Talking to Javan and Johnny of Son of John on the Music Video for “When You Come Back Down”

Son of John country duo

Back in November, British Columbia based father-son duo released their debut album Lucky.

With the music video for the closing track, their cover of “When You Come Back Down” by Nickel Creek getting a recent music video release, I got the opportunity to chat with Javan and Johnny about the track, the video, their album, and tons more.

Here’s my interview with Son of John.

Interview with Son of John

Jason: We want to welcome you both to the Front Porch! Could you guys take a second to introduce yourselves to our audience?

Javan: We are Son of John! We are an alternative country Americana roots duo from from British Columbia, in the Kootenays.

We’re father and son, and we officially formed in 2017. It’s been a couple of years, and Front Porch has been good to us over the last few years!

We’re quite heavily involved with the British Columbia Country Music Association and have been nominated for a few traditional country and musician awards.

We just released our debut album! It sounds strange to say debut because we’ve been making music for a long time together, but we released our first ten song album together in November.

Johnny: My name is Johnny Johnson. Hence the name, “Son of John”. 

I’ve been in the music thing for quite a few years. Happy to be here!

Jason: Starting with your new music video – what attracted you to “When You Come Back Down”, which was originally performed by Nickel Creek?

RELATED: Check out our exclusive premiere form the “When You Come Back Down” music video…

Javan: I stumbled upon Nickel Creek… I can’t recall the year, but it’s one of my favorite bands, because of the musicianship. The members of the band are quite proficient. For example, Chris Thile is the mandolin player and he’s considered to be a virtuoso mandolin player.

And with the fiddle, and the mandolin, and the guitar, the Americana roots stand out in their music. It’s kind of similar to our sound, in a lot of ways

“When You Come Back Down” was just one of those songs that, between the melody, and the lyrics, and the musicianship, it was one of those songs that I kind of fell in love with. It became one of my favourite songs from the first moment I heard it.

When it came down to picking our track list for our album, we tend to record almost exclusively original music. But we had the thought – what if we have this opportunity to record and throw a cover in there?

This was one of the songs that we felt we could do justice to. So when it came down to the stuido, we just decided to do it.

And it ended up turning out better than we thought. Our musicianship transferred over well. I guess it’s just like one of those passion project songs in a way. It was always a song I wanted to cover. And luckily my dad agreed.

Johnny: Yeah, like most songwriters, we had a lot of songs to pick from. But Javan really liked this one. And sometimes it’s good to put a cover on – like Blue Rodeo almost always puts one cover on every album they do. So, I guess we could say we’re trying to follow their lead.

Jason: Like a tribute.

Johnny: Yeah! And it’s got a good message too. I like the song in general, and I was happy to put it on the album.

Jason: When you were creating your version of this song, when did it click that this is one of the songs that needs a music video, that needs visuals attached to it?

Javan: That’s a good question.

You know, there’s a lot of debate these days about whether a visual medium, a music video, is worth the investment these days. But I think people consume music a lot visually, as well.

With this cover, we wanted to bring a little attention to it because it’s the last track of the album, and it has this acoustic vibe. So we thought it would be cool if we had this bright visual of us performing the song.

The video is very simple, and has basically zero budget. It was a DIY music video, and it turned out really well.

Johnny: It was also filmed in a beautiful timber frame. It’s just majestic, and the church setting is fitting for the song. It’s like, come back down from wherever you’re going, and I’ll be there. And I was just so happy to showcase the building.

Javan: Fun fact, dad also built the church we filmed in.

Johnny: Well, I only built parts. I did the finishing work. But it had inner meaning for sure.

Jason: Kind of a full circle moment.

Johnny: Yeah, exactly.

Stream “When You Come Back Down”

RELATED: Check out the last time we interviewed with Son of John …

Jason: That’s amazing. So, the music video for this track has already entered your top five most viewed videos on your YouTube channel, only 8 days after it’s been posted. How does that feel?

Javan: Yeah! I hate number watching, and it’s not like we have a massive following on YouTube yet, but it’s our fastest growing video by far.

Jason: It should be no time before it becomes your most viewed video. How does it feel to have the effort you put into the video being rewarded this way?

Javan: It’s really cool. The performance itself is the highlight of the video. There’s no B-reel. It’s just us performing the song.

I guess I shouldn’t give away too many secrets, but it was just filmed on two iPhones. And I edited it myself. Our cinematographers were family. So it was kind of on a whim. We filmed it during a weekend, all of us together, which is rare these days.

It all just worked out, and it’s awesome to see that.

Jason: You never really know what’s going to connect with people, right? It looks very professional, but it’s a little bit home-grown. And it seems like that’s resonating with people.

You said you guys officially formed under the name Son of John in 2017, and your first album came out late last year. But I’m sure there’s a longer history there. How did you guys start playing music together?

Johnny: I used to drag Javan out when he was really young. I was doing solo projects, and I’d bring him out and play the fiddle. I think he might have caught the bug then.

I also brought him into the studio when I was recording my first solo album, way back in about 2005. He was only 13 or so years old, but it sort of grows on you, the whole music industry. And if you catch the bug, you can’t fight it. You have to do it. I think that’s where it began.

Javan: My mom also worked as a music teacher. So music was instilled in us from quite a young age. She’s a pianist who threw me into violin lessons when I was too young to protest.

And so when mom went to work, dad stayed home with us. I remember him always writing songs to pass the time while he was raising us. Subconsciously, I think, there was a little bit of the songwriting bug that was instilled in me back then. 

I ended up going to university and coming home right when dad was promoting a solo album, and he was looking for a band. He asked if I wanted to play some fiddle on some tours, and we did that. Eventually, we had this one review from one of our shows and they said it would be really cool if I sang more harmonies… if there was more of a duo-type vibe.

So we thought, what if we officially collaborated and started a duo? That’s how it sparked.

It’s pretty special to be able to go on stage with my dad every day. That’s something I get, and my brothers don’t. (laughs)

Johnny: It’s not always rosy. Typical family.

Javan: Well, because we’re a family band, sometimes that dynamic creeps in more than you want to.

Jason: You guys don’t stop being a family when you’re in a band.

Johnny: That’s for sure.

Jason: In your bio, you say “Son of John doesn’t fit the mold on purpose”. Can you guys speake to what that means?

Javan: I guess I would say that there’s two generations of influences that kind of creep in sometimes. I’ll let dad speak to his own influences, but for me I listen to a lot of contemporary country. So we have the generational influences, and then based on the kind of style we play…

We never set out to be a specific genre. Not even specifically country all the time. We have these folk influences, and roots influences. A joke we always says is that we confuse ourselves is that we’re too country to be folk, too folk to be Amerciana, to Americana to be bluegrass, too bluegrass to be country.

Sometimes we have trouble defining our sound, and our genre, but I think that’s the beauty of country music. We don’t have to stay in one lane. And we do that on purpose, we’re not trying to fit in one line.

Johnny: Or not on purpose, maybe. We just do what we do. That’s the easy answer, maybe. (laughs).

If we like a genre, we might gravitate towards that sound. But we are who we are, and you get what you get. That’s what we hope our audience is expecting, anyways.

RELATED: Check out the first time we covered Son of John and their track “Country Pure” …

Jason: We mentioned this earlier – Lucky is your 10-track album that dropped late last year. Don’t want to pressure you guys, but the audience is going to want to know what they can expect from Son of John in the near future.

Johnny: Well, we’ve been put on a bunch of bills with the Bellmoney Brothers. It’s an honour for us to be opening for them.

We’re also putting together some summer shows.

Javan: As far as new music goes, we have singles recorded and ready to go. We’re hoping to release them soon.

It’s going to be a little bit of a different sound. There’s no electric instruments on [Lucky], but we have 3 songs ready for an EP that we hope is coming up later this year, and we’re experimenting with a little more of an electric … more of a “fuller” sound, if you want to call it that.

Johnny: We recorded those with some really good guys.

And I should say, we weren’t even going to have drums on [Lucky] at all. The producers saw us more as an acoustic band. But then he brought in, of all drummers, Pat Steward, who is Bryan Adams’ drummer. Which is kind of amazing.

Javan: That guy was on “Summer of ‘69”.

Johnny: As big as it gets. So there he is playing away on our little country songs, and it’s an honour.

We’re proud of Lucky, and we’re looking forward to touring in the next year.

Jason: Well, whatever you release, Front Porch will be there.

Before we wrap up, is there anything else you want the audience at Front Porch Music to know that we haven’t already covered?

Javan: The best way to support an artist is to follow us on social media, and if you like our music, share it with your friends and family. There’s so much music being released all the time, and it’s easy to get buried. 

We appreciate the feedback and we try to get back to anyone who reaches out. 

We’re just looking forward to doing more shows and releasing more music.

Follow Along with Son of John

You can watch the music video for “When You Come Back Down” on Son of John’s YouTube channel, and stream their debut album Lucky wherever you get your music.

You can also follow Son of John on their social media, linked below.

Twitter: @sonofjohn_music
Facebook: Son of John Music
Instagram: @sonofjohnmusic

Jason Saunders From Front Porch Music
Jason Saunders

Jason Saunders is a graduate from both the English Literature program at Trent University and the Journalism program and Seneca College. He has a passion for music, writing, and all things creative.

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