Hall Johnson recently released their third and final single of the year, Strangers, on all streaming platforms. We had the opportunity to talk to the band about the new single. Check it out!
Fun fact. You guys were one of the first bands that I interviewed when I first started this site. The last time we spoke was back in Jan of 2018. Almost 3 years ago! (Thats crazy.) What have you been up to since then?
Trevor: Milo, Brandon, Logan and I graduated high school, still doing music and going to college!
Logan: I’ve been going to school at MediaTech institute and just recording music like usual.
Brandon: Just a whole lot of school and writing music. Me n trev actually transferred from OSU down to Austin where we go to school now, so its cool that everything has worked out so well.
Milo: I definitely think our sound and songwriting has evolved over time. If you listen to Daytrip and Goalie, a lot of what I was writing about was my high school relationships. If you listen to our last three releases, they’re a lot more focused on mental health and really just the state of the world as a whole.
It’s been so cool to see you guys grow and hear your sound evolve these past few years. Do feel like you’ve really come into your own as far as your sound and as a band?
Trevor: I definitely think so. I think we’ve established how we want this band/project to go moving forward and have established a group of individuals that care about one another first and foremost.
Logan: For sure, growing up and maturing as musicians has really started to reflect in our songwriting.
Brandon: Even though im new to the band, being best friends with this group for so long has definitely influenced the way I write to make sure whatever it is fits the hj sound
Milo: I think that we’ve evolved and we’re still evolving. I don’t think any bands sound is fully fleshed out because there’s always gonna be external factors that influence your process.
How is the Austin music scene treating you guys?
Trevor: I love it here! I just wish we could play shows. The people we have met have been really genuine and care for their craft. We had a whole 15 artist showcase planned this past year that went to shit due to coivd and that's heartbreaking for sure, we felt like that was going to be the showcase to really put some names to faces and build relationships.
Brandon: Beautifully. Not being able to play has been a real downer, but the music scene was so welcoming and friendly when we got here pre covid.
Is it way different than the Dallas scene?
Trevor: It’s a lot more cohesive.
Logan: It's definitely a lot bigger in number of bands and studios which allows for a lot of collaboration.
Talk to us a bit about your latest release Strangers
Logan: This tune has been a favorite of ours for a long while so it was very relieving when we finally finished the recording process and released it.
Brandon: Recording this one took a bit longer than we would have like, but the final outcome was really worth the wait. It is by far my favorite of our released songs, really proud of how it came out.
Milo: Strangers was actually written over a year and half. The first verse and last verse were written a year apart and you can hear that if you really listen to the lyrics. I wrote the first verse while I was in one relationship and wrote the second verse while I was in another. It really showcases my own growth over that year and a half which is why it’s probably my favorite song of ours so far.
What inspired the song?
Milo: Like I said, it was written over a year and a half. The first verse was written while I was in my last semester in high school while I was going through the normal senioritis symptoms. I was doubtful about the future and what my life would look like going into college. The second verse was written a year later and showcased my own mental health problems and falling in love for the first time. The last lyric, “the uncertainty is killing me” is intended to showcase the doubt we all still have as life keeps moving forward.
What exactly is going on in the cover art of the single?
Trevor: I found this old photo of Brandon swinging into the river in one of the Greenbelts and knew I had to use it. Brandon can talk a little more about the Greenbelt but I reached out to Sam White who does fantastic pieces of art with a vague description of what we wanted and Sam killed it.
Brandon: My girlfriend Anna actually took this photo of me about a year ago at the green belt, we found this random rope swing. I climbed up the tree and tried it out. Ended up having a great time haha, but it has been taken down:( But Sam did such an incredible job with the artwork, the hardest part was picking the cover art. Each one she sent us was really great.
Walk us through the process of you creating a song. Is it more of an individual process at first or is it very collaborative?
Logan: It’s a very collaborative process, I think if it were to be written by one single person it would sound very jumbled, we for sure rely on each other to all put our thoughts and ideas into a song to make it the best we possibly can.
Milo: So basically I write the structure of the song (lyrics and chords) and then Logan and I usually lay out what we want the song to look like. After that we bring it to the rest of the band and fully flesh it out. The starting product always has a big evolution into the final product.
You’ve released 3 singles this year including this one. Can we look forward to seeing a new EP or Album anytime soon?
Brandon: YOURE NOT GOD, OR MY FATHER...OR MY BOSS. on a more serious note, we are trying to make plans with a friend of ours to record an album next summer? I really hope it works out.
To wrap things up, do you have any questions for me?
Trevor: How is the magazine going in a COVID era?
I don't know. I haven't known what I'm doing since I started this site tbh.
Brandon: Seriously. Survivor is on netflix, you gotta watch it. Have you started any new shows since covid started?
I've been rewatching Chapelle's Show for the first time since like elementary/middle school. I should not have been allowed to watch Chapelle's show in middle school.