Prior to the release of HUM, Alain Johannes joins Artist Waves live Instagram interview series.
In March, Alain Johannes embarked on a trip to his native Santiago, Chile to partake in various shows and festivals. It’s now July and Johannes is still there due to this pandemic. In addition to Chile being the country where Johannes was born, it also holds a sincere place in his musical background – with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stage bringing him there on tour as did Chris Cornell in 2011.
As a founding member of the band Eleven, Johannes has been well-known for lending his talents to other projects – bringing them to the next sonic levels. Whether its Cornell’s Euphoria Morning, Mark Lanegan, PJ Harvey, Them Crooked Vultures or Queens of the Stone Age, Johannes has provided his signature guitar songs to the most renowned artists in rock. In turn, the experiences inspire his solo material – like the forthcoming, full-length HUM EP.
From his safe haven in Santiago, I recently had the chance to interview Johannes to discuss how this time has influenced his new record, HUM, due out July 31st, while also reflecting upon the beauty of the past.
photo by: Tom Bronows
Them Crooked Vultures means a lot to so many people, what does that record and experience mean to you now?
I was brought in to help record some of the stuff and help Josh Homme record and engineer some of the guitars. Afterwards, he asked me to be part of the live band. I was like, “Whoa, me and John Paul Jones on stage!” One of the first times we jammed together, he did this incredible lick and then I start hearing this feedback, I was like, “What’s that noise, there must be a monitor going off?” I look down and take my hands off the guitar and realize its me. I went to appear like I meant to do that, but I was totally just being a fanboy. The amazing thing about the entire experience was that our chemistry grew stronger and stronger as the tour went on. We were trusting each other with the songs and by the end of the tour, each song became about 20 minutes. What was once a tight set was turning into two hours. It was an incredible experience for me. Just after the shows, going onto the bus – JPJ would grab his mandolin and he would ask me to grab my cigar box guitar and we’d jam. He took me to a bluegrass jam in Nashville where I just absorbed because I was in way over my head. In Boston, we went to look at this ancient instrument collection, we went together to that and took photos. It was just a beautiful experience. Obviously, it depends upon everybody’s schedule, but I am always ready to go. I would love for that to happen again at some point.
Watch the full interview with Alain Johannes here: