Gig preview: Ethan Johns at Oporto, Leeds

Ethan Johns
Ethan Johns
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RECORD producer Ethan Johns has been a big name in the music business for years, yet it has only been since the release of his debut album If Not Now When?, that he has revealed himself as an artist to the public eye.

This accomplished producer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist is now about to release his second album The Reckoning on June 2.

Even though he’s now a solo artist, he doesn’t see the change as a drastic one. It’s all in the continuum of “making music everyday in one way or another. Either writing or making music with someone else”.

And even though he’s about to release his second album, being a solo artist isn’t something he’s had a burning desire to do.

“It just happened,” he says.

A quick background check will tell you that he has worked with a range of artists. From Tom Jones to Paul McCartney to Kaiser Chiefs, it’s easy to fall in the trap of imagining Ethan Johns as a culmination of all these artists.

However he’s tried to mould his sound so it’s “not obviously related to anything that’s done in the past.”

But he still believes that it’s good to make music with other people.

On the latest album, Johns is “only playing the guitar and singing. Getting everyone else’s ideas and characters feeding into the whole thing really helps. It’s great to get other people’s energy to feed into the album”.

And it also has it’ benefits in the live setting, as it allows him to “focus on playing and singing the song the best I can”.

For those of you who’re going to see him live, you don’t need to worry about a thing. Ethan Johns is more than ready to accommodate a variety of audiences.

He doesn’t just have 10 songs ready for his live performances. Or 15.

But he has 30 songs which he can play at any given moment during a set.

And why so many? “I don’t have a strict set list, or set in stone way of doing any particular songs.

“I like to try and get in touch with the room, see what people are enjoying and what songs are connecting or creating a good atmosphere in the room, and I try and follow the atmosphere on the night”.

May 28, Oporto, Call Lane, Leeds, 8pm, £10. www. oportobar.co.uk

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