Johnny Beauford Talks “A Pig Eating Past Love” and the Budding Dallas Music Scene

johnnybeauford

You know as Texans, we all have these things in our minds called Texas stereotypes. Whether it’s the stereotype that San Antonio is just this culturally-undiverse melting pot of Tex Mex, or that Houston is this huge oil rig of universal languages and cultures, I think the city with the strongest reputation is Austin. We usually think of Austin as the land of the hipsters, the music capitol of not even Texas, but of the whole world. There’s Austin, and then there’s Dallas, known for its suburban honky-tonk glitz and glamour – almost the opposite of what Austin is, right? That’s the stereotype, but Fort Worth-based singer-songwriter Johnny Beauford seems to be helping shift the Dallas music scene’s rep just a little on his own, proving that the city is not just big hair and expensive churches. It may be right on Austin’s tail.

Johnny just released his sophomore EP titled A Pig Eating Past Love and has been praised for his subtly gorgeous songwriting and melodic guitar strumming, which altogether combine Americana, folk, and blues to create storytelling masterpieces. We recently caught up with Johnny after his show at Rudyard’s Pub in Houston on January 23rd to talk A Pig Eating Past Love as well as his many musical projects, and more.

You’re active in lots of different projects including Deadmoon Choir, The Jack Kerowax, and Bravo, Max! Could you tell us more about these projects?

Yes, I’d be happy to. I guess I should go in alphabetical order:

Bravo, Max! is my old hold steady. I started that band originally with my cousin Ben and my brother Daniel. Since then, we have seen a number of players come and go. Over a matter of years in developing, Bravo, Max! has gone from folk, to indie-rock, to Americana with a focus on accordion, to our current state which is in my opinion a kind of a power trio of blues infused rock n roll. Thus far, Bravo has released an EP, a full length, and 3 single’s, and we are currently working on a sophomore LP.

Deadmoon Choir is a project led and founded by Garrett Padgett and Vinny Martinez. The sound is strongly influenced by the pairs love of vintage rock and vintage country. Vinny is the lead vocalist and channels Jim Morrison at times and M. Ward at other times. Garrett is the guitarist and loves The Kinks and more psychedelia like Pond and The Byrds. I play bass full time with Deadmoon, and really love how racaus and aggressive the band has become. There are definite plans to record a debut LP in the near future, and there are 12+ new songs already fully formed and ready to lay down.
The Jack Kerowax are a project that came about very organically. I was writing songs for a full length solo record and was looking for some players. I was introduced to Garrett Padgett (from Deadmoon Choir) outside of Crown & Harp at a Bravo, Max! show one night sometime in late 2011 or early 2012. We started meeting for rehearsal and writing sessions, and he joined me at a residency I had weekly at The Free Man. Some months later Nathan Adamson walked up and asked if we needed a drummer, we did, and he is a tried and true and very active player from a number of local acts including the soulful country gentlemen called The Hazardous Dukes. After one rehearsal we gladly continued playing with him and he joined the residency gigs as well. He is a fantastic drummer, and a talent in the studio on every level. After some search and discovery we later landed a bass player, Chase McMillan, who also plays in the killer Dallas band Goodnight Ned. We decided to work with Jonathan Jackson on production and soon there after started writing collaboratively and went right into recording an album at the all analog music paradise, Ferralog Studios. Over a 6 month period we did 12 tracking sessions and 7 more sessions for mixing. The album and band turned into something much bigger than I initially envisioned, and went from Johnny Beauford & The Jack Kerowax to The Jack Kerowax. We are now in preparation to release the record, and will surely do some touring to promote it as it will be a very formal and involved release process.

What’s your favorite part of being from the Dallas music scene, and how has it influenced you?

Dallas is turning into a musical monster, and I couldn’t be happier to be around all the creative inspiration that is floating around throughout Dallas, Fort Worth, and Denton right now. There are a huge number of bands I am proud to share a hometown with. They range from bands as big as St. Vincent & Toadies to up and comers that are equally as talented like The Birds Of Night and Oil Boom. Great music is being conceived and created here every day.

