John Lowell Anderson's new EP All That I Know, is out now! We chat to the musician about the release and more.
Image: Claire Fagin
Los Angeles musician John Lowell Anderson has today unveiled his new EP All That I Know! We caught up with the singer to chat about the release, unpack his song Four am and more!
Tell us a bit about how you began your musical journey...
My folks are both musical, and my dad showed me a handful of chords on guitar when I was probably around 11 or 12. From there I’d just listen to songs I loved (a lot of 70s & 80s rock ie: mostly Boston) and try to learn all the riffs and progressions by ear. I started writing (unequivocally bad) songs in highschool, and continued writing throughout college. Despite the song quality back then, I fell in love with the process. It feels like the best route possible for me to lend what I can to the world.
You've just released your new EP All That I Know! What can listeners expect from the release?
I am indeed! Listeners can expect some brilliant piano playing, some solid 70’s groove on the kit courtesy of Kevin Brown, and the completion of the 3 part experience that Four am began.
Could you tell us a bit about your creative process when writing and recording this collection of songs?
The newer songs especially were written on just guitar. In the past I’ve mapped out some rough demos in a Logic/Pro Tools while writing, but I think limiting my writing process to needing a complete song that works well with just guitar and vocal, before adding anything else, makes for a better song in general. And this EP is the first time I’ve recorded with a producer and engineer in an actual space (Boulevard Recording), which was just dreamy. I felt confident having these solid songs that felt good on their own, which allowed for more creativity to flow in the studio, trusting that the foundation was good.
Did you encounter any challenges whilst creating music during the COVID-19 pandemic, or did it allow you the time and space to immerse yourself within this musical project?
Initially, I felt an immense pressure to make something and put it out. Like, I’m locked in my apartment, what else am I gonna do if I’m a songwriter. But once I let that pressure go, taking time to try processing the gravity of what is going on, the songs started to flow in a natural and genuine manner. As far as recording, It was definitely weird to wear masks, but I’m really grateful we were able to do it safely.
One of the songs on the release, Four am is a hopeful track that hints at the distorted reality that ties in with lack of sleep. What inspired the conceptual standpoint of the song?
Thank you! At the time of its formulation, I’d encounter sleepless nights pretty regularly. It’s difficult not to feel like a part of you is missing or broken when the world says it’s time to sleep but your mind says “No thanks”. It can almost roughly translate to FOMO: the fear of missing out, but it’s also more than that. The lyrics poured from that stream of consciousness that would run while trying to quiet my mind, and also the sort of jealousy I had for people who could sleep so easily, specifically my partner at the time. The resolve of the song is taking comfort in that maybe that person’s rest is enough for me as well, since I can’t get it on my own right now. That’s where the hopeful distorted reality comes into play too, like you can’t share sleep as a resource despite my wishes, but the mind still longs for it, just like it replays scenes of other things I thought were true, or things that would last.
How did you craft the sonic soundscape of the song?
I forged a demo of it on my own probably a year and a half ago, which had the basic shadow of the idea and tone, but bringing it into an actual studio with James Krausse and Tyler Chester is what really brought it to life. It needed to feel like a bit of a dream state. I think the constant strumming acoustic guitars helped create the rapidity of the stream of consciousness, while the melody lines of the guitars reinforce the melancholic tone. Tyler is an incredible producer, and James co-produced and engineered, so I really owe it to them for dialing it in and nailing it. I think they took my ramblings and helped them make sense.
If Four AM was a piece of visual art, which artwork would it be and why?
Interesting question, I’d say a short film. One of those that plays in a dark room in a museum that you really just want to watch as a break from walking around.
If you had to pick one song off the EP to play to someone who had never heard your music to make them an instant fan, which song would they be and why?
Tough call, but I think this track Four am is a good entry. I think it’s a good encapsulation of how I wish to sound more often than not.
How do you feel your music speaks to listeners, and what messages do you hope they take away from the song?
I’m quite alright with individual interpretation. I think that’s one of the more beautiful things about music. So if people read about a song that is entirely different from their preconceived experience, I hope it just creates a separate perspective of how to view it, without cancelling out their original perspective. Sure, one is the “true meaning” or “message”, but it doesn’t make your initial reaction any less valid or interesting. To me at least. But I digress, to answer your question: I hope people enjoy it! I hope they say “Damn that’s a nice song”
The current pandemic has obviously put a halt to touring and performing live, what are your touring plans post pandemic. What can people expect from one of your live shows and do you hope to visit Aussie shores when able to do so?
Ah, no plans currently other than a potential West Coast US tour in the fall, obviously depending on how things are then. Whenever live shows happen again, I think people can expect some honest songs mixed with some self deprecation intermixed! I try to reign in my sarcasm in between songs but sometimes there’s not much I can do.
Phoebe Bridgers, James Taylor, Noah Gundersen, Bon Iver
Probably Phoebe Bridgers or Bon Iver
Album that has had the most impact on you?
For Emma Forever Ago
How do you define your musical style in 3 words?
Sad But Cool
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
Brandon Flowers: The Desired Effect
Best concert you have been to?
The Staves at the Troubador
Last concert you went to?
Ethan Gruska in LA
If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?
Guilty music pleasure?
Blink 182/Angels and Airwaves
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.
What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?
Take it easy you’re not that important