”, and every single name that was returned in the results included the word “dogs”. She sent me a screencap of the results with the caption, “WHY DOGS, WHY?” I decided to just go with that instead, sans punctuation.
BL: Talk to us about your latest single “Freak”
WDW: Freak is a song about hypochondria, but it’s also a song about chronic back pain and the anxiety that comes with working a sedentary desk job. I wrote it over a year ago, and a lot of the feelings I had when writing the song are still intact in my heart now. When I can still connect to the subject matter of a song I’ve written after substantial time has passed, I know it’s a true keeper.
BL: It sounds different than your previous releases. Was there a specific inspiration or situation that caused a shift in sound with this song?
WDW: I try not to pigeonhole myself into a sound since it’s just me writing and recording the songs as of now, but I’ve been slowly moving in a direction that’s less inspired by, say, early Green Day, and more inspired by the music that I’m listening to now. Unfortunately, I am incapable of being less cryptic than that.
BL: Is keeping your sound “fresh” something that you feel like you have to do consciously, or does it just naturally evolve on its own?
WDW: I definitely have to remain conscious of moving my songwriting forward in order to avoid stagnancy. This year, I wrote and demoed 14 songs that I think are fine, but “Freak” is the only one that has seen the light of day. I’m only truly happy with maybe two or three of the other songs because most of them sound like something else that I’ve done before. Maybe I’ll release the demos for the few that I like and move on from them. It’s hard to stay interested when you feel like you’re repeating yourself.
BL: What do you do to get over creative blocks?
WDW: I listen to music that was made by my friends. That almost always works.
BL: What is the most important thing to you when it comes to creating music?
WDW: Having fun. If I’m not having fun then what’s the point of any of this?
BL: What is your biggest fear?
WDW: Being the last remaining human on earth after the apocalypse. I’d be SO bad at hunting and gathering.
BL: As far as music goes, what has been your favorite accomplishment so far?
WDW: I wrote a song with Greg from Cheekface, Sarah from Illuminati Hotties, and Alex from Family Hahas called “Insufficient Funds” (released under the name A Place to Wash My Hands) and it was pressed to Flexi disc by BIRP.fm. Write songs with your friends! It feels good!
BL: What band has inspired your music the least?
WDW: Everything I hear inspires me in a way, even if it’s just inspiring me to *not* sound like that.
BL: Is there a question you’ve secretly always wanted to be asked in an interview, but haven’t been asked yet?
WDW: “If you were a Jedi, what color lightsaber would you have?”
BL: What are you currently working on?
WDW: Since I scrapped most of the songs I wrote this year, I’m writing right now for a new album/EP project. It’ll most likely be a lot more mellow than what I’ve previously released. I’ve been getting really into fingerpicking lately (although I’m not very good). I just need to find a way to record it so that I can be happy with it.
BL: What do you like to do when you’re not working on music or playing shows?
WDW: I hang out with my cat and my partner, who are my two favorite beings in the world. I like to go to garage sales, go on walks around the block, and watch Top Chef.
BL: What is something that you’d like for our readers to know?
WDW: Anyone can pick up a guitar, pluck some strings and write a song, and everybody should do it at least once.
BL: What can we expect to see from Why Dogs Why in the future?
WDW: More music being released more frequently.
BL: And to wrap things up, do you have any questions for me?
WDW: If you were a Jedi, what color lightsaber would you have?
BL: Probably black.
BL: Thank you for taking the time to do this!
WDW: You are most welcome! Thanks for asking me questions.