Photo: Johnny Lloyd’s Facebook
With the recent release of his first solo single, ‘Hello Death’, from his upcoming debut EP Dreamland and support slots with the likes of The Maccabees and Mystery Jets, former Tribes frontman Johnny Lloyd has been thrust back into the limelight. Lloyd kindly took the time to fit Audio Addict in to his hectic schedule, which includes juggling touring and finishing off his debut EP before its release on May 20.
After his support slot with Black Honey at Southampton’s Joiners, we sat down to talk about the upcoming EP, working with Jamie T and Hugo White and what the future holds.
You’ve had some big support slots with the likes of The Maccabees and Mystery Jets since the turn of the year, what’s it been like travelling around the UK and Europe with them?
It’s been great, brilliant to have that opportunity from them. I think Hugo [White], who’s producing the EP, from The Maccabees offered us this massive leg up. I’ve been off stage for around a year so I was reacclimatising and the shows were great, kind of similar crowds to what I’ve had before with Tribes. I think it’s a nice way to introduce what I’m doing and get the band up to scratch for the rest of the year. We had a great time with them and especially that second tour with Mystery Jets, that new record is brilliant. It was great fun touring with both of them.
What kind of response were you getting from the crowds?
It was good. Not a lot of people know what I’m up to at the moment so it was nice to get back into it and obviously all the stuff is pretty much new apart from some of the demos online. The response was really good, I think especially the UK and some of the European shows as well. It’s been a great start to the year.
Whats it been like being at the forefront this time? Instead of being a part of Tribes it’s your name on everything…
It’s been weird because its not something I’m used to. I feel more comfortable with it after a few months. I definitely feel more comfortable with the music I’m making because there is nothing to hide behind. I feel like I have to up my game really to combat the fact it’s just me on the posters. But I feel good about it and I’m excited about the record that we’re making.
You mentioned working with Hugo White from The Maccabees for your EP and you also had Jamie T, who produced new single ‘Hello Death’. How did they help you put the ideas you had in your head onto record?
It was the confidence mainly; especially with Jamie I think it was the confidence stage because, like we said, we were doing this under my own name so it just gave me that boost. He produced ‘Hello Death’ and Jamie picked that out of about 20 songs and was like “That one”. He really moulded that in terms of the sound of the song and we wanted to do that all live and that was great. With Hugo again he helped me pick the songs and find the bit of belief in what I was doing and help me on my way with the sort of sound I wanted overall, but they were both brilliant to work with. We did them separate, so Jamie did ‘Hello Death’ and Hugo did ‘Happy Humans’ and ‘Dreamland’. They’re both great in their own ways and they’ve both produced their own records as well.
Would you say ‘Hello Death’ has set a tone for the EP both lyrically and musically?
It’s got a darkness to it but the other two are slightly more upbeat. I think lyrically it’s definitely set a tone and I think it just means a fresh start, like saying goodbye to one thing then hello to another – a new beginning and that’s whats I’m going for, I suppose, and that’s what subliminally came out of it.
Coming back as a solo artist, how did you go about getting a touring band together?
I always write music for two guitars so I had to have another guitar player. I did an acoustic tour with another guy and I wanted to get to playing with a full band. Obviously I wanted Miguel (former Tribes drummer) on the drums who’s my favourite drummer and who I’ve played with for a long time, and he was really keen to get going again so he joined then a couple of our friends came in. It’s really great having Nicole on bass signing harmony. I think it’s really important to have a girl in the band doing that because it divides karma within the unit and it’s a good way to combine the two voices, male and female. So it’s a really great unit of people and pretty harmonious as well. It’s been a good ride.
You’re not long off the road after going out with Black Honey for some dates around the UK, how’s that been?
I think they’re a great band Black Honey and we got on with them from the off so it was just a great tour. I didn’t know what to expect but every day was a fucking great and we had such a laugh and I really think they’ll go far.
You set out on your first headline tour in May and June, are you looking forward to it?
Yeah I am, I think it’s going to be interesting to see how many people come out so I’m really, really looking forward to it. Trying to get as many dates under my belt as possible so we will be going everywhere, [it’s] quite extensive. We have loads of festivals as well in the summer which I’m pretty excited about. Then there will be another headline tour so we’ll be busy all year really. The whole ethos is to tour as much as possible ,which is always the way I’ve done it even with Tribes.
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