This week DeBraun profiles Alex Johns of Ford Theatre Reunion.
Alex Johns is a native of Hazard, Kentucky and has been part of the Lexington music scene for the last decade. Since 2008 she has been a member of the neo-carnival rock band Ford Theatre Reunion. While the band tours pretty consistently, Johns says it was this most recent tour that given her even more of a desire to grow as an artist.
“I mean I think that’s when it started transitioning from this is something I’m doing because it’s fun, to something I’m doing because I’m kind of good at it, I have a desire to hone that skill and I’m always looking now, like the experience of being in an audience is different now because, now if there’s something that’s impressive to me, it’s something I analyze, like ‘what can I do to provide that experience I'm feeling to my audience,’ you know, I’m working my craft for the people who are watching me.”
In the band, Johns plays piano and clarinet in addition to singing. For some, having a five piece band that writes and performs original music could seem difficult. Johns says the writing process for the band is so democratic, that the band would sound completely different if it was done any other way.
“I tend to go towards melodic motifs and metaphor and lyric structure, those kind of things are more my forte than chord progressions, which I’m just like, the worst at [laughs], as a result I feel like everyone gets to feel ownership over the actual artistic creation and not just the performance of it, I mean, one person doesn’t create the song structure that ends up in our songs, it’s just too weird [laughs].”
Ford Theatre Reunion has new album called Legends & Landmarks and was recorded at Sneak Attack in with Jason Groves. During the recording of the album, Johns says the process was to make this record sound the most authentic of the band.
“We don’t autotune our vocals, we don’t play to a click track, on that album particularly we’ve tried to live track everything that is live-trackable, the beginning of any song, all five of us are playing, the authenticity of us playing together really matters to us, the authenticity of mistakes and learning how to allow those to be written in the annals of the history of your band because, that’s what you really sound like.”
Alex Johns performs with the Ford Theatre Reunion. More information about the band including the album Legends & Landmarks can be found here.