Home Hear S.F. Johnson Ushers You Into His Digital Utopia

S.F. Johnson Ushers You Into His Digital Utopia

The globetrotting synth-popster takes you on a musical journey with his latest LP.

S.F. Johnson guides you through a Digital Utopia and beyond on his debut album — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

A 10-track offering, Digital Utopia takes us on a musical journey, creating an evolving universe of fresh sounds and nostalgic energy, whilst engaging in a deep introspective connection with the human experience. Johnson shows off a songwriting ability that expands into a range of instrumentation, fuzzy and clean electric guitars, plucky and lush synths, ever grooving basslines and driving drums.

Tracks such as Fall Right In come as electronic-tinged offerings that feature stripped-back instrumentation and emotionally-penned vocals. Whereas cuts such as Blood Bath come as anthemic belters that feature thrashing instrumentals and vocals that come drenched in indie-rock sensibilities. It’s through these vocals Johnson is able to convey the boundless emotion, from restrained melancholy to aggressive frustration and everything in between, he captivates audiences with a heartfelt portrayal of well written lyricism.

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Johnson wrote the album in the mindset of wanting to write something that sounded calming, fun, and easy on the ear, while addressing darker themes, contrasting them with hope instead of a dark soundscape. The record was written at a transitional time in Johnson’s life, after a move back to the U.K. following four years in Japan. This led to a desire for reflection, looking back at the past and putting things right, these themes are accentuated in Blood Bath and Back in ‘98. Other themes present in the project are family (OSL; Blood Bath), love and uncertainty (Halidom) and (Fall Right In), existentialism (All Night; The Goo; Strangers; Blood Moon) and childhood in (Back in ’98 and Tuxedo Princess).

On the album, Johnson shares that he was in a tough mental place when he wrote these songs, but he wrote them to try and lift himself off his feet again. “When I’m struggling, the only way I know how to help myself is through a song. I wrote down all the themes I wanted to talk through with myself: Starting with childhood, family, purpose, my relationships, trust, fear, the past, hope, our place in the modern world.”

The album has a sense of melancholy to it, it sounds light and fun, but lyrically it’s often dark and desperate. Johnson enjoys writing songs that have darker themes but also lift you up and make you want to dance and smile, or go for a walk and feel like everything is going to be alright. Focus track Blood Bath carries a strong sense of the northern, gritty storytelling, familiar in the world of Sam Fender, while wrapped in a blanket of chorus-laden glittery guitar riffs more reminiscent of bands such as Her’s, Hoops and Tops.

“The summer night you felt his wrath, fighting games at the bridal path
He said ‘Son, we’ll be all right, just two men in an old bar fight’
Maybe you were suffering too,
And you needed me there to guide you through the dark

Maybe that’s why we drifted apart, I had no words I just went to the park.”

Blood Bath is a reflection on my childhood, and growing up as a teenager in Gateshead. It recites certain moments for me as a kid, things I didn’t fully understand when I was young, yet affected me later in life. It’s me looking back on childhood, trying to make sense of what happened, and the ways I reacted to what was happening around me at the time.”

After spending most of his 20s in Leeds band Goodbye Chanel (who went on to be known as Modern Pleasure) Johnson moved to Tokyo in late 2018. What followed was his debut EP Songs From An Empty Orchestra, which marked a move into a new solo venture. He told stories of the city, future blues, friendship and coping with change, influenced by alt-rock, new wave and dream-pop, recording in rundown karaoke rooms and performing in dingy Japanese clubs. In 2022 he moved to London.

Check out Blood Bath above, listen to Digital Utopia below, and follow S.F. Johnson on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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