Could you tell us a bit about the “A Pig Eating Past Love” music video? Where was it shot?

It was shot in South Korea and is the work of Stuart Howe, an awesome film maker who is based there. I was able to bid on the video through an interesting site called Genero.Tv, and after a brief period of introduction I landed the video for the album’s title track, and Stuart then customized the video to my track in post production. I love how it came out, and I was the one who personally chose the video and worked with Stuart to see the process through to completion. I was so pleased with it that I have already re-hired him for a track from another upcoming release of the Kerowax record.

How did your show in Houston go? Did you get to see the city any?

We played at Rudyard’s Pub and had a great time. We learned some history about the venue through Joe, their longtime sound and lights man who told us he had been there since 1997. Apparently they have hosted a countless number of enormous bands like Destiny’s Child, Black Keys, White Stripes, Greenhornes, Spoon, and my personal favorite that Joe chose to mention, Fastball. Holy shit! Ha! Ivan, do you remember Fastball?! We met a few other nice Houston folks, and hung out with our friend Jeff Bradley, a brilliant photographer who is a grad student at the University of Houston. Oh he sat in on our set too, he is a well versed blues harmonica player as well.

Your new EP, A Pig Eating Past Love, was just released. What are you trying to achieve with this EP, and how do you think it has grown in comparison to your first EP?

I am touring the record with a full band, specifically Garrett and JJ from Bravo, Max! The live show is really energetic, and we’ve had fun working the new tunes up for live interpretation. The goal is the same as any release really, simply to do some promotions and get people to have a listen through. I also hope to draw attention to the Texas scene as a whole, and obviously all the projects I am a part of.

What would you say the most prominent themes and messages are on this EP?

Hmm. Well take the line that inspired the title, Don’t go wallow in old mud like a pig eating past love. I know thematically there all kinds of varying references within the lyrics on the album, but the main one, if I had to pick one, would be summed up in that line. Basically, the message for me being to keep my eyes on the future and keep moving forward as well enjoying the present. Fuck the past, if it is in fact a burden or a nostalgic idol. In those cases, there is no need to do anything with it except learn from it. The past is a wonderful thing to study and is a part of us all, but it is not immediately applicable to today or tomorrow except as a concious reference or a sub-conscious inspiration. To clarify, my past has been good and bad like any person and I love it and loathe parts of it like any person might, but I make a true effort to avoid dwelling on it for any extended period whether good or bad, as it is largely a waste of energy for any of us to rest on our laurels or to carry mass amounts of baggage along emotionally. That is the great thing about creative art, it is therapy and celebration simultaneously and if it’s worth anything at all, it is always moving forward.

Could you tell us a bit about St Cait records? Is it your record label?

I co founded St. Cait with my good friend Dave Turner, and I help run the company. It is an on going evolution as we are learning and growing daily. The way I look at the company is as a channel for organization and the polishing of all the bands and releases for our roster. We do have plans to add a few acts over the next few years but it will always be a somewhat small collective of like minded artists.

How would you describe your style of music and what type of audience it should generally appeal to. I have to say, your songs are, simply put, pretty.

Well thanks for saying, Ivan. I would describe my songwriting approach as instinctual. I love melody and I think music is an innate quality that we all share. To be more specific though, I love 50’s and 60’s soul singers, folk singers, and rock n rollers. We are all redoing a redo but hopefully infusing it with something modern and forward thinking. I hope it appeals to folks that love Otis Redding, Bob Dylan, and Thirteenth Floor Elevators although it doesn’t directly have the smallest resemblance to any of the above.

What should we expect from Johnny Beauford in the near future?

Thank you for asking. In short, I’d just say more recording and releases with lots of diverse results hopefully. Certainly, this will also come with more touring on a month to month basis. I am planning on a follow up Houston date in May. Please do keep an eye out for it.

Watch the video for “A Pig Eating Past Love” below, and make sure to buy the EP on iTunes.

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