Our favorite technicolor indie-rocker Huron John has finally unveiled his long-awaited debut opus "Apocalypse Wow". The album is a journey into John's bright and eclectic musical psyche filled with psychedelic memories, totems from the past like gameboy color samples and old school synthesizers, and his inner-most feelings and observations. This all blends into a 9-track, deeply personal body of work that is sure to leave a strong impression on listeners as they dive in.
Since releasing the project, Huron has decided to sit down with EARMILK in order to reflect on what inspired the project as a whole and what else he hopes to accomplish in 2020..
EARMILK: Hey man! Thank you so much for talking to us today, we are really big fans of Apocalypse WOW and your prior singles. To start we wanted to get some insight into how you initially got into producing and songwriting and how long have you been doing it for?
Huron John: I’ve been picking up instruments my entire life. That was kind of an inroad to
“songwriting” in a way, I would say. The story is long, but I’ll spare you the trouble.
Basically, through picking up guitar and keys back in like grade 2, my guitar teacher
introduced me to a ton of cool artists and albums, most notably my favorite artist of all
time, Smashing Pumpkins. Very coincidentally / indirectly, this led to me discovering
Tyler, The Creator / Odd Future back in the Goblin-era. The Wolf album dropped in
2013 and I was an immediate fan upon release. I was so interested in the sound of this
record that I Googled “How does Tyler The Creator make the backing instrumentals on
the Wolf album?” hahahahah. The top result was the music production program Reason
that I still use to this day. In terms of songwriting, I would write weird little rap songs
starting when I was like 13, none of them ever really seeing the light of day. The
process was sort of gradual from then, kind of just a constant process of different
phases and seeing what “worked”.
EM: What is your typical songwriting process like?
HJ: I always make beats first. I’ll get a beat to about 70% of it’s finished form, to where I can write to it, then I’ll just piece together lyrics Frankenstein-style from a massive idea document that I have running for every project that I make. The projects just kind of come together organically that way after having a huge pool of like running things to be working on, I suppose. Then, after I finish writing a song, I’ll record the vocals, mix it all, then add the rest of the instrumental pieces to fit in super-snug with the new vox stuff.
EM: What was your main inspirations behind Apocalypse WOW? Was there a specific
memory or set of experiences that sparked it?
HJ: Instead of 1 main experience, I would say it was inspired by pretty much everything I’ve
experienced so far in life. Life’s highs and lows. That insane dichotomy represented by
the transition from childhood-to-adulthood. I had fantastically wholesome moments with
family on vacations, but then moments with that same family by the deathbed of 4
different people in the span of not even 2 years. Falling in love multiple times, but
getting pushed around the locker room when I was a smaller kid. Triumphs, failures,
moments of awkwardness and vulnerability -- that kind of thing. That super dramatic yin-
and-yang type thing that just comes with growing.
EM: If you could describe your music in three words, what would they be?
HJ: Collage of vulnerability.
EM: What sort of music did you listen to growing up?
HJ: Like I said earlier I was suuuuper into Smashing Pumpkins as an elementary school kid, still am. So, I was super into that whole 90’s world. The Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine, Radiohead, etc. Then when I got into that early middle school age, so like 12-13-14, that was my big Odd Future / Tyler phase, when I was consequently discovering a lot of hip-hop acts that really spoke to me as well. I was super into MF Doom, Madlib, as well as being a massive Mac Miller fan during the Watching Movies With The Sound Off // Faces era(s). In like 2016-2017 I went through a massive Tame Impala phase, discovering all those neo-psych acts like Pond and King Gizzard that kind of come along with that whole world. Since I was young I have also had huge loves for King Krule, Steely Dan, Aphex Twin, Black Mother Super Rainbow, Yung Lean and Homeshake.
EM: Yeah I could definitely tell you were a big Odd Future fan since you named dropped Tyler, The Creator a few times throughout the project hahaha. What were your first experiences listening to Odd Future and in what ways do you feel like they impacted your music overall?
HJ: Tyler has definitely been extremely influential to the way that I and a lot of others do things. Even though I’ve kind of been growing out of his stuff since the Flower Boy era, (still a fantastic record, though) he has always proven that the ultimate-DIY-path is absolutely attainable. I remember back when I was super into BMX when I was like 13 and 14, all I would play all day at skateparks was the old Odd Future mixtapes. Bastard, BlackenedWhite, The O.F Tape Volume 1 and 2, EARL, RADICAL, all those mixtapes were extremely influential to me. It really did show me what the very beginnings of genre-fusing were while still maintaining appeal to both the general hip-hop and indie worlds. It effected my taste in clothing, photographers and film-makers, skate culture, everything. I know that I’m completely not alone in that either. If you were an O.F kid back in the early to mid 2010’s, you lived and breathed that shit. All my BMX friends would try to replicate the really goofy stunts from the Loiter Squad TV show, and really just be as disruptive as possible at school -- the whole “Kill People Burn Shit Fuck School” thing from the Goblin-album hahahaha. Extremely influential.
EM: How do you feel like being a part of the Chicago music scene has influenced your music?
HJ: The Chicago music scene is very cool, but I’ve always felt as if I was kind of on the outside looking in. There's an extremely talented range of artists in the scene, for sure. A lot of my initial support in the super early days was coming from the suburbs, though. I was throwing my own DIY shows and stuff with other artists from the suburbs that I knew from like high-school and stuff, not really others from the “scene”. I guess that was the scene for me at the time.
EM: How has the reception been since releasing the project?
HJ: Really dope. All the support from Spotify has been very humbling. The growth in actual fans reaching out to me telling me about their connection with the project has been an extremely special thing. It’s really motivating and re-affirms the whole inclusive mission of the artist project as a whole
EM: How have you been keeping yourself sane in our current quarantine situation?
HJ: To be honest with you, it’s been a major struggle hahahaha. It’s definitely been a very tough time mental-health wise. A lot of alone time, and a lot of bike rides. I’m really getting back into the music-making swing though which is always a really great way to consume time productively.
EM: What are your hopes and plans for the rest of 2020?
HJ: I’m really excited to start the rollout for the next project at the end of the year. I designed a bunch of merch and a mini-magazine to support Apocalypse Wow, and all that stuff will be available soon. I’m super stoked on that.