Introducing: Johnny Stanec

Johnny Stanec is an American singer-songwriter focusing on heartfelt lyrical imagery and melodic exploration through layered production. Musically somewhere between Americana-heartland rock and the sounds of the Britpop movement. New single ‘It Was Easy Now’ was released a few weeks back and Johnny was on hand to give us the lowdown on the single, as well as talking to us about his own personal musical memories.

What are the origins of the band, how long have you been playing together?

I did my first solo record as a sort of sidebar to my band at the time. We were in between records and I had some songs sitting around, so I decided to release them under my own name.

After a few more years of doing the band thing, I turned my focus on myself. I got more serious about defining my own musical identity. I did a solo record in 2018 called ‘The Future of Nothing’ and it was really the first time I put all of myself into a solo record. I felt like I finally got myself on the right track. Since then it has been building from that.

How did you feel performing your first gig? And how was it?!

I have to go back a ways to my first show. I did bands in high school and played basement parties, after-school events, things like that. I don’t know if I was ever really nervous. Maybe the first show at a bar? I was eighteen and I had never played in a place like that. But once we got into the first song it went pretty well! I was on drums in that band and we had just graduated high school. The bartender snuck us a few beers afterward. Good times!

What should people expect when they check you out? How would you describe yourself?

I put everything into my songs. I want people to hear authenticity when they listen. I write from a personal place, but I am speaking in generalities most of the time. Music is about relating to each other, finding that common thread we all share. I combine styles in a way. Musically a mix between Americana and Britpop. Maybe that sounds odd, but it makes sense once you hear it.

The new music scene is bursting at the seams with fresh talent, in what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out from the others trying to build a name?

Finding an audience is hard. There is so much happening at once now, everyone is asking for you to pay attention. I kind of just write songs, so I don’t know if I have any advice for anyone. Be honest, be diligent, care about your final product, and don’t try to be a part of the algorithm. Avoid turning into a soulless entity seeking attention. Fame is not something any passionate songwriter should seek. Make music for the sake of the art. There are too many people doing things for a payout and worried about their visual self. They are losing sight of the purpose of music, to connect to each other and put something out there that will give listeners some sort of meaningful reaction. Anything other than that is superfluous.

What are you working on at the minute that people can check out?

My new single, ‘It Was Easy Now’, was just released on June 18th and I have a song coming out August 13th called ‘Feels Like I’m Fading Away’. I put out a vinyl collection late last year called ‘Never Met A Stranger’, and I just released a streaming collection of remixed songs from previous records. I have plans for more new music later this year and hopefully a full-length record sooner than later.

What band out there at the minute do you feel that you would be best suited to open for?

I could see myself opening for a band like Wilco. They’ve been around for a while, eclectic catalog and they embody the kind of ideals that matter to me.

Who do you feel is the next band to break out?

Honestly, I am probably somewhat unaware of who is next. I hope whoever it is they do something fresh and don’t pander to anyone. Too many bands being touted as the next big thing are trying too hard. Be yourself, that will always be original.

What are your first musical memories? And what was the light bulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?

My whole life has around been music. I had a father who played, my grandmother played and so did my grandpa and my sister. It was all around me, but I had to find my own interests. I think hearing Nirvana ‘Unplugged’ made me realize that any band could do anything. Songwriting was the key and doing something timeless and simple was the way to approach it.

What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?

It’s been a little while because of Covid. November 2019 I saw Wilco in Columbus, OH. I haven’t ventured back out to any big shows. I miss the energy and look forward to the next time I get to see someone live.

The album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?

I don’t know if it would surprise anyone, but I listen to the Cranberries on a regular basis. I never really talk about my love for them. I think for a lot of people they know their big hits, but they were more than that. Dolores O’Riordan is missed. She was a unique singer and a talented songwriter.

Although 2020 was been a year to forget for many reasons, there was some incredible music released; what would be your album of 2020?

Not quite a 2020 release but a band called Grade 2 put out an album in 2019 called ‘Graveyard Island’ and it’s a great throwback punk rock and roll record. Good solid working-class music. I recommend it to anyone interested in that type of music.

How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?

I try and post about my music and what I am doing, but overall I am a private person. I do my best to keep people informed about what I am doing. I post about music mostly and I have a few of the usual profiles for interested readers who want to follow along. I will leave the links below.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with me! I appreciate it!

Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/artist/0smPQFYEVNXpKo4Dm2vxzX

Apple Music – https://music.apple.com/us/artist/johnny-stanec/430450296

Bandcamp – https://johnnystanec.bandcamp.com/

Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9aLpTEmdsBsrQtvGlExl4A

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/johnnystanecmusic/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/johnnystanec/

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